The dialect(ic)s of control and resistance : Intralingual audiovisual translation in Chinese TV drama

Leo Tak-Hung Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

Abstract

There are two types of intralingual translation in contemporary China: diachronic and synchronic. While the former involves rewriting older texts in the modern tongue, the latter involves translation between Putonghua and local/regional Chinese dialects. Two modes of intralingual translation - dubbing and subtitling - will be examined in this article, in terms of their use in TV serials produced in China since the 2000s. The evidence (largely Cantonese dramas in Guangdong) shows that the use of a control-resistance paradigm to understand the relationship between the national language and Chinese dialects is fraught with problems. The paradigm has often been used, albeit in different ways, by researchers of China's central-local relations, scholars of dialect films, and theorists of minority language translation. However, to characterize dubbing into Chinese dialects as "resistance", and subtitling into Putonghua as "control", is nothing less than a simplification of sociolinguistic realities that reveals a lack of awareness of how translation mediates between the different speech varieties in a diglossic society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-109
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Volume2018
Issue number251
Early online date12 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Fingerprint

dialect
drama
China
paradigm
sociolinguistics
language
TV Drama
Chinese Dialects
Audiovisual Translation
minority
lack
Dubbing
Subtitling
Putonghua
Paradigm
Intralingual Translation
evidence

Keywords

  • Dialects
  • Dubbing
  • Intralingual translation
  • National language
  • Subtitling

Cite this

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title = "The dialect(ic)s of control and resistance : Intralingual audiovisual translation in Chinese TV drama",
abstract = "There are two types of intralingual translation in contemporary China: diachronic and synchronic. While the former involves rewriting older texts in the modern tongue, the latter involves translation between Putonghua and local/regional Chinese dialects. Two modes of intralingual translation - dubbing and subtitling - will be examined in this article, in terms of their use in TV serials produced in China since the 2000s. The evidence (largely Cantonese dramas in Guangdong) shows that the use of a control-resistance paradigm to understand the relationship between the national language and Chinese dialects is fraught with problems. The paradigm has often been used, albeit in different ways, by researchers of China's central-local relations, scholars of dialect films, and theorists of minority language translation. However, to characterize dubbing into Chinese dialects as {"}resistance{"}, and subtitling into Putonghua as {"}control{"}, is nothing less than a simplification of sociolinguistic realities that reveals a lack of awareness of how translation mediates between the different speech varieties in a diglossic society.",
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}

The dialect(ic)s of control and resistance : Intralingual audiovisual translation in Chinese TV drama. / Chan, Leo Tak-Hung.

In: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Vol. 2018, No. 251, 05.2018, p. 89-109.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

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AU - Chan, Leo Tak-Hung

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AB - There are two types of intralingual translation in contemporary China: diachronic and synchronic. While the former involves rewriting older texts in the modern tongue, the latter involves translation between Putonghua and local/regional Chinese dialects. Two modes of intralingual translation - dubbing and subtitling - will be examined in this article, in terms of their use in TV serials produced in China since the 2000s. The evidence (largely Cantonese dramas in Guangdong) shows that the use of a control-resistance paradigm to understand the relationship between the national language and Chinese dialects is fraught with problems. The paradigm has often been used, albeit in different ways, by researchers of China's central-local relations, scholars of dialect films, and theorists of minority language translation. However, to characterize dubbing into Chinese dialects as "resistance", and subtitling into Putonghua as "control", is nothing less than a simplification of sociolinguistic realities that reveals a lack of awareness of how translation mediates between the different speech varieties in a diglossic society.

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