Incorporating Islamic Values Through Arabic Redubbing of the Animated Television Series "Detective Conan"
Due to technological advancements and widespread Internet usage over the past few decades, audiovisual communication has experienced remarkable expansion. Cinema, television, laptops, and tablets are just a few examples of screen devices that convey cultural and entertainment-related products. The requirement for translation to adapt the audiovisual materials' content to a different culture originates from the fact that they are produced in various languages and nations around the world (Al-Abbas et al., 2022; Debbas & Haider, 2020; Haider et al., 2023; Samha et al., 2023). The type of translation dedicated to such works is referred to as audiovisual translation (AVT) and is defined as "a specialized branch of translation which deals with the transfer of multimodal and multimedia texts into another language and/or culture" (Pérez-González, 2009: 13).
AVT products have consumers worldwide, and like any other region, the Arab world is experiencing an overflow of dubbed animated movies and series that usually transmit the cultural values of the countries where their producers are located (Abulawi et al., 2022; Al-Yasin, 2022). Any audiovisual content is usually addressed and adapted to a specific audience whose cultural and religious backgrounds have a decisive impact on the creation of the translated version (Bell, 1984). This process is made easier with language, being the means of communication that can facilitate the appropriation of imported cultures and values. Therefore, when reproducing audiovisual products, vocabulary and references are indigenized to suit the taste and enrich the cultural systems of the target audience (Belkhyr, 2013).
There are different types of AVT, including subtitling (Abu-Rayyash et al., 2023; Al-Abbas & Haider, 2021; Aldualimi & Almahasees, 2022; Haider et al., 2023), voiceover (Díaz-Cintas & Orero, 2010), and dubbing (Alrousan & Haider, 2022; Chaume 2004; Chaume, 2020; Silwadi & Almahasees, 2022), with the latter being the most often used in children's movies that occupy a significant proportion of their viewing time (Chaume, 2020). This means that Arab children may be exposed to
norms and values that are alien to the Arab culture, especially with the lack of local Arab animated productions that would present an alternative. By and large, animated movies are known for their impact on kids' behaviors and the formation of social conditions and role models (Bedekar & Joshi, 2020). Therefore, when dubbing for children, it must be taken into account that the child's way of speaking and acting changes from one culture to another, and the animated scenes must be adapted accordingly (De los Reyes Lozano, 2017). Some animated products may be redubbed after a time-lapse in an attempt to accommodate the values inscribed in any previous versions to fit the perceived cultural needs of the target community.
Over the years, the Arab world has been experiencing a considerable flood of international media and entertainment, including well-known anime shows. Among those animes is the Japanese series Detective Conan, which soon became very popular and witnessed tremendous success. Arab children were initially exposed to Detective Conan's intriguing plot and endearing characters in 1998 when it was first dubbed and broadcast in the region. But in 2013, a redubbed Islamic version of Detective Conan was made available to align the material with Islamic beliefs. This redubbed version avoided any references to music, ladies, or romance because these subjects are viewed as delicate in some interpretations of Islamic culture. Instead, the new redubbed version sought to impart Islamic principles and morality. Examining redubbing in the Arab world is necessary, given the importance of media and entertainment in influencing society's values and forming cultural narratives. By focusing on the particular case of Detective Conan, this study adds to the body of existing literature. The study investigates the adjustments made to the redubbed version, such as scene deletions and character name changes. These modifications are a result of efforts to adapt the content to represent Islamic culture and beliefs. For measuring the efficiency of the redubbing process and its impact on audience engagement, it is essential to comprehend the viewers' perspectives and responses to these two versions of Detective Conan. In order to better understand how viewers perceive and react to the changes made in the redubbed Islamic version, this study employs different approaches. It investigates the responses of viewers to a structured open-ended questionnaire to determine the benefits and drawbacks of the re-dub and identify whether they are satisfied and likely to keep watching it. The study mainly answers the following questions:
- What are the differences between the MSA dubbing of Detective Conan and its subsequent Islamic redubbing?
- In terms of script, plot structure, voice quality, and resolution, what are the differences between the original dubbed version of Detective Conan and the redubbed Islamic version compare?
- How have viewers received the redubbed version of Detective Conan?
- Which version of Detective Conan do viewers prefer, and how does this preference connect to the technical features and perceived exaggeration?
- How do viewers' opinions about the changes made to the redubbed version of Detective Conan affect their opinions of the show and attitudes?
The study on the contrast between the two Detective Conan Arabic dubs may hold a lot of expectations and provide useful information to many stakeholders. It intends to add to the body of knowledge on audience reception, cultural adaptation, and localization of media. It offers a sophisticated perspective of how redubbing procedures affect viewer perceptions, preferences, and involvement by looking at the case of Detective Conan. By providing empirical support and insights into the dynamics of cultural context-specific adaptation of foreign content, the study's findings can benefit the fields of media studies, cultural studies, and communication. Those working in the media sector who are responsible for localizing and adapting content for the Arab world may find the study's conclusions helpful. Making decisions about upcoming adaptations can be influenced by how viewers react to the adjustments made in Detective Conan, which has been redubbed in Arabic. This study can also be useful to content distributors and broadcasters as it helps them make good choices about the content they decide to air and how it should be modified to comply with cultural and religious requirements. This study sets the path for more analysis of the redubbing phenomenon in the Arab world.
The expectations for this study, in short, center on its potential for scholarly contribution, usefulness to members of the media industry and content distributors, relevance to viewers and audiences, and potential for igniting additional redubbing research. By meeting these demands, the study hopes to improve public comprehension of localization procedures, cultural adaptation, and audience response in the context of the media landscape in the Arab world.
Audiovisual translation (AVT) is a type of translation that involves the intralingual or interlingual transfer of audiovisual texts. AVT entails localizing audiovisual media content using several translation procedures that vary from one another in terms of the language output and techniques applied (Díaz-Cintas, 2019). AVT modes have been categorized by Gambier (2013) based on the relationship between the source and target languages. This classification divides various types of audiovisual translation into two categories, namely translation between codes within the same language and translation between languages. AVT types that fall under the two categories can be intra- or interlingual. Different modes can be included within the first group, namely intralingual subtitling, live subtitling, audio description (AD), and audio subtitling. Under the second group, i.e., between languages, different types of AVT can be included, namely scenario translation, interlingual subtitling, dubbing, free commentary, interpreting, voiceover or 'half dubbing,' and surtitling. Díaz-Cintas & Remael (2014), however, recognize two major subgroups: subtitling, which involves the replacement of the dialogue exchanges uttered by speakers with written texts, and revoicing, in which the oral output of the original production is replaced by a new version in the target language ). Revoicing is further categorized into some prominent practices, including dubbing which is further discussed in the next sections.
Dubbing is an AVT form that involves "the replacement of the original speech by a voice track which attempts to follow as closely as possible the timing, phrasing and lip movements of the original dialogue" (Luyken & Herbst, 1991: 144). It aims at making the AV material accessible to the audience by having the characters on the screen share the same language as the viewers. To achieve this, three main synchronies are at play (Chaume, 2020). Lip-synchrony ensures that the TL sound fits into the onscreen character's mouth, especially when they are shown in close-up. Kinetic synchronization ensures that the voices selected for the new recording do not conflict with the personalities and physical characteristics of the characters by relating the translated dialogue to the actors' performances. Because the target lines can fit in between the opening and closing of the character's mouth, isochrony takes care of the duration of the source text utterances in the target text.
Dubbing is very expensive and takes much more time and effort to realize when compared to other AVT modes, such as subtitling. Also, there is always an inevitable loss of the original soundtrack, and the audience is not given a chance to listen to the foreign language. More importantly, dubbed materials are mostly "associated with ideology and censorship as well as with other kinds of 'undetectable textual manipulation'" (O’Connell, 2007: 126). When the source audio track is replaced with the target one, the translator is given the opportunity to make intentional and unintentional alterations and modifications to ensure that the new version fits particular cultural, ideological, or religious contexts. Due to the ability to preserve cultural values and language, dubbing is sometimes favored for identity, culture, and religious reasons. It is crucial to critically evaluate and take into account the implications of dubbing in relation to the intended messages, cultural norms, and possible changes in meaning that could take place throughout the process.
Dubbing of Animated Films and Series
Animated movies and series have a significant role in child development and education. They learn everything that they come across, and their ability to learn improves when they are having fun. Children learn practical knowledge in addition to values, morals, and how to deal with certain issues that they may encounter during their lives. Being an effective teaching medium, animations are made accessible to children all over the world through translation. Most countries choose dubbing over subtitling, especially when targeting children, because they, in general, have not developed their reading skills as fully as adults and cannot direct their attention to the subtitles all through the entire movie. Children are more attracted to the moving pictures, colors, and shapes, as well as the characters' gestures, rather than the text below (Chaume, 2020).
AVT products enrich children's cultural systems taking into account that the way of speaking, thinking, and acting varies from one culture to another. Taking this into account, when translating for children, the target texts could be manipulated by changing, deleting, or adding in order to bring it to the level of children's ability of comprehension (De los Reyes Lozano, 2017). Therefore, translators need to make decisions about vocabulary and decide if cultural references should be naturalized without ignoring the intersection of images, words, and even sounds, which are all distinctive in children's texts. Thus, dubbers should be creative and need to adapt the text to the dialogues so that it sounds natural to local ears (De los Reyes Lozano, 2017).
Children are part of a protected audience, which necessitates that some scenes be toned down. This kind of adaptation may involve colloquial expressions and charatronyms, but sometimes it concerns the message itself. Cultures have different morals and values, and parents may not wish for their children to watch and learn inappropriate material. This represents a serious challenge for the translator, who needs to keep the story coherent even with the edited elements. What parts to be modified are left for the translators, who have to judge for themselves based on their own perceptions of what is appropriate for children (Tinland, 2017).
The term redubbing, when applied to AV texts, is defined as "a second or subsequent version of the same audiovisual product in the same target language"(Zanotti, 2015: 2). Chaume (2007) introduces several factors that motivate TV channels to redub certain works, including the linguistic aging of the old version, a damaged soundtrack, and a lack of awareness of an existing dubbed version. Moreover, redubbing offers the opportunity to restore the original work's integrity and meaning that were lost through the censorial interventions practiced in previous dubbing (Zanotti, 2015). From another perspective, redubbing may be intended to distance the target text further away from the source culture than the first dubbing. It may also be regarded as a result of shifted needs and changed perceptions in the target culture.
Based on the type of changes implemented, Zanotti (2015) classifies redubbing into revoicing, revision, and retranslation. Revoicing is a restaging of an existing script which normally involves changes in the language style, dubbing actors' interpretation, and voice quality rather than content. Revision "involves making changes, [either mild or extensive], to an existing TT whilst keeping the major part, including the overall structure and tone of the former version" (Vanderschelden, 2000: 1). This is regarded as a cost-effective strategy as reproducing an existing script reduces production time and cost. As for retranslation, it happens when the source text is retranslated, and a new recording is required for the dubbing script. This is meant "to make up for gaps when new footage is added, but also to update dialogue and offer a fresh look on a popular film, or simply to present the product as new" (Zanotti, 2015: 12).
Attitudes towards redubbing AV content may vary for different reasons. The audience may prefer watching the dubbed version that was completed when the original product was released rather than the one that sounds more modern (Chaume, 2018). Paolinelli (2004) associates redubbing with poor quality. Moreover, Zanotti (2015) states that retranslations tend to be either neglected or received most of the time negatively.
However, Zanotti (2015) argues that redubbing is not always associated with low quality as there are some other factors that may lead to such a process, including technical and commercial considerations. In the Arabic-speaking market, re-dubbings may be instigated by the nature of the language variety used for the first dubbing, which seems to go against the preferences of some audiences.
Dubbing and redubbing have attracted the attention of scholars in the Arab world in recent years. Di Giovanni (2016) investigated the Egyptian dubbed version and Al Jazeera's MSA redubbing of the English TV series Aladdin to unveil the social, political, and ideological implications. A comparative analysis proved that there was the systemic deletion of the word love in the MSA redub, which was replaced with words that show suppressed emotions. Any reference to dancing was also deleted, as it is considered an undesirable activity according to Islamic beliefs. The study concluded that dubbing is still practiced as a manipulative process in the wake of cultural, political, and religious agendas.
Likewise, Yahiaoui (2016) investigated the ideological constraints in dubbing The Simpsons into Arabic. Examples were collected and classified into three categories: religion, extrinsic factors, and intrinsic factors. The findings revealed that many religious references, such as pork and alcohol, were adapted or completely omitted. Regarding extrinsic and intrinsic factors, the translator's bias toward employing local cultural references was obvious. Subjects that are deemed contrary to the Islamic teachings and cultural taboos of Arab society, including gambling, disrespect to parents and elders, and flirting with girlfriends, were mostly adapted. However, some examples kept their literal translation which may be instigated by the translator's liberal outlook and call for a moralistic approach.
In another study, Yahiaoui and Al-Adwan (2020) examined the way extralinguistic elements were dealt with in dubbing The Simpsons into Arabic by drawing on Nida's notion of equivalence. The study found that there were a number of constraints the translator had to deal with, including puns, idioms, local and newly coined expressions, and, most importantly, rude language. References to profanity or demeaning behaviors were eliminated, and disrespect of parents or elders was replaced with a softer tone since Islam calls for utmost respect and reverence to this group.
In the same token, AlSuhaim (2022) investigated the non-obligatory shifts used in three MSA-dubbed English Disney animated films. The study examined examples of alterations with the original decisions in the English versions of the chosen movies. The study found a connection between the target culture's sociocultural, ideological, and linguistic norms and the optional adjustments used during dubbing. Open references to actions of love and kissing between a man and a woman were removed in order to safeguard children's Islamic beliefs because they go against fundamental tenets of Islam. Acts such as magic, betting, and gambling were avoided completely as they were prohibited in Muslim communities. Likewise, swearwords, offensive words, and phrases with bullying content were replaced with more appropriate equivalents.
In the same vein, Aljuied (2021) examined the translation of wordplay in Disney animated films that were dubbed into Egyptian Arabic and then redubbed into Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). The analysis of the data revealed that the primary factor influencing the majority of the tactics employed in the process of dubbing wordplay into Egyptian Arabic is the need to keep the target dialogue's comedic effect. The number of puns that were transferred from the original films to the MSA dubbed versions, however, significantly decreased. The MSA redub substituted terms emphasizing friendship or marriage for emotional vocabulary that expressed love and physical attraction. In some cases, the scenes were omitted altogether.
Despite several studies addressing the phenomenon of dubbing in the Arab world, little attention has been paid to redubbing in the recently published articles. Therefore, this study adds to the existing body of literature in that it investigates the differences between the dubbed and redubbed versions of Detective Conan and explores how viewers received them.
This study uses a combination of approaches. In the former approach, a comparative analysis is conducted to spot the differences between the dubbing of Detective Conan and its subsequent Islamic redubbing. In the latter approach, the researchers analyze the responses of 178 viewers to a structured open-ended questionnaire, which comprises three constructs: (1) technical aspects, (2) values and morals, and (3) attitude.
Why Detective Conan?
Detective Conan is a Japanese anime series that was first released in 1996 and dubbed in the Arab world in 1998. The first episode of the Detective Conan anime was aired on Spacetoon on March 31st, 2000, after being initially dubbed in the Arab World in 1998 and shown on Qatar TV. Venus Centre (Markaz Az-Zuhra), the most well-known anime dubbing center in the area, has been responsible for the series dubbing. One of the highest-rated anime series of all time, the Detective Conan series has gained significant popularity throughout the Arab world. By November 2014, more than 400 episodes had been dubbed. This first Arabic dub was censored by removing excessive gore and creatively replacing some problematic words for the target audience, such as drinks for alcoholic beverages and fiancé for boyfriend. Later, the series was redubbed, and the whole plot was replaced with ultra-conservative religious preaching, which was also heavily edited to remove all references to adult women, Japanese names, and music. Despite being wholly distinct from the main dubbed version, the religious dub generated criticism.
In Detective Conan Animation, a number of viewpoints, including linguistic, cultural, and social, are worthy of examination. From a linguistic perspective, the ways in which language is utilized to depict various characters, develop power dynamics, express cultural nuances, or reflect societal hierarchies deserve investigation. Studying dubbing and redubbing of the animation can shed light on the difficulties of maintaining linguistic aspects while communicating across languages and cultural boundaries, as well as cross-cultural communication. Detective Conan has a strong cultural or culturally diverse foundation. Examining the cartoon from a cultural standpoint entail looking into the principles, outlooks, practices, and traditions portrayed in the show. Researchers can learn more about the cultural setting in which the story takes place by looking at the symbols, rituals, cultural references, and societal institutions depicted in the animation. By revealing how the animation reflects or contradicts cultural norms, stereotypes, or ideologies, the analysis can further explore issues on cultural representation, identity, and diversity. Topics like gender, race, justice, morality, and interpersonal relationships may be examined. Researchers can determine the social commentary of the animation, its potential audience impact, and its applicability to current societal issues by examining how these themes are presented, questioned, or subverted. In Detective Conan, the intricate interactions between language, culture, and society can be better understood by looking at animation from linguistic, cultural, and social perspectives.
Data Analysis Approaches
To investigate the source of IC, a two-section questionnaire was created and distributed online. Below is an outline of this two-section questionnaire:
There are a number of aspects to take into account when evaluating dubbed and redubbed materials. In this study, we adopt a hybrid theoretical framework that is derived from different studies on dubbing (Abulawi et al., 2022; Baños & Díaz-Cintas, 2017; Chaume, 2004; Chaume, 2020; Díaz-Cintas & Orero, 2010; Yahiaoui, 2016). The language accuracy of the speech that has been produced is a crucial consideration. While considering the target audience's cultural and linguistic quirks, the dialogue should accurately reflect the original content and convey the intended meaning. The use of proper grammar, vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and register is necessary. Second, timing and lip-syncing. When dubbing, the dialogue is timed to coincide with the original characters' lip movements. When considering the natural flow of speech, the translation technique should prioritize keeping lip-sync as closely as possible. Timing, rhythm, and pauses must be carefully considered for effective dubbing. Third, cultural adaptation, where the text should be changed to take cultural norms, values, and sensibilities into account. Other crucial aspects of dubbing include the voice of the actors, which should portray the personalities, sentiments, and traits of the characters. The voices should be the same throughout the entire series and suitable for the target audience. Additionally, the translation must account for the need for localization by adapting cultural allusions, names, and idioms to suit the intended audience better. It is of great importance to modify and customize the framework to meet the particular needs of the dubbing task.
The focus is not only on the verbal cues but also on the non-verbal elements and the interplay between the verbal, para-verbal, and non-verbal signs. Verbal cues are the words, expressions, and terminology that voice actors use when speaking aloud. The plot, character development, and overall storytelling are all supported by these hints. The quality, intelligibility, and synchronization of the dubbed voices can provide information about the experience and reaction of the audience to the content. A few examples of paralinguistic cues are voice inflection, pitch, loudness, and rhythm. These cues are crucial for conveying the emotions, intensity, and intricacy of the dialogue. By observing the para-verbal cues in the dubbed versions of Detective Conan, you can assess how well voice acting achieves the required emotional nuances and promotes viewer engagement. Non-verbal cues used in conjunction with speech include gestures, body language, facial expressions, and other visual clues. These cues have an impact on character portrayal, nonverbal cues, and the visual appeal of the series as a whole. It is possible to assess how successfully the non-verbal cues in the dubbed versions convey the intended words and feelings by comparing them to the verbal and para-verbal parts. By considering the interaction between these three various types of cues, one can gain an understanding of the complex dynamics affecting viewer perceptions and reactions. Viewers' interactions with and comprehension of the content are influenced by the interaction and coordination of verbal, paraverbal, and nonverbal clues. To address this interaction, it is possible to combine qualitative and quantitative analysis using tools like content analysis, observational methods, and audience feedback. By considering the full spectrum of signs, one can develop a broad understanding of how viewers perceive and respond to Detective Conan dubs. The knowledge of the localization and adaption processes will be significantly improved by this. The analysis of dubbed content must, therefore, acknowledge the interplay between verbal, paraverbal, and nonverbal clues. This comprehensive approach enhances the analysis's breadth, allows for a more complex evaluation of the viewpoints of the audience, and provides useful information about how audience members interact with the material.
In sum, a thorough framework based on these factors will guarantee linguistic precision, cultural adaptability, successful voice casting, and viewer pleasure. For the purpose of this study, a comparative analysis was held between the episodes of the first dub and its subsequent religious redub to spot the differences between the two versions.
In this part, a structured questionnaire was developed and designed using Microsoft Forms. The questionnaire aims to elicit the viewers' reactions to the redubbed version of Conan when compared with the first dubbed version.
The questionnaire consisted of three open-ended questions as follows:
- Please list the technical differences between the two versions of Conan.'
- Please list the differences between the two versions of Conan in terms of morals and value systems.
- What is your attitude concerning the redubbed version of Conan?
Based on the overarching issue they covered, similar responses were grouped into thematic categories. For instance, the theme group "Technical Issues" included both voice quality and visual quality. Frequencies and percentages were derived using the survey data.
The data of this study is derived from the responses of 178 viewers. To reach a large audience, an online survey was used. The survey was advertised on social media sites, online forums, and other places where potential series fans would congregate. The researchers shared two links to the same episode of Conan (the original dubbed version and the redubbed one) with their colleagues, students, and friends via email and WhatsApp. They were asked to watch the two episodes and then fill in the electronic questionnaire. The snowball technique was used as the participants were requested to forward the two links and the questionnaire to their acquaintances. In other words, the researchers started with a small group of people who had watched both versions of Detective Conan. They were asked to spread the word about the survey and research recruiting among their networks, in particular to those who fit the requirements and meet the criteria.
The responses of the first 20 participants were used for piloting and were not used in the analysis of the present study. It is important to note that the questionnaire was distributed in Arabic, which is Jordan's official language. A skilled translator who is proficient in both languages translated the instrument from Arabic into English. A procedure of verification was carried out by a bilingual expert who is fluent in both English and Arabic to confirm the correctness and quality of the translation. The questionnaire is given a thorough evaluation to make sure the Arabic version accurately reflects the original instrument's intended meaning.
Findings and Discussion
Content Analysis for the Dubbed and Redubbed Versions of Conan
Transferring audiovisual material into religious content necessitates changing some events or perhaps deleting some scenes to avoid whatever seems inappropriate in the Islamic culture. In this study, the differences were then classified thematically into categories and analyzed accordingly. These include change of proper names, change of prohibited or discouraged practices in Islam (activities, way of dressing, gender intermixing), and incorporating Islamic expressions and sayings (quotations from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, Islamic greetings, prayers, expressions glorifying Allah). For space constraints, a few examples are discussed to clarify the points under each category.
Change of Proper Names
Although the first dub of Conan kept most of the names as in the Japanese version, the Islamic redub changed some names to make them sound more like Arabic names, as demonstrated in Table (1).
|No.||First Dub||Islamic Redub|
|Arabic||English Translation||Arabic||English Translation|
|1||أين يومي؟||Where is Yomi?||أين خولة؟||Where is Khawlah?|
|2||العم توجو موري؟||Uncle Togo Mori?||العم طارق؟||Uncle Tariq?|
Examples (1) and (2) show how names were changed to suit the Islamic version of the series. Choosing the names Khawlah and Tariq may have significance as they refer to prominent figures in Islamic history. Khawlah is the name of women who lived during the life of Prophet Muhammad, the most prominent of which are Khawlah bint Al-Azwar and Khawla bint Tha'labah. The former was one of the greatest female soldiers, and the latter was honored in the Holy Qur'an with a chapter that relates her story with her husband. In Example (1), the name Tariq replaces Togo Mori, which is also a name of public figures such as Tariq bin Ziyad, who led the Muslim conquest of Spain. Tariq is a popular name in the Muslim and Arab worlds. It has Arabic roots and is a derivative of a term that means "path" or "way." The famous military leader Tariq ibn Ziyad, who led the Islamic conquest of Spain, has an important historical and cultural tie with the name. In addition to its historical significance, Tariq is still a well-liked Muslim name and was chosen here because of its positive connotations and emphasis on choosing the correct path. Changing names may help consolidate Muslim names in children's minds and make them recall the Islamic culture whenever they hear the names of these characters. The translation strategy of naturalization is used in translating names in Table 1. The strategy entails changing the name to one that is understood and often used in the target language and sound known and natural to speakers of that language. Personal names are very important to people and their cultural identities. Therefore, it is crucial to respect the preferences and cultural concerns of the parties involved when translating or modifying names to make sure that any alterations are reasonable and acceptable within the particular context.
Change of Prohibited or Discouraged Practices in Islam
Muslims who are devoted to their faith choose to abstain from activities that are known to be forbidden or discouraged in Islam. In the Islamic redub of Detective Conan, any reference to such activities was changed to fit better into the Islamic culture.
Table (2) includes examples of activities that were changed to represent good examples for Muslim children.
|No.||First Dub||Islamic Redub|
|Arabic||Back Translation||Arabic||Back Translation|
|3||توجو يخبر رجل الإسعاف: معي بطاقة للحفلة الموسيقية!||Togo tells the paramedic:I have a ticket for the concert!||طارق يخبر رجل الإسعاف معي بطاقة لحضور مؤتمر المتحرين الخاصين!||Tariq tells the paramedic: I have a ticket to attend the special detective conference!|
|4||يسأل رجل عن حفيدته: أين يومي؟ يخبره ابنه: ذهبت للتزلج مع صديقتها.||A man asks about his granddaughter, saying:Where is Yomi?The son says:She went skiing with her friend.||يسأل رجل عن حفيدته: أين خولة؟يخبره ابنه: لقد بقيت في المنزل لمساعدة أمها.||A man asks about his granddaughter, saying:Where is Khawlah?The son says:She stayed home to help her mom.|
Example (3) includes a reference to a concert that Togo Mori planned to attend. However, practices such as dancing, singing, playing instruments, and listening to music are deemed immoral by Islamic law (Harris, 2000). For this, the word concert was replaced with the special detective conference to comply with the religious context of the new redub. This is consistent with what has been found in previous studies that forbidden acts are mostly deleted or adapted with respect to Islamic values (Giovanni, 2016; Yahiaoui, 2016; Yahiaoui & Al-Adwan, 2020; AlSuhaim, 2020).
Similarly, in Example (4), the son's reply she went skiing with her friend was substituted with she stayed home to help her mom. This reflects Islamic behaviors that are recommended to adopt. First, females are advised to stay home, but it is permissible for them to leave in order to study, work or fulfill other needs (Al-Haj, 2015). Therefore, going out with a friend contradicts the Islamic rules that are meant to ensure females' full protection. Moreover, many verses of the Qur'an stressed the importance of duty, kindness, and gratitude towards parents, especially mothers, who were singled out for the utmost respect and devotion. Therefore, using it to help her mother confirms that Muslims should treat their mothers with affection and gentleness and help them whenever they need it. Similar conclusions were reached by Yahiaoui (2016) and Yahiaoui and Al-Adwan (2020), wherein disrespect to parents and elders was often replaced with attitudes that go in line with Islamic teachings. Although children may be encouraged to follow these practices, they seem to change the course of events in some episodes. In some cases, it becomes harder to follow what comes next as omissions may interrupt the smooth sequence of the scenes.
Way of Dressing
Islam has specified the dress code for both men and women in terms of clothing and accessories. It is mandatory for men to cover their bodies between the navel and the knee, while women need to cover their entire body except for the face and hands (Mustafa et al., 2018). In the Islamic redub of Detective Conan, some scenes were partially cropped or wholly deleted as they violate laws of the dress code that men and women have to adhere to, as shown in Screenshot 1 and exemplified in Table (3).
|No.||First Dub||Islamic Redub|
|5||A lady in a skirt, the detective's daughter, wakes him up.||Scene deleted|
|6||A lady in a skirt is talking to a little boy near Togo's room in the hospital.||Scene deleted|
|7||The detective appears in the ambulance wearing shorts with his legs naked||Only the lower part of the legs is shown|
In Example (5), the young lady who appears in the scene is the detective's daughter, while in Example (6), there is a female stranger who has an essential role in the events of the episode. The two scenes were deleted as they seem to violate Islamic laws in terms of the dress code that women have to adhere to. The females in these scenes wore knee-length skirts with no hijab, which goes against the aim of religious redubbing. It must be noted, however, that the deleted scenes seem important for the overall understanding of the progress of events. Such omissions may represent a missing link between one event and what follows and hinder the viewers' perception of the upcoming scenes.
Dressing norms are not restricted to women. Male characters are also affected by the deletion of scenes but to a lesser degree. In Example (7), the detective appears wearing shorts with most of his legs naked. Since this includes body parts that are supposed to be covered for men in line with Islamic rules, the scene is cropped to allow only the lower part of the legs to show to the viewers. This may enhance the method and manner of dressing for children. Unlike the scenes including women, the cropped part of the scene does not seem to influence the sequence of events.
Islamic laws regulate the relationship between the two sexes by imposing restrictions on the intermixing of genders. Most scholars prohibited intermixing, although some provided evidence from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah that allows intermixing when there is no seclusion (one man and one woman alone together) (Al-Haj, 2015). Table (4) includes examples that demonstrate the allowed relationships between genders in the Islamic context.
|8||The little girl who accompanies Conan most of the time is a friend.||The little girl who accompanies Conan most of the time is his sister.|
|9||Scenes of men talking to women||All scenes deleted|
Examples (8) and (9) demonstrate that relationships between males and females are disliked in accordance with Islamic laws. The role of a girlfriend is replaced with a sister in the religious redubbing of Conan to stress that gender interaction has been restricted since childhood. In addition, all scenes of interactions between men and women were omitted, although in some cases, they were important for linking events together. Regulating relations between genders was also emphasized in previous studies, such as Aljuied (2021), who found that love relations were replaced with friendship or marital relationships, and Yahiaoui (2016) who revealed that scenes of males having girlfriends were avoided as they contradict the values of the Islamic religion.
Incorporating Islamic Expressions and Sayings
There are some Arabic expressions that are used frequently by Muslims in everyday life. These include quotations from the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah, prayers, or expressions glorifying Allah.
Quotations from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah
Muslims recite Quranic verses and sayings from Sunnah on many occasions. They often do so to prove a point or do things with intellectual or spiritual back-up or explanation. Additionally, all manners of conduct, including eating, sleeping, cleanliness, financial dealings, and treatment of parents, family, and neighbors, have guidelines in Islam. Therefore, it is very hard for Muslims to talk outside the scope of their faith without bringing up a reference from a reliable source, namely, Qur'an or Sunnah when dealing with life issues. For this reason, it was necessary for the Islamic redubbing of Detective Conan to incorporate verses from the Holy Qur'an and sayings from Sunnah in the dialogues, as shown in Table (5).
|No.||First Dub||Islamic Redub|
|Arabic||English Translation||Arabic||English Translation|
|10||الابن: أما زال ظهرك يؤلمك يا أبي؟الأب: إنه يزول مع الأيام ولكني أظن أن مرض انزلاق فقرات الظهر مرض لا يزول لمن كان في سني.||Son: Does your back still hurt, Dad?Father: It will go away with the days, but I think that the Spinal disc herniation is not cured for those at my age.||الابن: كيف حالك يا أبي؟الأب: بخير والحمدلله يا معروف. ولكن أنت تعلم إني مصاب بداء السكري ولن أشفى منه بسهولة.الابن: ستشفى بإذن الله. "وإذا مرضت فهو يشفين".||Son: How are you, Dad?Father: I'm fine, thank God, you know. But you know I have diabetes, and I won't get rid of it easily.Son: You will recover, God willing. "And when I am sick, then He restores me to health."|
|11||الطفلة الصغيرة تخبر توجو موري عند زيارته في المشفى: سنذهب إلى المتنزه لنتعلم كرة القدم.||The little girl told Togo Mori when they visited him in the hospital: We are going to the park to learn football.||الطفلة الصغيرة تخبر العم طارق عند زيارته في المشفى: عيادة المريض سنة دعانا إليها نبينا الكريم.||The little girl told Uncle Tariq when they visited him in the hospital: Visiting the patient is a habitual practice that our Prophet taught us to do.|
|12||يخبر رجل الإسعاف توجو موري: لعلك لم تدرك أنك في سيارة اسعاف ولست في سيارة أجرة.||Paramedic tells Togo Mori: You probably didn't realize that you were in an ambulance and not in a taxi.||يخبر رجل الإسعاف العم طارق: سلامتك هي الأهم. فلجسدك عليك حق.||Paramedic tells Uncle Tariq: Your safety is the most important thing. Your body has a right to you.|
In Example (10), the disease was changed into diabetes as it is very common in the Arab world and may be easier for children to know. In the first dub, the father seems certain about the impossibility of getting cured, while in the Islamic redub, the sentence seems more hopeful as it indicates a possibility of overcoming the disease, although there is a difficulty. This possibility is supported by the Qur'anic verse, which emphasizes that Allah is the only one able to cure people when they get sick. It must be noted that this verse is added to the dialogue and does not have an equivalent in the first dub. This addition prolongs the duration the character needs to finish his turn, which affects the lip and scene-dialogue synchronizations. In Example (11), there is a reference to a practice that Prophet Muhammed called on Muslims to do, which is visiting the sick. In the first dub, this practice seems to be a secondary priority which the kids did only because they were going to the park to learn football and got to pass by the hospital where Togo Mori was staying. Moreover, Islam gave elders a special status where Muslims are urged to respect and honor them. For this, the impolite utterance made by the little girl was replaced with a more appropriate one that goes in line with Islamic teachings in terms of visiting the sick and respecting the old. This is in accordance with Yahiaoui (2016) and Yahiaoui and Al-Adwan (2020), whose findings demonstrated that all expressions showing disrespect to elders were substituted with more suitable alternatives. Example (12) also includes a phrase that is taken from a longer saying by Prophet Muhammed. It advises people to take care of their bodies to ensure their well-being. This positive remark replaced the sentence said by the paramedic, which seemed to ridicule the detective. Islam advised people to respect and not mock or despise each other. Therefore, it was necessary to substitute the paramedic's utterance with something more respectful in accordance with Islamic laws. This result ties well with the previous study conducted by AlSuhaim (2022), wherein phrases with bullying content were replaced with more appropriate equivalents as they do not match the Islamic standards.
The changes in the dubbed and even redubbed versions may have some consequences. The coherence of the dialogue and story might be affected by changes to utterances and deletions. The intended message, the dynamics of the characters, and the connections can all be changed by making major changes to the language. The audience's overall comprehension and enjoyment of the story may be impacted by these modifications. The coherence of the series may be hampered by dialogue inconsistencies. The order of events and the narrative structure can also be altered by changing the language or removing particular scenes. It could cause storyline gaps or inconsistencies that make it challenging for viewers to follow the plot. Changes in the music can also influence the scenes' emotional tone or mood, which may have an impact on how the viewer interprets the course of events. Changes are frequently made to the series during dubbing and redubbing in order to fit it to the target culture. These adaptations can lead to changes to the original plot or characters, even though their goal is to make the information more accessible and understandable for the intended audience. It is crucial to keep in mind that the degree and impact of these alterations can fluctuate based on the precise dubbing procedure, the level of competence of the translators and dubbing crew, and the cultural norms and preferences of the target audience. Striking a balance between preserving the coherence and integrity of the original content and making it understandable and culturally relevant for the new audience is the main objective. However, it is unavoidable that certain changes will, in some way, alter the coherence and order of the occurrences.
As-Salamu Alaikum (Peace be upon you) is a common greeting among Muslims. It is often used when arriving at or leaving a gathering. In Detective Conan, greetings were slightly used, and this necessitated adding Islamic greetings where needed in the redub, as seen in Table (6).
|No.||First Dub||Islamic Redub|
|Arabic||English Translation||Arabic||English Translation|
|13||يدخل الابن إلى الغرفة في المشفى فيقول والده:ولدي يوشينو. أتيت أخيرا.||The son enters the room in the hospital, and his father says:My son Yoshino. You finally came.||يدخل الابن إلى الغرفة في المشفى قائلا: السلام عليكم.يرد الجميع: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته.||The son enters the room in the hospital, saying: Peace be upon you.Everyone responds: May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you.|
|14||في غرفة المشفى، يقول أحد الأطفال لتوجو موري:كيف سقطت عن السلم يا عم توجو؟ ألم تنتبه؟||In the hospital room, a child says to Togo Mori:How did you fall off the ladder, Uncle Togo? Weren't you care?||في غرفة المشفى، يقول أحد الأطفال للعم طارق:السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته.||In the hospital room, a child says to uncle Tariq:Peace, mercy, and blessings of God.|
In the first dub, greetings are rarely used, even when people arrive at or leave a place, as seen in Table (6). However, in the Islamic redub, much attention is paid to greetings, and some utterances were replaced with As-Salamu Alaikum (Peace be upon you) to stress the importance of this behavior among Muslims. In Example (13), the speaker in the scene is the father, who expresses his surprise at seeing his son. Since Islam advises Muslims to greet people upon arriving at a gathering, the speaker in the Islamic redub was changed to be the son. Similarly, people have to reply to a greeting with one of equal or greater value, and this explains the addition of "May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you," said by everyone present in the scene. Since this addition has no equivalent in the first dub, the utterance does not seem well-synchronized with the scene. In Example (14), the child enters the hospital room inquiring about the accident that had Togo Mori admitted to the hospital. This was also replaced with the Islamic greeting.
Prayers (Dua') are an essential component of Islam. It is a way Muslims become closer to Allah, acknowledging that He alone can grant them their wishes, in addition to recognizing their shortcomings. People invoke Allah on different occasions, among which is getting ill. They seek medical attention, but most importantly, they make supplications to Allah to help with their recovery. In the Islamic redub of Detective Conan, there were many prayers in the new dialogues, as shown in Table (7).
|No.||First Dub||Islamic Redub|
|Arabic||English Translation||Arabic||English Translation|
|15||يبدأ المشهد برجل الإسعاف الذي يبقى صامتا في البداية||The paramedic says nothing in the beginning of the ambulance scene||يبدأ المشهد برجل الإسعاف قائلا: معافى بإذن الله||The scene begins with the paramedic saying: May Allah grant you good health.|
|16||يسأل أحد الأطفال:كيف سنعرف رقم غرفة العم توجو موري؟||One of the kids asks:How would we know the room number of Uncle Togo Mori?||يسأل أحد الأطفال:كيف سنعرف رقم غرفة العم طارق شافاه الله؟||One of the children asks:How would we know the room number of Uncle Tariq? May Allah grant him a full recovery.|
In Example (15), the paramedic said nothing at the beginning of the scene in the first dub. However, a prayer was added in the Islamic redub asking Allah to grant Uncle Tariq good health. Likewise, in Example (16), a kid was asking about the room of Togo Mori, which was rendered the same in the Islamic redub, but a prayer was added, wishing Uncle Tariq a full recovery. Getting children to hear prayers at an early age may assist them in understanding, learning, memorizing, and reciting various supplications for use in daily life and other contexts.
Expressions Glorifying Allah
Muslims have to glorify and express their gratitude to Allah throughout the day, as it strengthens their faith and helps them attain complete submission to His will. Table (8) includes examples where glorification phrases were added in the Islamic redub of Detective Conan.
|No.||First Dub||Islamic Redub|
|Arabic||English Translation||Arabic||English Translation|
|17||يخبر كونان الأطفال الآخرين برقم الغرفة التي يوجد بها المحقق. يقول الفتى:هيا إليهيجيب كونان باستهزاء:متحمس!||Conan tells the other kids the room number where the detective is. The boy says:Let's go!Conan answers mockingly: excited!||يخبر كمال الأطفال الآخرين برقم الغرفة التي يوجد بها المحقق. يقول الفتى:هيا بنا يرد كمال:اتكلنا على الله||Kamal tells the other kids the room number where the detective is. The boy says:Let's go!Kamal answers: We rely on Allah!|
|18||بعد أن أعرب الأب عن افتقاده لحفيدته، يرد الابن: ماذا نفعل يا أبي. لقد أصبحت في سن اللعب!||What can we do, dad! She is at play age!||بعد أن أعرب الأب عن افتقاده لحفيدته، يرد الابن:سآتي بها في المرة المقبلة بإذن الله!||After the father expresses that he misses his granddaughter, the son replies: I will bring her next time, God willing!|
In Example (17), Conan comments sarcastically on his friend's enthusiasm to go to Togo's room in the first dubbed version. However, a phrase was added in the Islamic redub to show that Muslims rely on Allah in all their deeds, no matter how simple they are. The mocking tone was eliminated as it goes against the Islamic rules, which forbid Muslims from ridiculing each other. In Example (18), the son's answer was changed in the Islamic redub, including a common phrase in the Islamic culture that emphasizes that Allah causes everything to happen in the world and nothing happens without His will. Using such expressions may get children accustomed to hearing these expressions and repeating them in daily conversations.
One hundred seventy-eight viewers took part in an electronic survey and provided their responses to the questionnaire. There were 52% females and 48% males among the participants, showing a fairly even gender distribution. The bulk of participants were between the ages of 18 and 25, making up 62% of the sample. With 28% of the participants, the age group from 26 to 35 was the second largest. 34% of viewers had a high school diploma or its equivalent, while 42% had a bachelor's degree. 19% of the population had a master's degree, and 5% had a doctorate or above. These demographic factors give viewers a diversified representation that spans a variety of ages and educational levels, adding to the study's depth and diversity of viewpoints.
The viewers' reception of and reaction to the new redubbed version of Conan are investigated in this section. The researchers examined the participants' responses and categorized them based on the theme they covered.
In this section, the viewers' responses to the question concerning the technical differences between the first dubbed and redubbed versions are discussed. The responses of the viewers to the statement 'Please list the technical differences between the two versions of Conan' were divided into three main categories, namely image resolution (58%), synchrony (23%), and voice quality (19%), as Graph 1 shows.
From the perspectives of 58% of the participants, the image resolution in the original dubbed version is better than that of the redubbed version. 23% of the participants' responses also indicated that synchrony in the original dubbed version is better than that of the redubbed one. In addition, the responses of 19% of the responses emphasized that the voice quality in the original dubbed version is clearer than that in the redubbed (Islamic) version. This replicates the previously reported claim by Paolinelli (2004), which associates redubbing with poor quality.
Morals and Value Systems
In this section, the viewers' responses to the question concerning the presence of values and morals between the first dubbed and redubbed versions are discussed. The responses of the viewers to the statement, 'Please list the differences between the two versions of Conan in terms of morals and value systems’ were divided into three main categories, namely exaggeration in the value system (64%), reflections of Islamic values (19%), and influence on the kids' behaviors (17%), as Graph 2 shows.
Compared to the original dubbed version, 64% of the viewers' responses demonstrated that there was an exaggeration in the value system going to the extreme in the redubbed version of Conan. 19% of the responses showed that redubbed version reflects the values of Arab society more than the original dubbed version. 17% of the participants stated that the values in the redubbed version could influence the kids' behaviors and enhance their belonging to Islam. This was earlier confirmed by Al-Suhaim (2022), who stated that dubbers tend to employ non-obligatory shifts so as to protect the children's Islamic values.
Attitudes & Future Actions
In this section, the viewers' responses to the question concerning the presence of values and morals between the first dubbed and redubbed versions are discussed. The responses of the viewers to the question 'What is your attitude concerning the redubbed version of Conan?' were divided into three main categories, namely engagement (40%), preferences (40%), and recommendations (20%), as Graph 3 shows.
40% of the participants' responses indicated that their experience of watching the original dubbed version of Conan was more engaging than the redubbed one. Most of them preferred the scenes in the original dubbed version to the ones in the redubbed version. 20% of the responses recommended that parents closely censor the materials their kids watch. The participants stated that in the first dub version, the scenes that may violate Arab and Muslim values should be removed to better suit Arab society. This is consistent with Zanotti (2015), who stressed that retranslations tend to be received negatively most often.
Among the animated series that became very popular in the Arab world and was one of the best-ranked products of all time is the Japanese Detective Conan. It was first dubbed in 1998 and was redubbed in 2013 with no music, women, or romance allusions. The dialogue exchanges were rewritten following strict religious sayings to convey Islamic values and incite children to display similar behavioral traits in their daily lives. However, this redub was very different from the first edition. It did not attract wide viewership and remained infamous among the Arabic anime community. More significantly, not everyone received it positively, and some YouTubers posted videos ridiculing the redubbed episodes.
In this study, the researchers combined different approaches to investigate the differences between the Arabic first dubbed and Islamic redubbed versions of the animated series Detective Conan and how viewers received them. In the first part, the researchers categorized the differences into three main categories, namely, change of proper names, change of prohibited or discouraged practices in Islam (activities, way of dressing, gender intermixing), and incorporating Islamic expressions and sayings (quotations from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, greetings, prayers, expressions glorifying Allah). The analysis showed that the first version of Conan kept most of the names as they were in the Japanese version, while the Islamic redub changed some names to make them sound more like Arabic names. The analysis also showed that in the redubbed version, any reference to activities that are known to be forbidden or discouraged in Islam was changed to fit better into the Islamic culture. Some Arabic expressions that are used frequently by Muslims in everyday life, such as quotations from the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah, prayers, or expressions glorifying Allah, are used in the redubbed version of Detective Conan.
The second part of the analysis was based on the responses of 178 participants to a structured questionnaire that had open-ended questions that aimed to elicit the participants' reactions to the differences between the two versions of Detective Conan in terms of the technical aspects, morals, and value systems, in addition to eliciting their attitudes and recommendations concerning the redubbed version. The results showed that the image resolution, voice quality, and synchronization were better in the first dubbed version. The viewers stated that there was an exaggeration of the Islamic values and norms incorporated in the redubbed version, although they agreed that the new version reflects the Islamic Arab culture and may positively influence the kids' behaviors. The participants mentioned that they enjoyed watching the first dub version of Detective Conan more than the redubbed one. They recommended producers to work on one version and remove the utterances that violate Arab and Muslim values and add ones that reinforce them.
In this study, the researchers examined a specific type of data (animation), in two versions (dubbed and redubbed), for a particular animated series (Detective Conan) and used a combination of approaches to answer the research questions. As a result, the current study has a number of limitations. The researchers only investigated one series due to space and time constraints. Further research studies can be conducted on other series. Another limitation is related to the genre and target audience of the investigated series. The type of series is animated and is considered sensitive, as it is mainly addressed to kids. Other researchers can examine other genres and other target groups. This study can be helpful for kids' channels and audiovisual translators, especially those working in the Arab environment. It is recommended that they pay more attention to the Arab Islamic culture without exaggeration. They need to be careful about the programs they select, as some may be more suitable for Islamic teachings than others. Moreover, when there is a good cause behind redubbing a certain program, such as enhancing the Islamic norms among children, the quality of the new version must be equal to or even higher than the first dubbed edition in order to encourage people to watch it.
This study has some implications. First, it highlights the value of redubbing as a technique for modifying foreign or national media to conform to local, cultural, and religious norms. The study provides insight into the viewers' perceptions and preferences regarding the differences in technical quality and content between the two versions by comparing viewer answers. This knowledge can guide future redubbing initiatives in the Arab world or other similar contexts, guiding content producers and policymakers in their selection of adaption tactics. The study also emphasizes how crucial it is to take viewers' tastes and responses into account when modifying media content. The study highlights the importance of technical quality in viewers' enjoyment and engagement by showing that participants preferred the original dubbed version due to clearer voices, better synchronization, and higher image resolution. In addition, the participants' views that the redubbed version was exaggerated and their preference for the original dub shed light on the difficulties and potential drawbacks of adapting content for particular cultural or religious contexts. Practitioners and media producers can create more effective adaptations and prevent unexpected negative effects by having a better understanding of these preferences and challenges.
Acknowledgment Statement: Not applicable
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have influenced the work reported in this study.
Author contribution statements: “Conceptualization, First and Second authors; methodology, second author; formal analysis, first author; writing—original draft preparation, First and Second authors.; writing—review and editing, First and Second authors. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.”.
Funding: This study was funded by the Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission, Ministry of Culture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under [109/2022] as part of the Arabic Observatory of Translation. The Grant number is 109.
Ethical Consideration statement: This study's ethical approval was obtained from the Deanship of Scientific Research at the Applied Science Private University with the approval number (FAS/2021-2022/135) on 28/12/2022.
Data Availability Statement: Available on demand.
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