In through a gender lens” is a book

In the last
couple of decades, it was possible to see an incredible growth in the demand of
audiovisual translation (AVT) products for various reasons. Nowadays,
audiovisual translations are more requested than ever. This happens due to globalization
and the development of internet and technological mechanisms (Cronin, 2003). For
instance, the common use of DVDs or even Blu-rays made it possible to gather a
various number of translations in several languages associated to just one
product.

“Audiovisual
translation through a gender lens” is a book written by Marcella De Marco, and
edited in 2012. De Marco is a senior Lecturer at the London Metropolitan
University. Her current research is related to audiovisual translation and
gender studies, focusing on the “contribution that dubbing and subtitling can
make in strengthening or weakening the perpetuation of gender stereotypes”. (De
Marco).

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There is very little
research on audiovisual translation and gender studies, where the two fields
are studied together and its influence on one another. The study starts with an
overview of the developments that Gender Studies and Translation Studies, and Audiovisual
Translation have gone through the past decade. “(…) translation becomes a tool
used not only to give voice to social and sexual groups who have long been
relegated to minority positions in academic debates, but also to introduce and
spread new subjects and new ideas.” (De Marco, 2012: 39)

The main
hypothesis of this book is that the language used in cinema and its
translations could be responsible for exporting and perpetuating stereotypes
and derogatory attitudes regarding gender, sexuality and ethnicity (De Marco,
2012: 19). De Marco, pays more attention to the dubbing strategies used in the
corpus she chose. The corpus used for analysis, by the author, consists of ten
films: five Hollywood films (Working
Girl, Pretty Woman, Sister Act, Mrs. Doubtfire and Erin Brockovich) and five British Films (East is East, Billy Elliot, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bend It Like Beckham
and Calendar Girls). De Marco did
the analysis using films which its Source Language (SL) is English and then analysed
its Spanish and Italian dubbed versions.

Some of the
main points of research brought up in the introduction are as follows:

–      
How gender is portrayed in
Hollywood and British cinema.

–      
How audiovisual translation
contributes to exporting gender stereotypes from one culture to another.

–      
How gender issues are portrayed
in films.

–      
Is the sexist language
reproduced in translation?

This book is organised
by displaying four main distinct parts. The first two present the reader with a
theoretical approach whilst the last two are a result of the analysis and
critical elements that were observed when analysing the corpus. Before starting
presenting the result of her research, De Marco makes sure to tell the reader
that language is not sexist: “This overview is intended to show that language
is not sexist per se. Rather, it is the set of bad habits and false beliefs
that are filtered through words that makes language sexist, thus contributing
to the perpetuation of disparity and imbalance between the sexes (70).  

The first one
is “The relevance of interdisciplinary research”; it is composed by five
different sections, which are: gender studies, translation studies, gender and
translation, audiovisual translation, and gender and audiovisual translation. Here
it is possible to encounter a vast list of concepts regarding Gender Studies as
well as Audiovisual Translation. In addition to give the reader the knowledge
to understand further chapters and explanations on the book, it also shows how
the two fields can be connected. She talks about the development of gender
studies in contexts other than translation, to provide the reader with
knowledge to understand some of the concepts presents in the analysis. For a
translator or an aspiring translator, this first section is quite relevant, because
it brings to the reader’s consideration the importance of paying attention to
expressions that may be pejorative. This is a very complex matter when
translating, since the translation may offend different cultures.

In the following
chapter, the second one, sexism and gender stereotypes is the main subject.
From this second chapter, three divisions can be distinguished: sexism vs
stereotyping, sexism, and gender stereotypes. Here De Marco presents information
about gender stereotypes and how they still take place in the film industry, when
producing movies. She also makes an appointment about how those stereotypes
persist in our contemporary society. One important aspect that the author makes
in this section, and that will be extremely useful when reading the results of
her analysis, is the difference between sexism and androcentrism. It is also
brought to the reader’s attention how difficult it is form feminist linguists and
some scholars to impose new rules for a more neutral society, such as the
introduction of neutral prnouns,

 

Multiple
portrayals of gender in Anglo-American cinema is the title of the third section.
The last main section, the fourth one, is about representation of gender in
speech.

 

The author
presents very clear arguments on why gender should be placed in translation.
Her claims are always supported by evidence in form of quotations and references
on foot notes to other authors as well as processes of explanation of the
argument in cause. This is a quality that can be seen throughout the whole
book.

 

The impact that
visual and acoustic representation of gender may have on audience’s perception
of gender issues.

One of the
things that to be praised about the choice of corpus for this work is that De Marco
tried to not white-wash or ignore masculinity on her research. The main
characters are women of different ages, race, creed/religion, enter a variety
of relationships with men or women. This choice covers many parts of which
gender is made up, of the gender spectrum. It also pays attention not only to femininity
but also masculinity.

 

 “(…) there is no great difference in the
matter in which the North American, the British, the Spanish and the Italian
societies deal with gender issues” (De Marco, 2012: 210)

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