Yinglish in Woody Allen’s films: A dubbing issue


  • Frédérique Brisset Université Lille 3 Charles de Gaulle




cinema, audiovisual translation, dubbing, multilingualism, American English, Yinglish, French, Woody Allen (1935, ), slang


A prominent representative of the Jewish-American population, Woody Allen often refers to his Ashkenazi origins in his films in a self-derisive way. His dialogues are interspersed with Yinglish, a feature which offers a serious challenge to French translators, especially for the dubbed versions of the films. Dubbing remains the prevalent mode of audiovisual translation in France and provides many opportunities to manipulate and alter the original film soundtrack. This article presents a comparative analysis of examples from Allen's dialogues and the French dubbed versions, in an attempt to unearth the strategies used by translators in view of adapting to the diverging abilities of the target audience. Two semantic fields are under scrutiny: the religious Jewish technolect and Yiddish slang, a humorous device which serves the needs of protagonist characterization and is widely assimilated by American English. The examples are taken from eight comedies by Allen, covering a thirty-four-year time span in the director's extensive career.

Author Biography

Frédérique Brisset, Université Lille 3 Charles de Gaulle

Frédérique Brisset is an Associate Professor of English and translation at Lille 3 University, France. She holds a PhD in English studies and translatology, completed at Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3 University. Her research, conducted with University of Lille’s CECILLE research unit, dedicated to Culture Studies, Languages and Literatures, deals with audiovisual translation from English to French, especially dubbing, and builds on contrastive translation theorie. She studies the impact of dubbed versions regarding the construction of the author's image and its reception by the audience, on the Model Author and Addressee patterns as defined by reception theories. She has published articles in French, Belgian and Greek journals, focusing on the dubbing of proper nouns and of discourse markers, on the translation of films' titles and on the seriality process in Woody Allen's films, and she has contributed to several international conferences on coherence in translation, on translated humour, and on the transfer of etymology in dubbed movies.


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How to Cite

Brisset, F. (2013). Yinglish in Woody Allen’s films: A dubbing issue. Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series – Themes in Translation Studies, 13. https://doi.org/10.52034/lanstts.v13i.42