Translating Verbally Expressed Humor: Will & Grace, a case study.

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Introduction Humor is an essential component of innumerable audiovisual works and many of them, like comedies and sit-coms, are totally dependent on a good viewer perception of it in order to succeed. The greater the number of people considering what seen on screen to be funny, the greater is the likelihood of success for the audiovisual product being viewed. But what happens to humor when popular TV programs are dubbed? Are Audiovisual Translation (AVT) industry professionals fully aware that a good render of humorous elements is to be considered as much important as lip synchronization? But, most important, are they trained well enough to deal with such a challenging task? This does not always seem to be the case. As a matter of fact, humor translation has never been an easy job. According to Vandaele there are four points to be mentioned: a) humor, as a intended effect, has an exteriorized manifestation (laughter), which is quite difficult to render, whereas the meaning of other texts is less compelling in terms of perception; b) the comprehension and appreciation of humor and humor production are two distinct skills; although "translators may experience its compelling effect on themselves and others (laughter), but feel unable to reproduce it; c) the appreciation of humor varies individually, it is very much depended on the translator's sense of humor, and d) the rhetorical effect of humor on translators may be so overwhelming that it blurs the specifics of its creation; strong emotions may hinder analytic rationalization. On one hand, the appreciation of humor tends to vary from person to person. On the other it is also true that the humor of a "good line" can be easily detected by a group of people sharing the same set of Knowledge Resources (Attardo and Raskin, 1991). It goes without saying that behind the creation of a joke for a screenplay, there

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