Media Imports and the One-Inch Barrier: Translation Debates in the Pose-Parasite Era

Abstract: This chapter aims to explore popular discourses surrounding Parasite and other media imports in the U.S. vis-à-vis translation practices like dubbing and subtitling. I use Parasite as an entry point to critically examine how the public, be it in the form of online articles or tweets, makes sense of translation practices through the privileged lens of U.S. culture in which dubbing and subtitling can be easily avoided. For example, the day after Parasite won its many Oscars, Twitter threads debated the relative merits of dubbing and subtitling in ways that revealed a troublingly and often racist perception of why people might prefer one or the other. Paradoxically, these texts also offered a critique of ethnocentric U.S. exceptionalism as a country that expects to be catered to.

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

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 BIPOC voices. This article unpacks this phenomenon by investigating the translation of diverse characters through the lens of the many industrial norms and constraints that shape the dubbing industry. Using the international Fox hit Glee (2009–2015) as an entry point for exploring the role of dubbing in Latin America, this study complicates conventional notions about global media’s imperialist and hybridizing implications by tracing political economy and industrial practices onto the dubbing of Black, Latinx, and Asian television characters.