Luca Barra

Springfield, Italy. Shifts and Conversions of Meaning in the Italian Adaptation of a U.S. TV Series

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: TV, translation, adaptation, schedule, dubbing

This article focuses on the processes of translation and adaptation affecting the reception of a cultural product in a country other than that of its origin. In contrast to a prevailing tendency to take these processes for granted, this essay highlights the different phases of production, the professional skills and the structures engaged in this exercise of cultural translation, with particular reference to the Italian adaptation of the U.S. TV series "The Simpsons". The analytical reconstruction of these processes underlines the various shifts of meaning which occur independently of the will of the single authors involved. These conversions of the original meaning are analyzed first of all through the main phases of "Italianisation" of the product (translation of names, dialects, songs, etc.); then, following the different moments of assemblage of the final product itself, from copyright acquisition, through adaptation and dubbing, to post-production; and finally, through a reconstruction of broadcasting choices in the U.S. and in Italy. These modifications are not merely external to the product: in the end, it is the very text that changes, as it situates itself within a different interpretative frame.

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