The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Translating Wordplay in Sung Texts: A Disney Case Study
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This MA thesis studies the various possibilities and pitfalls of translating songs that contain wordplay, specifically songs in animated Disney musicals. This study contains two main sections. The first consists of an analysis of two existing translations of Disney songs, Dumbo's 'When I See an Elephant Fly' and Alice in Wonderland's 'All in the Golden Afternoon'. In this analysis, singable translations are compared to translations intended for subtitling tracks. In the second section of the study, my singable translation of The Lion King's 'The Morning Report' is presented and compared to an existing singable translation. Furthermore, my subtitling track for this song is discussed. This study shows that many strategies used for the translation of wordplay in Disney songs in one translation are also used in different translations, but since singable translations serve an entirely different purpose than subtitles, as well as a different audience, the respective translators have and require substantially different strategies and priorities. '[T]he subtitler must possess the musical ears of an interpreter, the stylistic sensitivity of a literary translator, the visual acuteness of a film cutter, and the aesthetic sense of a book designer' (Gottlieb, 1994).