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Dubbing voice: Do stereotypes matter?

Fasoli, F (2014) Dubbing voice: Do stereotypes matter? European Bulletin of Social Psychology, 26 (2). pp. 65-68.

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The EASP seedcorn grant gave me the opportunity to start a research project that examined the role of stereotypes in choosing the dubbed voice for movies and TV series. In many countries, movies, cartoons and TV series are dubbed. Dubbing means replacing the original voice of the actors who appear on the screen with those of performers speaking in a different language. Although there is a lot of criticism about dubbing, as it results in the loss of the uniqueness of the original actors’ voice and the information that it conveys (Mera, 1998), in Italy dubbing is systematic. Dubbing facilitates comprehension to people who do not speak the language used in the movies (Peeters & Spinhof, 2002). Furthermore, it aims to encounter the audience's expectations and to assimilate the foreign elements into the target culture (Munday, 2001; Kilborn, 1993). Hence, it may represent a form of linguistic nationalism, and may encourage the stereotypes maintenance (see Chion, 1999). For example, De Marco (2006) noticed that, when dubbed in Italian, gay characters often have a more camp voice than in the original version. The opposite applies to heterosexual characters portrayed as macho men and hence presented with a masculine and low pitch voice. Voice is a cue that conveys a lot of information about the speaker. The mere exposure to a voice leads listeners to identify the speakers’ nationality (Rakic, Steffens & Mummendey, 2011a), gender (Ko, Judd & Blair, 2006) and sexual identity (Smyth, Jacobs, & Rogers, 2003). Moreover, voice results in inferences by the listener about the speaker's personality (McAleer, Todorov & Belin, 2014; Zuckerman, Miyake & Hodgins, 1991), as well as potentially resulting in discriminatory reactions (Gowen & Britt, 2009; Rakic et al., 2011b). Hence, character’s voice may not be a secondary or an uninfluential aspect of movies and TV programmes. In this research project, I investigated the impact of stereotypes in dubbing preferences and provided preliminary evidence that dubbing could be a way of maintaining stereotypes. Previous research was limited to qualitative observations of how movie characters were dubbed in different countries. To my knowledge, no experimental research has been conducted on this topic. I first investigated whether a stereotypical character description affected the preference for dubbing. Then, I examined the interplay between the character description and the voice of the English-speaking actor who performed in the original version of a TV series on dubbing preferences. Finally, I studied whether stereotypes conveyed by more indirect cues, such as vocal and facial features of the actor in the original TV series, would influence dubbing preference. The main hypothesis of this set of studies was that participants would have preferred a voice actor whose voice confirmed to and emphasised the stereotypes conveyed by the TV series character, and this regardless of the voice of the English-speaking actor in the original TV series.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Psychology
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Date : November 2014
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2014 European Association of Social Psychology
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 10:48
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 20:04

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