Polish Dubbed Version of Shrek

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The aim of this Wikibook is to introduce the readers to the audiovisual translation technique known as Dubbing Dubbing_(filmmaking). It is based on the Polish dubbed version of the movie Shrek_(disambiguation). This project is created especially for the young, budding translators who have some experience in audiovisual translation and are willing to develop and improve their craft.
You are going to revise various strategies and techniques used during the translation process and then you will get opportunity to test this knowledge in practice. I have prepared various translation exercises that will test your creativity, language-sensitivity, and ability to condense, reduce, or domesticate the lines and dialogues taken from the movie.

Shrek's and Fiona's costumes

Movie Shrek[edit | edit source]

Below, you can find the most important data concerning the movie Shrek, presented in the form of a table.
The table is based entirely on the information presented on the site imdb.com [1]

Basic information[edit | edit source]

Title Shrek
Premiere 2001
Country USA
Genre Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Directors Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson
Writers William Steig (book),

Ted Elliott
Terry Rossio
Joe Stillman
Roger S.H. Schulman
Cody Cameron
Chris Miller (additional dialogue)
Conrad Vernon (additional dialogue)

Cast Mike Myers

Eddie Murphy
Cameron Diaz
John Lithgow

Awards Won: Oscar - Best Animated Feature

Nominated: Oscar - Best Writing, Screenplay
Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Nominated: Golden Globe - Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical

Popularity around the world[edit | edit source]

Shrek is one of the most famous animated movies worldwide. Scott Meslow in his article claims that: [2]

"In fact, it wasn't that long ago that the Shrek franchise was an absolute monster at the box office. Worldwide, the five-part Shrek franchise — four movies starring the big green guy, plus a Puss in Boots spin-off — has grossed a combined $3.5 billion. The next closest franchise (Ice Age) is more than $700 million behind."

Polish dubbed version of Shrek[edit | edit source]

The author of the Polish dubbing of Shrek is Bartosz Wierzbięta. He is well-known amongst Polish cinemagoers - he is responsible for the dubbed versions of the various films, such as: "Madagaskar", "Rybki z ferajny", "Potwory i spółka", "Jak wytresować smoka", "Kung fu Panda" and many many more. If you want to know a bit more about this renowned translator, director of dubbing, screenwriter; to learn about his own process of preparing a dubbed version; if you want to know his comments on Shrek, you need to visit the page with an interview ("Mój Shrek myśli po polsku") with Wierzbięta: http://www.textum.pl/tlumaczenia/portal_tlumaczy/informacje/ogolne/artykuly/moj_shrek.html

Dubbing[edit | edit source]

Dubbing cabin

To put it simply, dubbing is an AVT mode in which the original sound track is substituted by a foreign language translation. The visual channel remains basically intact, it is the auditory channel that is changed.

Technical side of dubbing[edit | edit source]

Process of dubbing[edit | edit source]

Anna Matamala in her article entitled "Translations for dubbing as dynamic texts" divided the whole complex process to the following steps:

"According to Ledesma and López (2003), in Cata- lonia the following steps can be identifed in the process:

(i) the original version is sent to the dubbing studio: it includes a master (dig- ital betacam) with the international soundtrack and dialogues. A script might be included, although it is not always available;

(ii) a sound engineer makes copies to work with;

(iii) the artistic director views the product to be dubbed;

(iv) the production manager chooses the translator, the dubbing dialogue writer and the linguist;

(v) the audiovisual product is translated and adapted;

(vi) the translated product is synchronised;

(vii) sometimes there is a language revision: this is normally the case for Catalan television (TVC) but it is not a common occurrence when translating into Spanish;

(viii) the spotting is done by the director’s assistant while the dubbing director chooses the actors.

The result at this stage is a written script in the target language, with indications both for actors and sound engineers, ready for actual recording in the studio. Thee process continues as follows:

(ix) Dubbing, with the dubbing director, actors, a sound engineer and if neces- sary, a linguist.

The result after the recording is an oral version in the target language.

(x) thee linguist (in the case of Catalan) revises the oral version and asks for re- takes, if necessary;

(xi) the sound engineer takes care of the mixing;

(xii) the artistic director views the final result and asks for retakes, if

(xiii) the client (or a supervisor appointed by the client) views the final result and asks for more retakes, if necessary" [3]

Types of synchronization[edit | edit source]

According to Frederic Chaume Varela:

"Synchronization (Lip_sync) is one of the key factors at stake in audiovisual translation, particularly in the context of dubbing. It is often considered as the differentiating feature of this type of translation, although in fact, it only represents one important area (together with others such as orality or the interaction between image and word) which is gradually losing the support of both dubbing professionals and audiences." [4]

There are different approaches to this topic, Chaume narrowed them down to the following types of synchronization:

  • Phonetic synchrony (lip synchrony)- connected with lip movement and "it consists of adapting the translation to the articulatory movements of the on-screen characters, especially in close-ups and extreme close-ups." [4]
  • Kinetic synchrony (body movement synchrony) - "the translation must also agree with the movements of the screen characters" [4]. It is strongly connected with gestures, or facial expressions; sometimes they are essential for understanfing the plot, dialogues, characters' feelings.
  • Isochrony (synchrony between utterances and pauses) - "the synchronization of the duration of the translation with the screen characters' utterances(...), the translated dialogue must fit exactly in the time between the instant in which he/she does opens mouth - to utter the source text dialogues - and the instant in which he/she closes mouth." [4]

You have to remember that the viewers are able to notice the mismatches in isochrony, even without knowing exactly how to name it; lack of an accurate synchronisation is simply annoying and it distracts the viewers' attention away from following the plot.

Warm-up questions[edit | edit source]

I have prepared for you a proper warm-up before you get to translate, reduce, condense and be creative, in general. Grab some popcorn and turn on your computer/TV, then find this a bit dusty DVD box with Shrek and press 'play'. Time to rewatch this animated classic! After the screening, please, come back to this site and answer these questions below; they are here to help you prepare for the further exercises.

  1. What type of humour does Shrek represent? Are there more wordplays, situational humour scenes, or maybe comic effect is based on popcultural references?
  2. What are the most important components of this movie making Shrek funny, approachable both by children and adults?
  3. Think for a while about the main characters. What is so special about them? How do they speak (tempo, volume, foreign accents, stylization)? Do they have any recognizable catchphrases?
  4. What about the cultural references? Are they all deeply rooted in American culture? Do you have any ideas how to "translate" them or transfer them so that an average Polish viewer would find them funny?
  5. Shrek is stylized into a kind of fairy tale. There are some songs, rhymed narration, and "happily ever after" phrases. Think about the ways you can work with them.

Translation strategies[edit | edit source]

Click here: Translation strategies and practice in order to learn something new or revise your knowledge of various translation strategies, including domestication, condensation, and reduction. Along with the short definitions and examples, I have prepared some exercises for you, so you can test theory in practice.

Creative thinking exercises[edit | edit source]

Now it is time to get creative! Below you have various movie fragments that I consider to be a challenge.
These are songs, cultural references, rhymes, and examples of stylization. Your task is to provide better (I know it is extremely difficult to be better than Bartosz Wierzbięta), funnier, more contemporary translations. You have to "defeat" the translator, humour and words are your weapons.
Click here: Creative thinking exercises

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Here are some useful links that may help you to improve your dubbing skills, that provide you with additional knowledge of lip synchronisation, and generally, the whole process of dubbing. In addition to that, I have included the links to the software used in video and audio editing.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Shrek on imdb.com [1]
  2. Scott Meslow "How Shrek went from the world's biggest animated franchise to the internet's creepiest meme", visited 12-06-2016 [2]
  3. Anna Matamala. Translations for dubbing as dynamic texts. Strategies in film synchronisation. Autonomous University of Barcelona, July 2010. Web. 12 June 2016. ‹https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233559763_Translations_for_dubbing_as_dynamic_texts_Strategies_in_film_synchronisation›.
  4. a b c d Frederic Chaume Varela. SYNCHRONIZATION IN DUBBING: A TRANSLATIONAL APPROACH. Universitat Jaume I, Jan. 2004. Web. 12 June 2016. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/278411772_Synchronization_in_dubbing.