Somers Town. Multilingual settings explored in audiovisual translation contexts

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Series Details Volume 10, Number 2, Pages 93-111
Publication Date 2018
ISSN 2035-2948
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In the last decades advances in digital communication and audiovisual translation studies have significantly transformed the ways by which texts and people travel across linguistic, spatial and temporal boundaries. This is particularly evident in the ever changing landscape of audiovisual translation as a consequence of the digital revolution that has contributed to the creation of new forms of adaptation and proliferation of mediated and non-mediated products.

The case of multilingual discourse applied to contemporary diasporic and migrant films, in which sociolinguistics intervenes as a methodological approach to the translation of marginal voices, has gained scholarly attention as a result of the unprecedented number of migratory influxes within European countries, as well as of the effects of globalisation that have stimulated the growth of new perspectives on multilingual societies. These phenomena have had an impact on the interpretation and valorization of multilingualism as a resource for the understanding of crucial contemporary issues in the areas of intercultural communication, migration, multiculturalism and bilingualism within and outside European borders.

One aspect that makes multilingualism in films particularly interesting is that it is based on language diversity and difference, which make translation visible. Translation therefore becomes part of the migrant stories and serves as a communication device among characters. Drawing on studies on multilingualism in films and audiovisual translation studies within the field of language variation and difference, this survey depicts the multilingual setting of British filmmaker Shane Meadows’s Somers Town (2008) and aims to reflect, on the one hand, upon the development of European cinema in motion within a contemporary political framework of migrations and crossings and, on the other hand, upon the difficulties, challenges and constraints posed by the translation of language variation in multilingual films within procedures of audiovisual translation strategies and techniques.

The investigation presents the different levels of language variation that intermingle in the film taken as a case in point, and also scrutinises alternative tools for the translation of multilingual speech (such as creative subtitling) in the attempt not to sacrifice the socio-cultural dimension of multilingual films, as well as the concepts of difference and realism which are the basis of multilingualism in cinema. Once the importance of multilingualism is determined, the subtitler will be able to decide which translation strategy can be used in order to disseminate the various multilingual levels that form the multilingual film in question.

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