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Looking at redefining sex(uality)

José Iglesias Urquízar

Abstract: This article examines the dubbing of the 2014 American gay-themed series Looking and its treatment of sexual references into Castilian Spanish with a view to exploring the role of audiovisual translation in the discursive construction of homosexuality. While some scholars have decried a historical tendency in translation to attenuate or even suppress references in connection with non-normative sex, the dubbing of Looking, I claim, amplifies these references by way of two strategies: up-scaling and increased explicitness. Drawing upon Jeremy Munday’s (2012) concept of “evaluation” and on appraisal theory as expounded by Martin and White (2005), I aim at revealing the significance of the translator’s lexicogrammatical selections and how these may alter the semiotic import of the characters and, thus, of a certain portrayal of homosexuality. Additionally, such choices may be indicative of the translator’s own stance towards issues of sexuality. Though the strategies analyzed may appear to perpetuate commonplaces regarding gay sexual experience, they ultimately serve, I argue, as a device to generate a language that goes beyond diluted expressions of homosexuality.
Keywords: gay / treatment / homosexuality / translator / Looking / dubbing / references / Jeremy Munday

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