Irene Artegiani & Dionysios Kapsaskis
(University of Roehampton)

A qualitative analysis of the impact of template files in multilingual subtitling

Much scholarly attention is currently being focused on the structural changes that are transforming the audiovisual translation industry. One of the most enduring innovations has proved to be the introduction of template subtitling files (or master files), that is, “subtitles that have already been cued in the original or a pivot language, to be used by subtitlers translating into other languages” (Díaz Cintas and Remael 2007:249). The use of template files is now common especially in DVD and Blu-Ray subtitling, although it has raised concerns among professional subtitlers and companies strongly embedded in local markets. They saw this change as a threat to their profession and immediately raised the issue of potential loss of quality.

This article is a first detailed attempt to qualitatively analyse the effects of the use of templates files in multilingual subtitling. Template files interfere with the subtitling process because they provide a “basic structure of a subtitling file” (Georgakopoulou, 2010:221) to which the subtitler has to adhere. This structure follows norms of the language in which the template file is written (typically English) which, in principle, may not be acceptable or ideal in the target languages. Template files also employ strategies of text reduction that, although not compulsory for the translators, still have a traceable effect on the translated versions. In our opinion, the quality concerns expressed by subtitlers cannot be reduced to professional insecurity on their part or to their putative reluctance to move on from familiar traditions.


Mai Ávila, Mª Carmen Camacho, Cristina Escudero, Alma Díaz and José María Pérez

Adapting Dating Sims Spirit

The Japanese videogames market offers a wide-range of choosing points within game experiences. Among these, dating simulation games (dating sims) are one of the most enjoyed, aimed at achieving a romantic relationship by choosing among given characters and dating them. Since the 1980s these videogames have been greatly successful.

However, very few dating sims have reached the Western markets, with a doubtful outcome regarding sales. According to O’Hagan (2007), Brooktown High was the first officially localised dating sim in the USA, inaugurating the genre. It was released in 2007 and it has sold 80,000 copies as of 2011. Compared to the great number of copies that dating sims as a consolidated genre sell in Japan, this figure is certainly puzzling.

Therefore, the purpose and structure of this paper will be as follows:

First of all, a brief description of what dating sims are, based on previously published papers (Taylor, 2007; Hye Shin Kim, 2007), will be provided. Once this context has been explained, we will analyse in depth Brooktown High features and contrast them with general dating sims characteristics. This will be described in order to highlight the existing differences that could lead to hints concerning why this drastically adapted game has proved unsatisfactory.


Colette Balmain
(Independent Scholar)

Media Horror Across Borders: Rings, Grudges and Oriental Nightmares

The success of The Ring, Verbinski’s remake of Nakata’s Ringu (Japan: 1998) in 2002 which not only took nearly 130 million dollars at the US box office alone but was more successful in Japan than the original film, led to a slew of remakes of East Asian horror films including Ju-on: The Grudge (Shimizu: 2002/2004), Dark Water (Nakata: 2002/Salles: 2005), One Missed Call (Miike: 2004/Valette: 2008), Pulse (Kurosawa: 2001/Sonzero: 2006), The Eye (The Pang Brothers: 2002/Moreau & Palud: 2008), Shutter (Pisanthanakun & Wongpoom: 2004/Ochiai: 2008) and most recently A Tale of Two Sisters (Kim Jee-woon: 2003), remade as The Uninvited (The Guard Brothers: 2009). It is telling that The Ring and The Grudge are the two most successful of the remakes. The success of The Ring and its panned sequel The Ring Two, has led to the disinterment of Sadako from her symbolic grave, with Sadako 3D (Hanabusa: Japan) due out this year. The Grudge has so far run to 3 films, the last film direct to DVD, and with a purported 4th in the series also due out this year. The continued market for these translations is demonstrated by the fact that Pulse has had two sequels, albeit they have both been DTV releases.  While Hills argues that the success of Ringu across borders lay in its affinity to techno-horror, or what he calls ‘media horror’, I argue that it is the figure of the vengeful ghost, reinvented as a demonic femme castractice: “as signified by the long dark hair, white costume and unending appetite for death and destruction” (Balmain: 2009: 29) which is at the root of not only Ring’s success but also that of The Grudge – both in terms of the originals and multiple copies and is the reason the other remakes have not managed to achieve the same sort of ‘global’ success. In this paper, I argue that this vision/version of the Other as a feminised, oriental nightmare, is a reiteration of “the yellow peril” encompassing Western fears and anxieties around the technological threat coming from the ‘Orient’ as signified by contemporary discourses of Japanization.


Curri Barceló-Ávila & Jennifer Vela Valido

Theory and Practice of Games Localisation: Academic Training vs. Professional Reality in Spain and the United Kingdom

The video game industry of today looks nothing like it did 10 years ago. Gone are low-tech games and disconnected users. Today's video game players are all ages, demographic and geographic backgrounds. Last year's game industry grew to $18.8 billion. That's a 40% increase from the prior year. For the first time last year, the video game industry surpassed the movie industry in gross sales.

As experts like M. Bernal point out, the interactive entertainment success is “fully dependent […] to the success of the game localisation profession that has to be created from scratch in order to cover the unprecedent demands of multimedia interactive products” (2011:11).

More and more universities are adding games-related studies, such as games design, game production and 3D graphics to their curricula. However, we can see that there is something in common to both Spain and the UK: there is a lack of games and software localisation and testing courses in higher education, and the few courses on game localisation offered by the universities at a postgraduate level don’t have enough hands-on ECT credits or are included in other translation studies such as Audiovisual Translation. As a result, game localisation professionals jump into the industry with very little knowledge of how the games industry really works and need an additional training period within the company in order to reach the practical knowledge required.

The aim of this study is to review the educational methodology for videogames localisation for its adequacy in application to the needs of the games industry.  This will cover universities in both Spain and the UK and will be done in terms of localisation, development and quality assurance.


Marco Benoît Carbone
(University College London)

Tu vuò fa’ the Sopranos: Short Circuits of Italian identities in the localization of a popular TV series

This paper addresses the Italian localization of internationally popular US mob drama, The Sopranos (HBO 1999-2007). By showing significant scenes, their translation and their reception, I will address the conceptions of Italian-American culture between traditional broadcasting and globalized, trans-local consumption.

Regardless of its social self-awareness, The Sopranos was contested by Italian-American communities for their alleged stereotyping. In Italy, the series was also trivialized by the dubbing, which heavily altered the original complexity of dialogues and meanings, sometimes causing narrative short-circuits (e.g.: when the American mobsters travel to Italy, they can't understand Italian; in the dubbed version, paradoxically, everybody speaks Italian). Nevertheless, the globalization of legitimate and pirate flux of information, including downloading and streaming, bypassed the localized and televised Italian versions by the mid-00s, providing spectators with the original experience.

This clash between localities and audiences showcases globalized circulations of meanings that defy traditional market domestications. It also demonstrates the institutional practice of dubbing – and therefore of a large part of the audience – as anachronistic and unable to receive the Soprano’s witty representation of Italian clichés.

Finally it highlights Italian identities as a series of overlapping narratives, enabled by different agents, and negotiated between different contexts of reception and discourse.


Marusya Bociurkiw
(Ryerson University)

Top Chef Canada & Transmedia Affect

While cross-cultural franchising of American or British reality TV shows has existed in Canada for some time (Canadian Idol, So You Think You Can Dance Canada), the emergence of Top Chef Canada is one of the first such examples of cross-border franchising in food television. While much of the format is identical to that of USA-based Top Chef, I will argue that texts of regionalism, liberalism and multiculturalism work to spin a particular national narrative. While hyper real frames of branding and consumption remain unchanged, the premises and participants of the Canadian franchise enact values of co-operation and tolerance that mimic certain national myths. I will also examine the effects of food television as they intersect with nationalism and multi-platform promotion, including fan forums and advertising.  In the trans-media culture of television, both the content and the technology must be examined in terms of how they deploy and  evoke intensities of feeling

How do effects of compassion, interest and even love become harnessed to the intertwined project of consumption and nationalism to the point where they become simulacra? If, as  Keohane argues, Keohane further argues, the pleasures of shared national consumption are amplified by antagonism, does this narrative of moral superiority over the U.S. produce a space for extreme branding and promotional strategies? But, as I have argued earlier, if movement across platforms produces a more critical audience, what latent forms of media interactivity and meaning- making might ensue for audiences of Top Chef Canada.


Kathy Bowrey
(UNSW, Sydney)

Social media and advertising strategies in global reality TV franchises

My paper situates the rise of reality TV franchises within a broader discussion of the new commodification strategies that accompany the cultural shift to the affective economy. As a business enterprise, commercial free-to-air television broadcasting relies upon the pull of different kinds of programming to particular time slots to attract the sale of advertising that fractures the program narrative with commercial ‘breaks’. However, as has been much discussed by media commentators, today’s media savvy audiences have come to recognise this form of advertising as associated with artifice and manipulation.

Immersive situations such as reality TV programs rely on amateur talent and unscripted scenarios to create an illusion of real life, one in which the marketer is less visible. With this kind of programming a productive dramatic tension is created around an unstable text. This allows the audience to participate in the narrative to uncover a kind of emotional truth about the identity of the participants and themselves.

What reality TV offers is access to an individually experienced subjectivity, with a branding logic woven into all aspects of the experience. Formats celebrate competition and self-creation, instilling the normativity of neoliberalism. Free or poorly paid labour is provided by contestants in the hope of payment and reward, often in the form of personal branding opportunities post-show. Brand placement is embedded throughout the show, whilst consumer engagement though social media is tracked and evaluated to further fine-tune corporate messaging of sponsor’s products.

Reality TV helps humanise the identity of global corporations at a time where there is a growing consumer concern about global profit motivations swamping local and national interests and economies. It is no surprise that there has been such a global proliferation of localised versions of  reality TV franchises: Nigerian Idol, Survivor clone Extreme Azerbaijan, Big Brother Angola and so on.

TV format adaptations are not cultural side-shows. The programming supports the penetration of new social aspirations into alien territories, assisting in building localised co-operation that is essential to restructuring global trade and developing new affective economies.


Aaron Calbreath-Frasieur
(University of Nottingham)

Localizing Sesame Street: The Cultural Translation of the Muppets

Sesame Street is an international television franchise, broadcast in the US continuously since 1969, and shown in 140 different countries over time.  The creators, Sesame Workshop (formerly Children’s Television Workshop) have accordingly referred to it as ‘the longest street in the world.’  The form the show takes varies across countries and time.  In some cases the US show is simply dubbed, in others the show is compiled from the vast Sesame Workshop library of clips, in many cases Sesame operates as a global television format with highly localized versions of the show being produced.  In this paper I examine how the Muppet characters, which define the aesthetics and identity of the show, are translated into different cultural contexts in the local versions of the format.  For instance, most productions have a full-body puppet like Big Bird, but each is particular to the country, so that Germany’s Sesamstrasse has a bear, India’s Galli Galli Sim Sim a vegetarian lion and Poland’s Ulica Sezamkowa a dragon.  Recently on SimSim Humara, Pakistan has even decided to move away from the Muppet ‘look’ to create twelve Pakistani-designed characters.  The materials used and construction are common to Muppets everywhere but the aesthetic is  specifically Pakistani.

Beyond aesthetic and basic character concerns, some characters are designed to meet particular socio-political needs.  In particular, Kami, from South Africa’s Takalani Sesame, is an HIV positive Muppet, allowing the show to address the problem of HIV in Africa in a gentle but honest manner.

This paper explores the ways the Muppet characters—as a key element in the identity of the franchise—have been adapted, translated and applied in multiple cultural contexts.


Bertha Chin
(Cardiff University)

“De-Westernising” fan studies: applying fan cultural theory to the transcultural fandom of East Asian popular culture

In the last few years, fan studies have been preoccupied with exploring the changing relationship between fans and media producers, brought on by the advancement of media technologies and the rise of social media. Fans are constantly being crowd-sourced by the media industry, and collaborations between the fan and media producer, particularly in grassroots promotional activities of established media franchises are becoming increasingly common. However, this development is rarely reflected in fan studies in the context of East Asian popular culture. Iwabuchi (2010) observed that fan studies have lost its “idiosyncratic merit” as the line between audience and fan is increasingly blurred. As such, Iwabuchi argued that what is at stake is not that the taxonomy of the fan is romanticised or degraded, but that the complexity of issues such as transnational cultural circulation, national boundaries and media imperialism are often disregarded in fan studies. Iwabuchi’s few exposition on East Asian pop culture fandom make it appear trivialised, as he seemingly replicates the type of good/bad dichotomy that inform early fan studies, where studying fandom’s sociopolitical implications is “good” but fans’ affective pleasure is considered “bad”.

However, globalisation and the growth of media technologies consistently suggest that fandom is becoming transcultural, with East Asian popular culture penetrating the consciousness of Western audiences. In this paper, I want to begin to examine if the seemingly divergent fan cultural theories intersect at any point, and if, as such, fan cultural theory a la Jenkins, Hills and the like can be applied into the context of East Asian pop culture fandom. Are there limitations to both schools of thought when applied to East Asian migrant communities in the West who become fans of East Asian pop culture but remain “outsiders” due to language or proximity constrains?


Rayna Denison
(University of East Anglia)

The Strange Case of the Local and Global Reproduction and Distribution of Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers)

Hana Yori Dango, originally a shōjo ( girls) manga created by Yoko Kamio in 1992, is both an exemplary and exceptional example of contemporary Japanese media franchising. It is the source for one of the biggest domestic blockbuster television and film franchises of the last decade(UniJapan, 2009), and it is also leading the way for Japanese television format sales to Asia (there are now Korean and Taiwanese television remakes of the show). However, Hana Yori Dango is also one of the strangest cases of contemporary Japanese media franchising. Parts of its media network are all but written out of history (the first film version from 1995 starring Yuki Uchida, for example), and its global distribution patterns (the newer Hana Yori Dango – Final film being distributed legally on DVD in America, while the television series upon which it is based is only available through illegal fansubbed versions) offer a picture of a franchise fragmented.

This paper seeks to examine this unusually usual case study in order to investigate the reach of contemporary Japanese media products. Following work on Japanese media adaptation by Koichi Iwabuchi (2004) and Julian Stringer (2007), I argue for a more holistic and contextually nuanced appreciation of how Japanese texts traverse cultural borders. In unpacking the network of texts associated with Hana Yori Dango, this paper seeks to provide a nuanced understanding of the conditions under which adaptations, translation and remaking of Japanese media take place.


Kate Edwards
(Englobe Inc.)

Content Culturalization and the Battle for Public Mindshare

As we move further into the 21st Century, we continue to witness the exponential growth of digital content across a plethora of technologies. The localization of this content remains a cornerstone to global distribution and maximizing potential revenue in the entertainment industry. At the same time, we bear witness to the increasing propensity of local authorities to attempt to regulate, control and divert content that is deemed politically and/or culturally incompatible. This accentuates an intensifying conflict for the public’s mindshare between those who produce content and those who regulate its consumption. In the new world of rampant social networking, opinion sharing and instantaneous consensus building, there is a great deal to be gained or lost by businesses, governments and special interest groups who choose to reinforce, represent and/or recreate local perception. While the localization of video games and related media has long been a necessity to extend content legibility, “culturalization” is an emerging process by which game content is more carefully adapted to local expectations beyond just the linguistic aspects. Unlike localization which is typically perceived as a late stage process in a development cycle, culturalization is a holistic modus operandi for global content design, development and distribution. With the use of numerous examples, the speaker will elucidate the fundamental challenges of cross-border media and provide a initial framework for a culturalization methodology.


Austin Fisher
(University of Bedfordshire)

Il Cinema All’Americana? : Defining the Transnational Popular

Defining the “popular” cinematic product has always been a fraught and problematic task for the academy. In Italian film studies – replete for so long with discourses surrounding neorealism, “national cinema” and the canonical post-war auteurs – only relatively recently have concerted efforts been made to demarcate this nebulous concept. As Italy’s hugely prolific genre cinema of the 1960s and 1970s becomes increasingly de rigueur, it is common practice for scholars to defend these films from the stigma of derivativeness from Hollywood, either by insisting on a hidden sophistication that likens them to revered auteur cinema, or by emphasising that their stylistic tics, their eccentric narrative structures and their disregard for verisimilitude constitute a purposefully contrary aesthetic, attuned to tastes entirely divergent from the global (and therefore, in post-war Western Europe, “Americanised”) “mainstream”.

This paper, however, will argue that the derivativeness from US paradigms to be found in these genres is in and of itself both an apt expression of a “popular” sensibility and, given the cultural-political conditions of the era, a consummately “Italian” process, registering and filtering the lived experience of the nation’s audiences. I will discuss how the flaws and confusions within peplums, Spaghetti Westerns, gialli and poliziotteschi inadvertently register the transitional nature of Italian identity in this era: their bewilderingly transnational dynamics serving up documents of an Italy in the throes of cultural and political upheaval. Beyond defensiveness or opprobrium, the question should not be whether these films are beholden to US culture, but why, and to what degree?


Serena Formica
(University of Derby)

If Hercule Poirot spoke Japanese: Cross Border Adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Novels

Poirot has learned Japanese and has as a junior assistant the daughter of Miss Marple’s nephew; Hastings has had a rejuvenating treatment; Japp has been re-christened ‘Sharpe’…  No need to be alarmed; this is not a parallel (fictional) reality, and no unpublished Agatha Christie’s manuscript has been discovered. This scenario is depicted in the Japanese adaptation of Agatha Christie’s works No Meitaintei Poirot to Marple, also knows as Great Detectives Poirot to Marple, broadcast between 2004 and 2005 by NHK and produced by Oriental Light and Magic.

The paper explores the series as a cross-border adaptation, examining what happens when an iconic character, part of the collective Western imagination, is adapted across a different cultural context. Taking as a starting point Linda Hutcheon’s theory of adaptation, the paper attempts to consider the series not only in relation to the original but also in its own merits, and examines how No Meitantei has been made Japanese in order to appeal to a younger, non-Western audience. This results in the main characters assuming roles that differ from their most common representations; Poirot assumes the role of father for the young Mabel and Hastings becomes a big brother. In addition, both adopt Japanese mannerisms.

The paper ultimately shows that, despite being made in the noughties, the series has more in common with the aesthetic of 1970s and 1980s anime than with contemporary anime, and argues that No Meitantei is not only a mystery drama, but also an atypical example of the shojo genre.


Anne Gruene
(University of Erfurt)

What is Cultural about Cultural Adaptation in TV formats?

International format trade in TV has proven the tremendous potential of creative industries to make profit out of adapting ideas to various cultural settings. Analytically, TV formats tackle a crucial aspect in cultural globalization debate: the disjuncture and mutual relation of global economical strategies and structures and local modes of reception and representation. Thus, formatted entertainment can help to explore the emergence and existence of glocal popular culture. It remains a challenge to extract the global from the local and, even more, to analyse the seemingly inherent cultural level in the process of adaptation across borders.

In my comparative research project I reconstruct the format-transfer of “Got Talent” and “Who wants to be a Millionaire” into the German and Pan-Arab television landscapes. A content analysis of the adaptations has revealed differences (e.g. in editing, pace, narratives, content and actors functional roles), that suggest localisation processes. To avoid a reductionist explanation that would link differences on a textual level to those on a cultural level, I employ a multilevel approach that rather links the products to readings of both producers and viewers. On the basis of these considerations, the aim of my contribution will be twofold:

First, I present preliminary empirical findings from group discussions1 that reveal readings of the shows as well as discourses from follow-up-discussions, unveiling the viewers own reconstruction of local reproduction. The underlying methodological considerations revisit classical works (e.g. Liebes/Katz, Gillespie) and theoretical approaches (Hall, Fiske) on cultural specificities in decoding media texts, which I apply to formatted show concepts.

Second, I theoretically contextualize my findings within the broader discussion of cultural adaptation/hybridization (Moran, Kraidy) and dynamics of cultural proximity (Straubhaar). I will renew questions of operationalising glocalisation (Robertson) by asking: “What is it that constitutes glocalisation in the cultural adaptation of TV formats?” In doing so, I will reconsider the myth of globalization (Hafez).


Juan Francisco Gutierrez Lozano
(University of Malaga)

Adapting International TV Formats for specific publics

In recent years, regional public televisions in Spain have lost a significant number of viewers to the growing number of channels offered by Digital terrestrial television (DTT). The aggregate annual viewing figures achieved by the regional channels as a whole in 2011 were just 10.4% share (25% in the eighties).

In a period marked by economic crisis, these regional TV live now their most delicate moment. Critics underline the weak quality of their programming; the old-fashioned stereotyped images shown of their communities; the political propaganda in theirs news programmes and, specially, the high costs supported by public taxes. In fact, their audiences consist mainly of the over 55, and the most popular features in their schedules are regional and local news broadcasts, programmes devoted to cultural traditions in the area, comedy, and, of course, sport, notably football.

Since their beginnings, Spanish regional TVs have run international series with uneven success (from Dallas in 1983 to Nip & Tuck or Heroes, recently). But, also, these channels have been trying to update their schedules by adopting new international TV successful examples. These internationally-proven formats have been adapted or adjusted to specific regional interests, to make them suitable for their mature audiences or in desperate attempt to appeal younger publics.

In this paper we would like to stress some of the most relevant examples of this trend. One fo them is the most popular programme on Basque TV (ETB), an adventure-based reality show in the ‘Survivor’ mould. Catalan TV’s own reality show, ‘Casal Rock’, is an adaptation of the Dutch programme ‘The battle of the choirs’, in which elderly contestants take part.

Particularly in the Andalusia case, this channel was the first to feature folk music in the context of an internationally-successful format such as the talent show (‘Se llama copla’). This Andalusia public channel has broadcasted other successful innovative formulas linked to realities, like a dating show with players over 50, or even a coaching show with celebrities devoted to the world of bullfighting.


Derek Johnston
(University of East Anglia)

Transcultural Reinterpretation of the ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ Narrative

In the "Kozure Ōkami" ("Lone Wolf and Cub") manga and its adaptations, Ogami Ittō and his infant son Daigoro are the only survivors of a family slaughtered by a power-seeking rival. Ittō is presented as the ideal of the samurai who seeks to pass these qualities on to his son. The relationship between father and son serves to set the Lone Wolf and Cub narrative apart from the many other stories of vengeance-seeking ronin, but it also acts to underline the theme of the manga, which condemns the lingering effects of feudal society upon modern Japan. This narrative was adapted a number of times for Japanese film and television, with American translations and transformations of the manga and these adaptations introducing differing interpretations of the characters, setting and narrative, both subtle and less subtle. The narrative and characters have also inspired two American print graphic narratives, "Lone Wolf and Cub 2100" and "Road to Perdition", with the latter being translated again into an American film. Theses versions of the narrative present a more hopeful ending, suggesting that the violence has acted as a purge of problems from the past and present and particularly separating the child from the violence. This paper examines the differences between these narratives, particularly their treatment of the lead characters and their approach to the presence or absence of hope for the future at the end of the narrative. It considers these in relation to differing understandings of audience and popular narrative, considering what this tells us about broader cultural difference.


Heidi Keinonen
(University of Tampere)

Formatted Authenticity: Genre, National Culture and the Finnish Version of Connected

In March 2012 a Finnish television channel called Sub premiered a new programme series. Iholla (On the skin) features six Finnish women filming their everyday life for six months. During the process they go through life changes which are, in part, due to their self-reflection in front of the camera. Hand-held shooting, direct address and the slow pace of the narration creates an impression of documentary-like authenticity not common in reality tv. As the programme combines factual entertainment, reality television, documentary and drama, among others, it avoids generic definitions.

The authenticity is further promoted by the six women and their “Finnishness”: the Finnish language, sites and culture. While promoted as domestic television by Sub, Iholla is actually based on an Israeli television format Connected which has been licenced to numerous countries. Thus, the authentic lives of these women and the representations of national culture are “formatted”, constrained by the international programme format. 

In my paper I will explore the intertwined questions of genre and national/international television culture. How does the programme combine different features in terms of genre? How are the generic definitions communicated to the audience? How does the programme represent national culture and localize the international programme format? I will answer these questions by analyzing empirical material which consists of the episodes of the programme, related websites and interviews.


Ornella Lepre
(Imperial College London)

Translating, adapting and remaking in video games: The role of gameplay in cultural localization

In recent years, video games have become more and more popular, a phenomenon that is reflected in the growing academic interest they are attracting. Scholars in translation studies have started to analyze how video games are ‘localized’ into different languages, highlighting technical and linguistic features of the process.

While adapting a video game for a foreign audience is never easy, the task can become especially challenging when the game contains elements that are related to a specific culture or society. This paper uses examples from popular video games to point out how cultural issues can arise from their localization. Intertextual and, in general, culture-bound references, often used to achieve a humorous effect, abound in video games and pose additional constraints to the translators. However, the study also aims at illustrating how such constraints are heavily affected by the peculiar nature of the medium: as every element of a game’s multimodal text is tightly linked to its gameplay – a term that broadly defines the challenges presented to the players and the tools they have to overcome them – the pool of available translation strategies can be smaller than it is for other forms of audiovisual translation.

On the other hand, sometimes the centrality of the ludic component is what allows two games to provide the same experience for players even if setting, cultural references, soundtrack and story are heavily adapted. When gameplay is the element around which localization revolves, a foreign remake can be seen as an extreme form of localization, and a game can be adapted to different extents for different audiences depending on the cultural distance between the source and target countries. Therefore, the successful localization of a video game may require both a careful evaluation of cultural issues and a thorough understanding of the specific title’s game mechanics.


Philip Lin
(University of Westminster)

The Call of Duty series and the Reflected Intertextuality

In the last 10 years, the first-person-shooter (FPS) games has grown to be one of the most recognisable gaming genre and had produced several ‘most-wanted’ war-themed game titles played by millions of global gamers. Especially after 9/11, the popular FPS games, e.g. the America’s Army (AA), Call of Duty (COD), Medal of Honour (MOD), and Battlefield series based on World War II stories and fictional world conflicts were constantly monitored, supported and sponsored by the U.S. military authorities. With both commercial and ideological interests, the Pentagon and the U.S. Department of Defence (DOD) have already heavily invested in different sets of game/simulation projects. Similar to the way the American film industry cooperate with the military, the US government’s financial and technological supports keep encouraging talented game developers/programmers to focus on the development of image innovation and game realism. These irresistible resources give them more flexibility to produce more interactive conflict scenarios and allow them to create the gaming experiences more closed to real-combat situations.

Culturally speaking, shooter games of this kind represents an emerging ‘Western genre’ within the global gaming culture. As part of the Western media discourse, they naturally bring more attention to the Western gamers, whose gaming habits were commonly seen to be more synchronized with crime, shooter and sport game genres (see Kent 2004). Since the birth of this genre in the 1990s, these hardcode military shooter games made by the U.S.-centric military-entertainment-industrial efforts have been claimed as being more accepted by the gamers in the West than those in the East Asian game countries. However, recent reports have shown that the number of FPS gamers/communities in the East Asian countries (such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) is rapidly increasing. This change of cultural taste in gameplay strongly reflects a critical sense that, through the soft power of gameplay, Pentagon’s ‘perception management campaigns’ begin to pay off and bring about foreign game audiences’ interests in role-playing soldiers. 

The author launched an online exploratory survey between 2010 and 2011 and received response from 433 people who claimed to regularly play the well-known war-themed FPS game series, Call of Duty. Call of Duty is so far the most selling FPS game series of all time, with more than 24 million copies sold in its latest two series (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Black Ops) and with nearly 10 million game fans subscribe to its official Facebook group. Moreover, 11 in-depth interviews with a local community of Taiwanese/Chinese-speaking gamers were conducted in an attempt to interrogate their feelings of and attitudes towards this critical ‘militainment’ genre.

By examining their self-reflected experiences using the second method, the author found that Hollywood war movies and Dramas serve as important imaginary resources for Taiwanese FPS war gamers. The war-themed FPS gamers in Taiwan find their virtual and transnational belongings by projecting their previous war TV/film-viewing experience into their FPS gaming practice. The relationship between Hollywood war movies and blockbuster shooter games can simply be traced down in our interviewees’ responses. Within the war-themed FPS genre, our interviews reflect the intimate intertexuality across these two media forms.


Dolores Martinez
(SOAS, University of London)

There and almost back again: On the savage junctures between Eisenstein, Kurosawa and Lucas

When Stars Wars first came out in 1977, George Lucas admited his admiration for and inspiration owed to Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress (1958); a visual and narrative relationship that cannot be denied. However, the influence of Sergei Eisenstein on both directors, particularly his films Battleship Potemkim (1925) and Alexander Nevsky (1938), a mythic account of Novgorod's rallying and defense against invasion by the Tuetonic Knights need to be considered as well.  All the films deal with the rising up of common people against the injustices of tyranny, although it was Kurosawa and his co-writers who introduced the plot changes of hidden treasure and an orphaned princess. Kurosawa's film, in particular, also uses the formalist technique which Nesbet discusses in her 2007 book Savage Junctures: the visual and verbal interplay between the ordinary and the heroic, the banal and the noble as well as the refined and the vulgar.  These techniques are used to move forward the plot in both Eisenstein's and Kurosawa's films in order to create a sense of estrangement in Shklovsky's sense; that is, to produce a sense of newness.  In this paper I will argue that while Lucas employs some of Eisenstein visual techniques (a point made by such popular reworking as The star destroyer Potemkin on YouTube using star wars Lego figures), he does not incorporate the more interesting possibilities that savage junctures offer to a film maker.  When, finally, the Hidden Fortress was remade as The last princess (Higuchi 2008), the visual debt owed to Lucas is greater than that to Kurosawa, while the plot relies on dialogue to produce a revolutionary rhetoric, but not a dynamic sense of estrangement.  Much has been lost in translation and this paper will examine the possible reasons for these losses.


Lothar Mikos
(HFF Konrad Wolf)

Global Media between Localization and De-Localization

The global media landscape is shaped by a complex field of “multi-directional flows” (Thussu 2007). Whereas blockbuster movies from the USA travelled around the world and attract different kinds of audiences worldwide since World War II, the global television market become more dynamic since the deregulation of the TV markets in Europe with the introduction of commercial television since the 1980s (Havens 2006). The international trade in television formats has become an important part of the television business. Formats are travelling around the world. Latin American telenovelas are very successful in a lot of countries in Asia and Europe. European reality and game show formats saw numerous adaptations around the globe. US TV series are sold to TV stations all over the world.

There are three varieties of format marketing in the global television market (Mikos 2010): (1) One marketing variant entails selling broadcast rights for fully produced series or, more commonly, for individual seasons. These series then compete under their titles as brand names for the television networks of foreign countries. The buyer acquires the broadcast rights to a finished product and performs no modification except subtitling or dubbing. (2) Another type of format marketing involves selling the rights to a series concept and a format outline. In this variant no finished content is sold. Instead each buyer produces the series, adapting it to local conditions within the limits of the agreed outline. (3) The third marketing variant is the licensing of rights to quiz shows, game shows, and reality shows. These shows have a brand that is used uniformly throughout the world, and their presentations, from dramaturgy to character constellations to design, follow uniform rules across all adaptations. Only the contestants, the games, and the quiz questions adapt to local conditions.

The paper will deal with the localization of global TV formats using examples of adaptations of series and adaptations of reality and game shows. The paper will also show how licensed TV series are attractive to global audience by highlighting specific local cities like New York, Boston, Miami, Atlanta etc. Both types of formats focus on cultural authenticity.At the same time there is a trend in the global marketing of blockbuster movies of delocalization in creating artificial worlds. These artificial worlds possess the special power of being able to awaken landscapes in which  cultural authenticity is not notable and in which different  specific cultural stereotypes are part of a multicultural society.


Martin Nkosi Ndlela
(Hedmark University College)

Localization of Global Television Formats in Africa

Global television formats increasingly epitomize the global television landscape, with popular programs being routinely franchised, copied, adapted and localized for production in various parts of the world. Spurred by developments in digital technologies, television formats transcend geographical and cultural boundaries. The nature, sheer scale and scope of these formats is igniting new debates, challenging scenarios of cultural imperialism and the binary structures of globalization such as the centre-periphery and global-local. This paper explores the adaptation of television formats in Sub-Saharan Africa, focusing mainly on the localization of Idols and Big Brother, by the South African television network, M-Net. Applying a critical cultural perspective, this paper seeks to understand the ways in which these formats generate, produce and distribute meanings.


Tasha Oren
(University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

The evolution of Formats and contemporary food television

The paper traces the evolution of the cooking competition format in the context of US food television history and explores how global format conventions serve and help define the changing landscape of lifestyle television and the cultural meanings of food, taste and consumption. To this end, it examines contemporary food television’s radical evolution from the domestic and friendly “How-to” cooking programs towards restaurant (and male) centered competition shows that highlight professional, high-stakes performance, criticism, stress and (often) humiliation. It is this latter formula that now typifies not only top rated food network programming but a growing number of globally formatted and adapted productions.

The paper begins by examining the changes within the Food Network programming schedule in correspondence with the cotemporaneous evolution of the cooking competition format. As I argue, changes in the status of food, consumption culture, taste politics and content distribution coincided with American adaptation of the original UK Masterchef format and the surprising success of the Japanese cult hit Iron Chef (and its US based format franchise) to radically change programming and audience targeting strategies. 

Cooing competition formats did more than introduce a new mode of food television, they directly corresponded to television’s redefinition of audience investment and identity in the multi-platform media marketplace. Moreover, they partook in a larger sea change in popular food culture to broaden food programming appeal to men and non-cooks.  These corresponding industry and culture shifts provide the backdrop and motivation for the current explosion of food-themed formats that encourages audience’s investment in their own expertise as critics, diners, foodies, and even “wannabe” chefs. In this process, food television dovetails into a larger web-based gastro-culture where judgment outranks pleasure.


Jiří Petrů
(Masaryk University)

Development of Video Games Translation in the Czech Republic

Video games have over the years been translated not only by professionals, but also by groups of enthusiastic amateurs. This paper, based on personal interviews with the major figures of the Czech video game translation scene, describes how the video game translation phenomenon developed in the Czech Republic. Instead of dealing with texts, it focuses on translators, communities, workflows and the state of the industry.

In the Czech Republic, the market realities of the post-communist era of 1990s did not allow for a healthy entertainment industry. In the absence of professional translations, fans started to translate their favourite games themselves. This practice became more widespread with the advent of the Internet, which allowed likely minded people to cooperate, and by 2000 reached a sort of a 'golden age', where dozens of unpaid fans regularly joined their efforts to translate projects which could on occasion span over thousands of standard pages. Later, these translations started attracting the attention of video game magazines, shops and publishers.

We follow the established fan teams as they start doing freelance work and slowly professionalise. By mid-2000s we already see several professional game localisation companies, all formed in a unique bottom-to-top fashion from former amateurs. The translators themselves have been confronted with the changing nature of their activity, which transformed from a hobby to a regular, deadline-bound job. Some adjusted, others left, and a few still continue to translate video games as a leisure activity.

The paper builds upon various examples and interviews to paint a picture of a translation industry as it has developed over many years from a fan endeavour to professional work. Although it deals only with the Czech Republic, it is the author's belief that it brings valuable insights into the study of fan translation and video game translation as a whole.


Dolores Tierney
(Sussex University)

Remaking the Latin American director: Fernando Meirelles, The Global Auteur

Under the headline ‘Latin America exports cannibals and zombies’ BBC World reports that the Mexican horror film Somos lo que hay (We Are What We Are Jorge Michel Grau, 2010) is to be remade in the U.S. in 2012. Somos lo que hay is one of several Latin American media texts to be remade in the U.S. in recent years. ABC’s primetime dramedy Ugly Betty (2006-2010), a remake of the transnationally successful Colombian telenovela  Yo soy Betty, la fea (I’m Betty, the Ugly One 1999-2001) is another.

Investigating the likely transformations of Grau’s family of cannibals in their journey from Mexico City to upstate New York, and the actual transformations of Fernando Gaitán’s aspiring ugly duckling in her shift from Bogota to Manhattan offers considerable insight into the processes of cultural exchange and translation between Latin American and U.S. media industries. As other recent studies of US-appropriated Latin American media product have suggested, and contrary to the dumbing-down that is often considered inevitable in the “Hollywoodization” of European texts, Latin America’s border-crossing texts can, under analysis, be seen to retain significant political aspects of their original style and subject matter (Tierney 2009) and by doing so challenge to the inevitability of U.S cultural hegemony (Appadurai, 1996).

It is not just media texts that are ‘remade’ in the current vogue for Latin(o) American content in the U.S.. Latin American directors also undergo changes in their transition from the global south to the industrial North. What this paper proposes is an exploration of the transformation of the (discourses surrounding the) deterritorialized Latin American director, focusing in particular on Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles. The paper suggests that it is only in the context of his deterritorialized career (The Constant Gardener Blindness) that Meirelles has emerged as an auteur and how this transnational auteurism with its attendant reading strategies and leverage contrasts with the collaborative production processes behind Cidade de Deus. It also argues that, although Meirelles has bucked elements of the transnational trend by not decamping to Hollywood, he has skirted its structures and practices, both in the casting of his English language features (Hollywood stars Ralph Feinnes, Rachel Weisz, Julianne Moore, Danny Glover, Mark Ruffalo) and in the scale and genre features of his blockbuster Brazil/Japan/Canada co-production Blindness which had a Hollywood sized budget (funded exclusively through Brazilian incentive laws) and engages with the conventions of the Hollywood global disaster film.


Rachel Mizsei Ward
(University of East Anglia)

Remaking The Karate Kid (2010): Transnational Co-Production, Jackie Chan and Kung Fu

In 2010 The Karate Kid (1984) was remade for a new generation. When considered solely as a mainstream Hollywood product The Karate Kid is nothing special. However the way that the narrative, characters and locations have been changed to suit a modern audience, is particularly interesting. Much of the narrative remained the same, but rather than being set entirely in America, the main body of the action was relocated to China. This remake pairs Jaden Smith with Jackie Chan, imitating the already successful formula of Black/Chinese buddies in American action films such as Drive (1997), Rush Hour (1998), Romeo Must Die (2000), and Cradle 2 The Grave (2003). The mentor character, portrayed by Pat Morita in the 1984 film, has been adapted to fit Jackie Chan’s star persona and martial arts and stunt skills. The choice of Chan, as an internationally famous star, particularly in Asia, is also important.  

The 2010 Karate Kid was in part produced by the China Film Group, a state run body which oversees co-productions such as this, as well as funding film production and importing foreign films. Foreign film production in China is difficult and requires government agreement to filming, particularly at significant national monuments. As a result problematic elements in China, such as the state restrictions on freedoms of speech, movement and religion are subsumed by the display of key tourist attractions, combined with images of beautiful countryside and a vibrant local culture.

This paper will consider how The Karate Kid was changed in the remake. Of particular importance are the influence of the co-production, the use of Jackie Chan, and the way that martial arts are incorporated.


Jonathan Wroot
(University of East Anglia)

Death Note: Framing the Authentic Text

This paper stems from an article written by Laurie Cubbison, titled ‘Anime Fans, DVDs, and the Authentic Text.’ In this piece, she states that fans of Japanese animation pressured distributors to use the DVD medium to its potential. This meant providing the choice of viewing anime with either a dubbed soundtrack or subtitles. However, certain choices by the distributors can still affect how anime is viewed outside of Japan. The paper will focus on these choices by looking at the extra features on anime DVDs – specifically using the Death Note TV series as a case study. Very few of the series’ DVD special features refer explicitly to the Japanese origins of the story. Interviews and making-ofs are included, as is the case with many anime DVDs. But the Death Note series extras mostly illustrate the work of the cast and crew that construct the dubbed soundtrack. Such material does not just provide an intriguing insight into the voice-recording process (for the TV series, as well as dubbing in general). It encourages viewers to see the value and work behind the dubbed version; meaning that the distributors are not just providing a choice of viewing options.