(Re)creating actuality in environmental documentaries: The case of Before the Flood


  • Cinzia Spinzi University of Bergamo


Documentary translation, environment, climate, dubbing


This study intends to contribute to the translation of environmental documentaries seen as creative ​forms​​ of disseminating scientific knowledge through audiovisual modes (e.g., dubbing, subtitling, voice over). The main aim is to identify the degree of creativity in the translation ​of a very popular and successful documentary, i.e., Before the Flood, ​and to provide explanations for manipulations. Against the backdrop of Schjoldager’s (2008) creative strategies and intercultural research (Hofstede 2003; Hofstede et al. 2010), the ​translation process of the environmental documentary presents a number of translatorial interventions which are only partially explained by the constraints posed by the audiovisual modes​ adopted. The creative shifts identified take account of the cultural distance when translating and ​(re)create an audiovisual product which is more objective, persuasive and distrustful than its original counterpart.