Author: Yong Zhong 1
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  • 1 University of New South Wales New South Wales Australia
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Dubbing is the norm in re-editing imported foreign screen programming in China. Yet the practice has been rarely critiqued. In this context, I have undertaken a stylistic analysis of a dubbed Chinese edition of Desperate Housewives , which was screened by China Central Television (CCTV) soon after its US release. This paper discusses the analysis and the ensuing findings. The paper presents a number of examples extracted from the original script, accompanied by the CCTV translation plus back translation of the program. I begin the paper by providing information about the CCTV edition of Desperate Housewives , focusing on its poor reception by the viewers. This is followed by a discussion of the four prominent translation strategies used in the CCTV rendition, which I have identified on the basis of the stylistic analysis. The strategies include being maximal, being literal, being logical and being sanitary. I then proceed to a critique of the four strategies. I argue that the use of the strategies is intended to serve two specific objectives. (1) Accomplishing the difficult task of translating the program from English into Chinese and from American culture into Chinese culture. (2) Taming the desperate language acts of the characters. It will be argued, however, that the use of the strategies prevents the foreign (i.e., articulation of the desperation of suburban American housewives) from coming through to the Chinese audience, which I believe contributes to the viewers’ disenchantment with the program.

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