Rory McKenzie


Subtitling Dialectal Variation: Benvenuti al Sud

Translation of Italian dialect can be a difficult task, particularly into a language such as English where comparatively there is very little variety. This is compounded when undertaking audio-visual translation. Subtitlers already have a lot of restrictions placed upon them through the spatio-temporal constraints that are unique to the field; therefore trying to retain the linguistic diversity on top of this is by no means an easy feat.

This paper focuses on Benvenuti al Sud (2010) by director Luca Miniero that includes the Neapolitan dialect. This dialect is explored from a linguistic perspective, followed by a summary of the techniques used to deal with cross-cultural issues in subtitling and dialect translation. With reference to these translation techniques, and a specific focus on the ones developed by Nedergaard-Larsen (1993), as well as interviews with native speakers of Italian who are unfamiliar with the dialects, a variety of scenes from the film wereanalysed. Alternative solutions are proposed where the English subtitles could better reflect the dialect being spoken.


Rory McKenzie (BAHons, Italian Studies) is a Masters student of Translation Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. Internationally trained in Italian language proficiency at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia and the Istituto Italiano in Florence, Rory is an integral part of not only VUW’s Italian Studies programme, but also the campus Language Learning Centre where he currently works. 2015 Graduate Valedictorian, Rory’s research focuses on audio-visual translation in the pursuit of a more comprehensive retention of cultural and dialectal nuances in the English subtitles of Italian film.