Alfred Hitchcock presents: Multilingualism as a vehicle for… suspense. The Italian dubbing of Hitchcock’s multilingual films.

Giuseppe De Bonis

Abstract


This study aims to shed light on the role multilingualism plays in Alfred Hitchcock’s films, by examining the different solutions adopted by Italian audiovisual translators to cope with the multilingual situations represented. The comparative analysis carried out between the original versions of the thirteen multilingual films directed by Hitchcock and their Italian dubbed versions has identified three different macro-strategies: first of all, the neutralisation of the different languages present in the original version via dubbing the entire film into Italian. Secondly, the preservation of the different lingua-cultural identities through a combination of dubbing with other screen translation modalities such as contextual translation, and interpretation performed by one the film’s characters. Finally, a third strategy is the quantitative reduction of the multilingual situations present in the original version of the film, with all the inevitable consequences that this may have on viewers’ suspension of linguistic disbelief.


Keywords


multilingualism; suspense; conflict; confusion; realistic rendering; contextual translation; dubbing; neutralisation; preservation of lingua-cultural identities; quantitative reduction

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Filmography

Balcon, M. & Montagu, I. (Producers), & Hitchcock A. (Director). (1936). The Secret Agent. United Kingdom: Gaumon British Distributors.

Black, E. (Producer), & Hitchcock A. (Director). (1938). The Lady Vanishes. United Kingdom: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Caucheteux, P. & Comar, É. (Producers) & Beauvois, X. (Director). (2010). Des Hommes et des Dieux. France: Why Not Productions, Armada Films & France 3 Cinéma.

Chaplin, C. (Producer and Director). (1940). The Great Dictator. United States: United Artists.

De Line, D. & Scott, R. (Producers) & Scott, R. (Director). (2008). Body of Lies. United States/United Kingdom: Warner Bros, Scott Free Productions & De Line Pictures.

Hitchcock, A. (Producer and Director). (1956). The Man Who Knew Too Much. United States: Universal Pictures.

Hitchcock, A. (Producer and Director). (1934). The Man Who Knew Too Much. United Kingdom: Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures.

Hitchcock, A. (Producer and Director). (1946). Notorious. United States: RKO Radio Pictures.

Hitchcock, A. (Producer and Director). (1951). Strangers on a Train. United States: Warner Bros.

Hitchcock, A. (Producer and Director). (1953). I Confess. United States: Warner Bros.

Hitchcock, A. (Producer and Director). (1955). To Catch a Thief. United States: Paramount Pictures.

Hitchcock, A. (Producer and Director). (1956). The Wrong Man. United States: Warner Bros.

Hitchcock, A. (Producer and Director). (1966). Torn Curtain. United States: Universal Pictures.

Hitchcock, A. (Producer and Director). (1969). Topaz. United States: Universal Pictures.

Macgowan, K. (Producer), & Hitchcock, A. (Director). (1944). Lifeboat. United States: 20th Century Fox.

O’Brien, R. (Producer) & Loach, K. (Director). (2010). Route Irish. UK/France/Italy/ Belgium/Spain: Sixteen Films, Why Not Productions & Wild Bunch.

Selznick, D.O. (Producer), & Hitchcock, A. (Director). (1940). Rebecca. United States: United Artists.

Wanger, W. (Producer), & Hitchcock A. (Director). (1940). Foreign Correspondent. United States: United Artists.