In through a gender lens” is a book

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Last updated: March 21, 2019

In the lastcouple of decades, it was possible to see an incredible growth in the demand ofaudiovisual translation (AVT) products for various reasons. Nowadays,audiovisual translations are more requested than ever. This happens due to globalizationand the development of internet and technological mechanisms (Cronin, 2003).

Forinstance, the common use of DVDs or even Blu-rays made it possible to gather avarious number of translations in several languages associated to just oneproduct.”Audiovisualtranslation through a gender lens” is a book written by Marcella De Marco, andedited in 2012. De Marco is a senior Lecturer at the London MetropolitanUniversity. Her current research is related to audiovisual translation andgender studies, focusing on the “contribution that dubbing and subtitling canmake in strengthening or weakening the perpetuation of gender stereotypes”. (DeMarco).There is very littleresearch on audiovisual translation and gender studies, where the two fieldsare studied together and its influence on one another. The study starts with anoverview of the developments that Gender Studies and Translation Studies, and AudiovisualTranslation have gone through the past decade.

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“(…) translation becomes a toolused not only to give voice to social and sexual groups who have long beenrelegated to minority positions in academic debates, but also to introduce andspread new subjects and new ideas.” (De Marco, 2012: 39)The mainhypothesis of this book is that the language used in cinema and itstranslations could be responsible for exporting and perpetuating stereotypesand derogatory attitudes regarding gender, sexuality and ethnicity (De Marco,2012: 19). De Marco, pays more attention to the dubbing strategies used in thecorpus she chose. The corpus used for analysis, by the author, consists of tenfilms: five Hollywood films (WorkingGirl, 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 Beckhamand Calendar Girls).

De Marco didthe analysis using films which its Source Language (SL) is English and then analysedits Spanish and Italian dubbed versions.Some of themain points of research brought up in the introduction are as follows:-      How gender is portrayed inHollywood and British cinema.-      How audiovisual translationcontributes to exporting gender stereotypes from one culture to another.-      How gender issues are portrayedin films.-      Is the sexist languagereproduced in translation?This book is organisedby displaying four main distinct parts. The first two present the reader with atheoretical approach whilst the last two are a result of the analysis andcritical elements that were observed when analysing the corpus.

Before startingpresenting the result of her research, De Marco makes sure to tell the readerthat language is not sexist: “This overview is intended to show that languageis not sexist per se. Rather, it is the set of bad habits and false beliefsthat are filtered through words that makes language sexist, thus contributingto the perpetuation of disparity and imbalance between the sexes (70).  The first oneis “The relevance of interdisciplinary research”; it is composed by fivedifferent sections, which are: gender studies, translation studies, gender andtranslation, audiovisual translation, and gender and audiovisual translation.

Hereit is possible to encounter a vast list of concepts regarding Gender Studies aswell as Audiovisual Translation. In addition to give the reader the knowledgeto understand further chapters and explanations on the book, it also shows howthe two fields can be connected. She talks about the development of genderstudies in contexts other than translation, to provide the reader withknowledge to understand some of the concepts presents in the analysis. For atranslator or an aspiring translator, this first section is quite relevant, becauseit brings to the reader’s consideration the importance of paying attention toexpressions that may be pejorative.

This is a very complex matter whentranslating, since the translation may offend different cultures.In the followingchapter, the second one, sexism and gender stereotypes is the main subject.From this second chapter, three divisions can be distinguished: sexism vsstereotyping, sexism, and gender stereotypes. Here De Marco presents informationabout gender stereotypes and how they still take place in the film industry, whenproducing movies. She also makes an appointment about how those stereotypespersist in our contemporary society. One important aspect that the author makesin this section, and that will be extremely useful when reading the results ofher analysis, is the difference between sexism and androcentrism.

It is alsobrought to the reader’s attention how difficult it is form feminist linguists andsome scholars to impose new rules for a more neutral society, such as theintroduction of neutral prnouns, Multipleportrayals 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 inspeech.  The authorpresents very clear arguments on why gender should be placed in translation.Her claims are always supported by evidence in form of quotations and referenceson foot notes to other authors as well as processes of explanation of theargument in cause. This is a quality that can be seen throughout the wholebook.  The impact thatvisual and acoustic representation of gender may have on audience’s perceptionof gender issues.

One of thethings that to be praised about the choice of corpus for this work is that De Marcotried to not white-wash or ignore masculinity on her research. The maincharacters are women of different ages, race, creed/religion, enter a varietyof relationships with men or women. This choice covers many parts of whichgender is made up, of the gender spectrum.

It also pays attention not only to femininitybut also masculinity.   “(…) there is no great difference in thematter in which the North American, the British, the Spanish and the Italiansocieties deal with gender issues” (De Marco, 2012: 210)

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