Return the appointment on the Twitch channel of Pop Culture with Voicesthe show aired on the first and third Fridays of the month it talks about dubbing and everything related to this profession linked to the world of cinema, TV series and video games. In this episode we had the pleasure of having in transmission Fabrizio Mazzottaone of the big names in Italian dubbing, as well as dialogue adapter and dubbing director, with whom we talked about the success of the series The fantastic Mrs. Maiselof which he was director of dubbing, of the interpretations of some of his iconic characters, such as Krusty the Clown de The Simpsons and the Clumsy Smurf and how the adaptation of the dialogues of a product works.
What you will read below is an excerpt from the chat we had with Fabrizio Mazzotta during Voices. If you are curious about see (and listen to) the entire interview, you can go directly to the video that you find at the bottom of the article.
Interview with Fabrizio Mazzotta
Let’s talk now about The Fantastic Mrs. Maisel: would you ever have expected such a success?
From the very first episodes, when five years ago, I got a preview, I understood that it was definitely a well-made product. On the other hand, Amy Sherman-Palladino (author of the series) is used to successes: just think of Una Mamma Per Amica, a serial that lasted seven seasons and a revival of four episodes. I consider the fantastic Mrs. Maisel a truly brilliant product! I adapted a few episodes of the first season from the series and then directed all the other episodes over the course of the other four and so far, it’s been really cool.
From the original to the Italian, being a series based on stand-up and comedy, were there many puns or particular jokes? How do you behave in this case?
Fortunately, there were no great puns. There are above all references to Jewish culture, which certainly required more research in understanding how to best pronounce certain words and their exact meaning. More than anything else, it was difficult to adapt the rhythm of the protagonist’s speech, because when she makes her stand-up comedy numbers she speaks very fast, as do most of the characters in the series.
Many references to Jewish culture that have been faithfully maintained, something that was not done long ago with products such as, for example, La Tata. what do you think of this type of approach?
Personally, I am against this kind of upheaval. In my opinion, La Tata would have worked the same even with references to Jewish culture (in the Italian adaptation it became Italian); probably we didn’t want to focus much on public intelligence and we wanted to focus on something more popular. But it ended up being successful, so that’s okay.
Would you like to explain to us how a dubbing adaptation works?
Not always the adapter does not match with the translator. In my case, for example, I generally don’t translate and I prefer to make use of people much more capable than me in the linguistic field. So, we start with an already complete translation, with which you will have to adapt, that is not to change the concept of the sentence, but put it in Sync with the lips of the characters, making the sentence in Italian the same length as the original one you see on the screen. . And this is already a first difficulty, because, for example, a concept that in Japanese is expressed in many words, in Italian instead it is enough to use much less; it will therefore be necessary to add words to arrive at the desired length without distorting the original concept.
Sometimes, however, it happens to collide with puns or untranslatable expressions and a greater effort is required of, in fact, adaptation: I remember, for example, on Bayside School, a series from the 80s, where an old TV series was mentioned. American that was almost unknown to us. If I had had to translate and report the name of that particular series, no one would have laughed or grasped the reference, so I adapted it with the name of a series more known to us, namely the Lady in Yellow, in such a way that the Italian public could also catch the joke.
So “to adapt” also means “to make understandable” to an audience with different cultural references?
Of course! The author of a certain product wants to convey it to as many people as possible and they want the viewer to be scared, or laugh, or be shocked, sad and the only way to do it is through the reference language, at a certain point. as well as the reference culture. If there is something that is hardly understood or that distorts what you see on the screen, you totally break the emotion, you break a story that the creator wanted to do. It must be as clear as possible, but also as correct as possible.
In your opinion, what do the errors in the adaptation phase depend on?
There are various cases: sometimes there is a supervisor, both in films and in TV series, who checks everything and makes corrections on the scripts where needed, after which I, based on the notes that are written, adapt and adjust the shot ; others, however, do not exist figures who carry out checks; still others, there are people who, however willing they may be, are unable to do so.
It can also happen that some adaptations are made by people who do not have a certain specific culture or who do not know at all the context of the product they are dealing with: an example that comes to mind is The Big Bang Theory, full of references to culture. Nerd, therefore films, TV series, video games and so on, which MUST be adapted by someone who, at least, knows this world.
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