Invisible Mediations: The Role of Adaptation and Dubbing Professionals in Shaping US TV for Italian Audiences

Luca Barra


With the increasing global circulation of media products, professionals devoted to the process of audiovisual translation and ‘national mediation’ for foreign ready-made programmes have gained a central role in contemporary TV. Presenting the results of an ethnographical study, this essay explores the ‘invisible art’ of TV adaptation and dubbing, explaining its procedures, traditions and challenges. Adaptation has to consider both the technical necessities of the audio-visual and cross-cultural aspects of translation, while dubbing involves extremely intricate production routines, professionals with different skills, written and unwritten rules, a range of different workplaces, economic investments and traditions. The result is a new text, modified following contrasting linguistic, cultural and professional goals.


Adaptation, dubbing, global circulation, national mediation, media industries, Italian television

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