Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Meenakshi Gigi Durham
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
This project analyzes the Spanish dubbing of Glee for Latin American audiences in order to understand how identity—gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, and (dis)ability—is shaped by the adaptation process. I make two primary interventions within the field of global television studies. First, I expand adaptation analysis by adding industrial norms and production processes to the traditional theorizations of technical and cultural aspects; secondly, I use this web of elements as an interpretive lens for analyzing television translations, thus providing a model for making sense of how the adaptation process affects the representation of race, sexuality, and other forms of identity. Glee is translated for all of Latin America by the Mexico City company New Art Dub, and so I spent three weeks there doing field work. In addition to interviewing Glee’s Spanish-language script writer, director, actors, engineers, and technicians, and observing their work at every stage, I reviewed dubbed scripts and conducted textual analysis of the dubbed episodes. As this project demonstrates, the translation process negotiates complex international forces along with numerous industrial, technical, and cultural constraints as it shapes representations of and discourses about sexual, gender, racial, and ethnic identities. This research demonstrates that between imperialism and indigenization is an entire adaptation industry which simultaneously exaggerates and downplays cross-cultural similarities and differences.
We communicate our identities in a number of ways, including the way we speak and the words we use. We therefore also hear other’s identities through their tone of voice, mannerisms, slang, and other aspects of vocal performance. This project demonstrates how the dubbing process changes the way a character’s identity is performed and perceived. Using Glee in Latin America as a case study, I demonstrate that it’s not as simple as changing the script from English to Spanish: many industrial constrains and norms shape the dubbed version of Glee. These factors include the casting process, the diversity of the Latin American audience, and the translators’ desire for the final product to be less atrocious than the dubbed martial arts films of the 1980s. Given all the rules at play in the translation process, I examine the ways that characters’ identities—gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity—are exaggerated or downplayed in the dub. For example: does the gay stereotype Kurt Hummel come off as more or less gay in Latin America? How so, and why?
globalization, identity, Latin America, LGBT, television, translation
xi, 289 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 249-289).
Copyright © 2017 Laurena Elizabeth Nelson Bernabo
Bernabo, Laurena Elizabeth Nelson. "Translating identity: norms and industrial constraints in adapting Glee for Latin America." PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) thesis, University of Iowa, 2017.