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dubbing and subtitling
Thread poster: Peppe84
English to Spanish
Apr 3, 2007

Hi, I'm Peppe
I'm doing a survey for my dissertation.I'm a languges student and I would like to have your opinion for my dissertation about dubbing and subtitling what do you think about these translation techniques and why?

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
They are two different techniques Apr 11, 2007


They are two different techniques, and not everyone masters both.

In my personal case, I had been translating for top-quality lip-sync dubbing (training, technical, and corporate video) for almost 18 years before I dared to venture into translation for subtitling. (Yeah, I tried it now and then before, but the results were not good.) At last, some 2 years ago, I made up my mind to learn to do it properly, and have been doing it ever since, even burning the subtitles myself, thanks to the DVD (r)evolution.

Don't get misled into thinking that either one is more difficult than the other. I know colleagues who have been translating for subtitling about as long as I've been doing it for dubbing, but who won't touch a translation for dubbing job.

Some key features are:


- The top priority is lip-sync. If the translated phrase fits, it's okay. But my pet example is "customer needs" in EN, which becomes "necessidades do cliente" in PT. When this happens, you must rebuild the whole phrase to say the same thing, but in a way that the artist (dubber) will be able to synchronize his or her speech to the lip movements of the actor on the screen.

- The original audio won't be there. So you can/have to re-create jokes, word plays etc. Likewise, it MUST make sense!

- Mannerisms, regional accents, etc. are up to the dubbing director. If the translator has a chance to talk with him/her, some guidance will improve results. For instance, once I translated a film where one character had a heavy Italian accent. I coodda ravvee pootah ze Italian at-tchentoe on ze a-scriptee. [Sohree, itchee uarkees bettah for me gwen aye pootchee dzee Brezilian accentchee intoo Eenglish.] But the director said 'no'. The result was that he got a dubber who actually spoke Italian, and this guy did a superb simultaneous interpreting job while dubbing: he said everything in Italian! None of the non-Italian-speaking spectators understood a thing, so his part had to be re-dubbed.


- The top priority is conciseness. You don't want to turn the movie spectator into a reader. So if the character says "I feel compelled to adopt a view similar to yours", and it can be translated into "I tend to agree.", use it!

- The orignal audio will be there. So any bilingual spectator will be tempted to check your work. Watch out!

- There are technical constraints when people talk too much and/or too fast, or when too many talk at the same time. Such situations require prioritizing content on top of summarizing, as spectators won't enjoy flashcard-like subtitles.



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