Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics VIAL

Chiara Bucaria (1): Translation and censorship on Italian TV: An inevitable loveaffair?. VIAL. Number 6/2009: 13-32.


The present paper expands on prior research concerning the rendering of controversial language and themes in US TV series dubbed from English into Italian. The study of the pilot episodes of twelve recent TV series was carried out in an attempt to identify possible patterns in the adaptation of swearwords and other potentially disturbing elements, such as humorous comments involving references to sexuality, death, drugs and politically incorrect language. The analysis confirmed the presence of some form of censoring in all the episodes taken into consideration. Although the high percentage of deleted swearwords was the most evident and remarkable finding, the lesser impact of a considerable number of humorous lines was also found to be a common denominator across the board. No recurring patterns indicating a specific rationale for the deletion or toning down of either swearwords or other potentially disturbing elements seemed to emerge from the analysis, perhaps suggesting a certain level of arbitrariness in the translational choices made in the dubbing industry in Italy.

Keywords: audiovisual translation, TV series, humour, censoring, manipulation.

(1) Alma mater studiorum Università di Bologna (Forlì). Italy

Back to Contents of Number 6

Download full text of this article in pdf format