I wanted to share a link to this great video slide show over at Slate about how Hollywood represents foreign languages in film.
How to represent foreign speech? Many filmmakers are content to shoot against a painted backdrop, toss in a few bonjours, and call it France, while others go to great lengths to have characters look and speak as authentically as possible. There are no hard and fast rules, but it’s a tricky business—directors must balance the expectations of realism with ease of viewing. They want dialogue to be convincing, but they don’t want to alienate their audiences with accents or subtitles that aren’t essential to the story.
And if you enjoyed that you will probably also enjoy the discussion about “fake translations” which took place on the linguistic anthropology listserv. Over at the SLA blog (scroll down) Alexandre Enkerli took the time to embed all the videos from that discussion in a single post.