Dr. Laurena Bernabo

Assistant Professor, Entertainment & Media Studies

About: Dr. Bernabo teaches undergrad courses in global and domestic media industries and representations. Her primary research focus is global television flows, with an emphasis on translation.

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Education

Ph.D., Communication Studies, University of Iowa
M.A., Communication Studies, University of Iowa
B.A., Gender & Women’s Studies and Economics, University of Illinois

Research Interests and Activities

Dr. Bernabo researches the Spanish-language translation of popular U.S. television programs for Hispanic audiences. Her approach to this research considers translation as both a process– a professional activity governed by industrial norms and constraints– and the text produced by that process. She has spent time at dubbing studios in Mexico City and Miami, FL in order to observe the translation process and interview Spanish-language script writers, directors, and dubbing actors. Her focus on translation as texts emphasizes the construction of gender, race, sexuality, and other forms of identity. When she is not traveling for research, Dr. Bernabo’s secondary area of scholarship considers the construction of these identities in U.S. programs.
Dr. Bernabo has presented her work at national and international conferences including Console-ing Passions, OSCLG, IAMCR, and ICA. Her research is published in peer-reviewed journals such as Critical Studies in Media Communication and Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media.
(De/Re)Constructing LGBT Characters in Latin America: The Implications of Mexican Dubbing for Translating Marginalized Identities Laurena Bernabo

Abstract: This article responds to calls for more detailed analyses of localization around the world (Castelló, 2009; Levine, 2009) by examining a Mexican dubbing company and its translation of LGBT characters for Latin American audiences. Gay, lesbian, and transgender characters’ identities are alternately maintained and mitigated because of industrial norms and technical constraints. While LGBT […]

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Whitewashing Diverse Voices: (De)Constructing Race and Ethnicity in Spanish-Language Television Dubbing Laurena Bernabo

Abstract: When television programs are translated for global audiences, languages are changed, but so too are constructions of diverse identities. Characters who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) undergo transformations in order to be intelligible outside of their original national contexts; such transformations might reinforce these characters’ difference or eliminate it, effectively whitewashing […]

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Whitewashing Diverse Voices: (De)Constructing Race and Ethnicity in Spanish-Language Television Dubbing Laurena Bernabo

Abstract: When television programs are translated for global audiences, languages are changed, but so too are constructions of diverse identities. Characters who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) undergo transformations in order to be intelligible outside of their original national contexts; such transformations might reinforce these characters’ difference or eliminate it, effectively whitewashing […]

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Whitewashing diverse voices: (De)constructing race and ethnicity in Spanish-language television dubbing Laurena Bernabo

Abstract: When television programs are translated for global audiences, languages are changed, but so too are constructions of diverse identities. Characters who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) undergo transformations in order to be intelligible outside of their original national contexts; such transformations might reinforce these characters’ difference or eliminate it, effectively whitewashing […]

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Teaching Specialties

Dr. Bernabo’s teaching specialties include global media flows, productions and industries; U.S. media industries; and mediated representations of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity and other forms of identity.

Awards and Fellowships

  • Anita Taylor Outstanding Published Article Award, 2020
  • Cheris Kramerae Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2018
  • Ballad & Seashore Fellowship, University of Iowa, 2017
  • ICA’s Top Paper Award for Media Industry Studies Division, 2016
In the News

Diverse identities are often lost in translation when movies and television are dubbed for other languages

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Bernabo recognized with Outstanding Published Article Award at 2020 OSCLG conference

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