Gender and Language, Vol 14, No 3 (2020)

The formation of a sociolinguistic style in translation: cool and informal non-Japanese masculinity

Momoko Nakamura
Issued Date: 2 Sep 2020


This paper illustrates the powerful role of translation in creating a sociolinguistic style. Through a quantitative survey of Japanese native speakers and a qualitative analysis of translated speech in an imported TV show and its Japanese parody, the study shows that Japanese translation practices have invented and preserved a widely recognised Japanese style associated with non-Japanese men. The study demonstrates that the style is linked with an image of non-Japanese young men characterised by cool informality; that it is marked by the use of linguistic features not commonly used among native speakers; and that it can be used to enregister a negative stereotype of non-Japanese masculinity, which serves to legitimate a polite, formal, Japanese normative masculinity. The findings suggest that translation is a process in which dominant ideologies of the target-language culture can be reinforced through the voices and bodies of nonnatives.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.39954


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