Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Access Restrictions


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Havens, Timothy

First Committee Member

Zajacz, Rita

Second Committee Member

Durham, Meenakshi Gigi

Third Committee Member

McLeod, Kembrew

Fourth Committee Member

Munoz, Kristine


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.

Public Abstract

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

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Communication Commons