The rendition of English intonation in Spanish dubbing

  1. Sánchez Mompeán, Sofía
Dirixida por:
  1. Rafael Monroy Casas Director
  2. Pablo Romero Fresco Director

Universidade de defensa: Universidad de Murcia

Fecha de defensa: 30 de maio de 2017

  1. Frederic Chaume Varela Presidente/a
  2. Juan Manuel Hernández Campoy Secretario/a
  3. Elena Di Giovanni Vogal

Tipo: Tese


Intonation has been defined as "the melody of speech" (Wells, 2006, p. 1). All languages are melodic in nature and their variations in pitch can be associated with an array of meanings. The fact that the pitch patterns produced in two languages such as English and Spanish do not necessarily carry the same semantic content (Tench, 1996) makes this suprasegmental trait a fundamental object of study from a translational perspective. If similar contours can bear different meanings and similar meanings can be expressed by different contours, intonation becomes part and parcel of the translation process. This suprasegmental trait can be regarded as a powerful source of information that hints at those attitudinal and pragmatic nuances that might not be immediately inferred from the denotative content of the words. In dubbing, where the voice is the only device that actors can make use of to reflect the on-screen characters' feelings and intentions, intonation gains even further significance. The pitch contours adopted by the characters hold sway over how the listeners receive what the speakers are saying. If the implicational nuances attached to the characters' intonation fail to be transmitted or are rendered in the dubbed version with semantic variations, the result might directly affect the target viewers' perception. This corpus-based study can be regarded as the first attempt to bridge the gap between two different yet interrelated fields by applying empirical methods. The main objective is to explore and analyse the rendition of intonation in the Spanish dubbed version of the American sitcom How I met your mother on the basis of its (un)naturalness and (un)successful translation from English into Spanish. This study is based on a methodological triangulation that combines both quantitative and qualitative methods. Intonation is examined from an empirical point of view via a comparative and a descriptive-explanatory analysis. The research at hand is divided into two different parts in the collection and elicitation of data. The interest of the first part of the analysis lies in the oral delivery of intonation as performed by the voice talents in the dubbing studio, whereas the second part revolves around the written dubbed version of the TT as delivered by the translator and the dialogue writer. The results obtained from the research provide revealing insights into the degree to which the dubbed corpus under study features (un)natural tonal patterns and account for the potential reasons behind its naturalness or lack thereof. The data analysis also helps elucidate whether the implicatures attached to the source intonation are identified and transmitted in the target text successfully and whether any potential loss of information could affect the target audience's comprehension. In light of the main findings that emerge from the study, two general conclusions can be drawn. On the one hand, dubbing intonation shows vast differences with spontaneous intonation and features a great number of unnatural patterns that might reduce the quality of the final outcome. On the other, the connotations transmitted intonationally by the original characters in English are often lost in translation, thus leading the target viewers to make a wrong interpretation or depriving them of a considerable amount of implicational content.