CALL FOR PAPERS EDITED COLLECTION: WORLD DOMINATION - DOCTOR WHO IN TRANSLATION. DEADLINE: JUNE 15 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Andrew O'Day
contact email: 
aoday41414@aol.com

In the ‘classic’ Doctor Who series Tom Baker narrative ‘The Masque of Mandragora’ (1976) the Doctor tells Sarah Jane Smith that her ability to hear foreign languages in English is a Time Lord gift he shares with her. More recently, in Russell T. Davies’ Doctor Who (and in particular in the episodes ‘The End of the World’, 2005, and ‘The Fires of Pompeii’, 2008) the Doctor tells his companions Rose Tyler and Donna Noble respectively that the TARDIS translates other tongues into English. In the new series episode ‘Smith and Jones’ (2007), the alien Judoon’s speech is translated into English by means of an assimilation device. But what happens when Doctor Who is sold abroad and translated into languages other than English? The issue of subtitling and dubbing is an underexplored one in Television Studies, let alone in studies of Doctor Who both in the fan press and in academia. In a short piece for Flow TV, ‘More than Meets the Ear: Dubbing and Accents on TV’, Dr. Karen Lury uses the Doctor’s comment to Donna Noble as a jumping off point to discuss how class accents can become lost in translation. But this ambitious project aims to provide the theory and history of subtitling and dubbing, to place Doctor Who in different institutional contexts, and to provide detailed analysis of translated Doctor Who narratives. Dialogue with prospective publishers will begin after this Call for Papers which will assess the degree of academic interest in the topic and its feasibility.

Abstracts are sought which concern the following topics, though others will be considered:

• the more general history of subtitling and dubbing
• theoretical issues pertaining to subtitling, dubbing, and translation

• placing Doctor Who in different institutional contexts: e.g. different European television institutions, Arab television institutions etc. and addressing how Doctor Who fits in more generally with imported television from Britain and other English-speaking countries

• looking at the history of Doctor Who in non-English contexts (for example, giving dates, and names of directors and performers, as well as episode titles in their foreign translation where applicable). While Wikipedia’s reliability is frequently called into question, non-English versions such as the French and German Wikipedia’s can provide a useful starting point here. Issues are raised about Doctor Who narratives which have completely different titles, where a non-English translation is insufficient (e.g. the French translation for the episode ‘Smith and Jones’: ‘La loi des judoons’).

• examining how Doctor Who’s themes are relevant in other contexts

Dubbing:

• looking at the issues of adaptation, the director’s role, and ‘stardom’ when Doctor Who is translated and how this relates to issues in Television Studies more generally (for example, Belgian actor and dubbing artist David Manet, very appreciated by French-speaking Doctor Who fans, was the voice of the Doctor since the Christopher Eccleston series, with Fred Haugness only delivering David Tennant’s first lines, and Belgian stage actor and dubbing artist Marc Weiss being the voice for Matt Smith’s Doctor). How is the text ‘poached’? Does the director bring his/her own original vision to the piece? Should we be thinking about a text as having multiple directors (one for the image and one for the sound) and studying new directors in relation to their other work? Is David Manet as popular with fans as David Tennant in Britain?

• close comparative readings of different Doctor Who narratives, dubbed into a variety of languages. What happens to the televisual text when it is dubbed into another language? How does the dubbing compare with the original English and how does the dubbing work in tandem with the image? what is edited out and why? Does the meaning of the text change when ‘performed’ in a different language than its original English? How do such readings draw importance to studying issues such as character and performance? What does the fact that in France David Manet provided the voice for two different Doctors (Eccleston’s and Tennant’s) do to the programme and to the idea of regeneration? What happens when famous comedienne Catherine Tate’s voice is substituted (e.g. by Carole Baillen in France)? how is the very idea of translation in the series (noted at the top of this Call for Papers) changed in the texts when they are dubbed into non-English?

• also close readings of different Doctor Who narratives in other languages which treat these versions of the televisual texts without any knowledge of the ‘original’ (as would be the case for many viewers in non-English speaking countries). What intriguing analyses can be made of these?

Subtitling:

• How does subtitling differ from dubbing? Is this practice as frequent or as successful with Doctor Who? What does study of it do to John Ellis’ notion that the characteristic mode of watching television is with the glance, with sound used to grab the viewer’s attention while otherwise occupied? What about comparative readings here or close readings that treat these texts without any knowledge of the original? How is it important when watching a subtitled programme to register the tone of voice in the original English at the same time as reading the subtitles in order to appreciate what is happening?

Abstracts of no more than 500 words, along with an accompanying CV, should be sent to Dr. Andrew O’Day at aoday41414@aol.com, to arrive no later than JUNE 15 2010. Abstracts must be included in the body of the email and the subject heading for the email must be ‘World Domination’. The ability to write in outstanding English is a must, as is (in the case of some of these topics) command of at least one non-English language, and access to non-English documents and versions of the Doctor Who episodes (many of these have been released on DVD). It is my hope to get a balance of abstracts dealing with both the ‘classic’ and new series of Doctor Who, and that address a variety of non-English speaking countries from around the world.

During its long history, Doctor Who has ventured to different places abroad – Paris, Amsterdam, Lanzarote, and Seville – and its monsters have frequently sought world domination, but never on this scale which seeks to advance Television Studies as a discipline.

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
film_and_television
general_announcements
interdisciplinary
journals_and_collections_of_essays
popular_culture