Poll: As a translator, do you prefer foreign movies to be dubbed or subtitled?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Sep 16, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "As a translator, do you prefer foreign movies to be dubbed or subtitled?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ikram Mahyuddin. View the poll results »



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Katrin Bosse  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:34
Member (2009)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Subtitled in the original language Sep 16, 2016

But when I realise that the subtitles don't really follow or rather deviate from the spoken dialogue completely, I simply switch them off.

Exception to the rule no. 1:
When I don't speak or understand the original language, I prefer English or German subtitles, still no dubbing. Just yesterday, I saw "De rouille et d'os" in French with German subtitles, which served me well, because I realised I had enough French left to be able to follow the story (about 80%).

Exception to the rule no. 2:
When I saw "Rundskop" [Bullhead], the really obscure Limburg dialect of Flemish [the latter of those I can understand perfectly] was spoken so thickly that the Dutch [not Flemish, mind] subtitles were absolutely necessary to understand anything that was being said. (It was interesting to read a Dutch translation while hearing a Flemish dialect. It made me acutely aware of the many differences between these two, well, actually three variants.)

[Bearbeitet am 2016-09-16 08:29 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 01:34
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
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Subtitled in the original language Sep 16, 2016

I just don't like hearing my favorite actors and actresses with a different voice or, even worse, all with the same voice...

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:34
Spanish to English
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Subtitled Sep 16, 2016

Last week I managed to sit through two TV movies in German thanks to the subtitling. A German friend who doesn't often watch TV was visiting me, and we had the option of either the dubbed or original language versions with subtitles. It was good practice for me, as my German is pretty rusty and I rarely get to use it nowadays, and my friend enjoyed relaxing and watching a romantic comedy in her native tongue.

PS: The subtitles were in Spanish.

[Edited at 2016-09-16 08:45 GMT]


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cloudhunter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:34
Member (2016)
English to German
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subtitled Sep 16, 2016

Here in Germany you get everything dubbed, which leads to those surreal situations, in which the Vin Diesel voice also speaks the lovey-dovey Ben Affleck and then Gibbs in NCIS...

But it is still better than having the film spoken by one person (like in Poland) - you hear some of the original voices in the background and then there is just one person reading everything. It hurts one's ears... Two weeks ago I suffered this way watching The Martian. It killed all the funny and dramatic moments.

I like subtitles - I hear the original with their original voices and then can compare.


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:34
Romanian to English
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Subtitled, with a few exceptions Sep 16, 2016

I prefer subtitled movies, but Hungarians are outrageously good in dubbing, so I might watch them just for the flavor they add.
Sometimes they are even better than the originals, including many Disney movies.
A special favorite of mine is what they did with The Visitors / Les Visiteurs, a French trilogy featuring Jean Reno - even the translation of the title is more brilliant than the original.


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Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:34
Member (2015)
German to English


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Subtitled Sep 16, 2016

Also because the sound quality is often so poor it's difficult to make out the dialogue.

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Chie. I  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 09:34
Partial member (2013)
English to Japanese
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Dubbed because of subtitle oligopoly Sep 16, 2016

One of the leading subtitle translator, she has gone through a hardship to get the business of subtitle from early years (this is something we are "supposed to" appreciate greatly ) and a good friend of actor Tom Cruise, now very famous for mistranslation. She could not make a living on subtitling and has the habit of shotgun job with such quality even today. Everyone understands her compensation was small at first and in order to be always available she had to do that in early times, but why today?

Ex, "I was on Coral Sea" it is name of a battle ship and not the actual coral ocean when we hear the voice, and gets very frustrated every time. At least dubb business is not that a oligopoly and we have better linguist there, or we do not have to notice it every time.

[2016-09-16 11:17 GMTに編集されました]


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:34
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
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Subtitled Sep 16, 2016

In Mexico I once saw an original English-language James Bond movie dubbed in Spanish with German subtitles!

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Luiz Barucke
Brazil
Local time: 21:34
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
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As usual... It depends Sep 16, 2016

To enjoy a movie, I certainly prefer to watch it subtitled.

But sometimes it's interesting to watch it subtitled AND dubbed to find different approaches and solutions for a same speech.

[Editada em 2016-09-16 11:41 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:34
English to Portuguese
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I have a professional disease Sep 16, 2016

After 29 years translating videos for dubbing, and the last 12 of these translating for subtitling too, I simply can't refrain from "proofreading" a video while I watch it, i.e. either checking the translation of every subtitle or mentally back-translating an entire dubbed video.

I do it also in languages that I speak but don't translate. Worst of it, I find myself doing it in languages I don't speak at all, in search for occasional familiar words in other languages, like I learned that "torakko" is the JP word for "truck".


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:34
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
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Subtitled, so I can ignore it and listen to the original Sep 16, 2016

Unfortunately, in my case, both subtitling and dubbing are a disaster in my country. Those who speak English and are able to understand the original will always choose subtitled movies so they can listen to the original in English and ignore the subtitles. But since we read the subtitles involuntarily anyway, we notice how the poor watchers who do not speak English will lose the meanings, the jokes, the metaphors, and many times the entire context due to the very poor translations used most of the time.
Another curious thing, if you choose to watch the dubbed version along with the subtitles, is that the dubbed translation is invariably a lot different than the subtitles, usually because they are done by two different companies. That's when you notice how both are mainly quite unsatisfactory.

[Edited at 2016-09-16 20:05 GMT]


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Jaime Oriard  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Other. It depends... Sep 16, 2016

If in a language a understand, neither. If in a language I don't understand, with subtitles. However, 99.9% of movies I watch are in a language I understand. I never watch dubbed movies.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:34
English to Portuguese
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Info on Brazil Sep 16, 2016

Mario Freitas wrote:

Unfortunately, in my case, both subtitling and dubbing are a disaster in my country.


You are probably referring to what you see on cable TV in Brazil. Dead right!
Most of the dubbing and subtitling there is driven by the "Cheaper! Cheaper!" motto.

I specialize in "corporate" video (training, institutional, product launch) video translation for both dub/sub, and subtitling itself. On the rare occasions I translate feature films and TV series for subtitling, my clients are far away overseas.

For several decades already, Brazil has probably had the best dubbing talent in the world. Only recently some other countries rose to our standard. I'd dare say that we have more and better dubbers than soccer players.

The problem is that the Brazilian TV chain of supply focuses mostly on low-end vendors, cheap translators, cheap studios, cheap dubbers.

Don't take my word for it.
Try to borrow an original Brazilian Finding Nemo DVD - this dubbing won the Yamato Award as best dubbing in 2004. As you watch it, shift from the original EN soundtrack to the BR dubbed one, and you'll see the difference, in spite of the movie stars who did the original voices.

Mario Freitas wrote:
Those who speak English and are able to understand the original will always choose subtitled movies so they can listen to the original in English and ignore the subtitles. But since we read the subtitles involuntarily anyway, we notice how the poor watchers who do not speak English will lose the meanings, the jokes, the metaphors, and many times the entire context due to the very poor translations used most of the time.


Every time a translator who accepts despicable low rates for their work sees this happening, they should feel guilty of causing it, even though they might not translate video.
If there are low rates in our marketplace, it is only because there are translators who accept them.

Mario Freitas wrote:
Another curious thing, if you choose to watch the dubbed version along with the subtitles, is that the dubbed translation is invariably a lot different than the subtitles, usually because they are done by two different companies. That's when you notice how both are mainly quite unsatisfactory.


There are two reasons for this.

One is that dubbing is all about metrics, creating a translating dialogue that a voice artist can use to sync with the onscreen actor's mouth movements, while subtitling is all about conciseness, trying to give some extra time for the spectator to watch some of the action, after they have finished reading.

The other is that dub/sub translations are most often done by different translators who don't communicate with each other, either for specialization in either one, or to make the two - completely independent - processes run in parallel, so it gets done faster.

Translation for dubbing and for subtitling share a few common tools, however the frame of mind in each is quite different. IMHO neither one is easier nor more difficult than the other, they just involve a different approach and techniques. I wore the "translation for dubbing" hat for 17 years before I ventured into translation for subtitling. Some colleagues took the opposite route. And yet many kept themselves to either one specialty.

[Edited at 2016-09-16 20:45 GMT]


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:34
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Indeed, José... Sep 16, 2016

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

You are probably referring to what you see on cable TV in Brazil. Dead right!
Most of the dubbing and subtitling there is driven by the "Cheaper! Cheaper!" motto.

I specialize in "corporate" video (training, institutional, product launch) video translation for both dub/sub, and subtitling itself. On the rare occasions I translate feature films and TV series for subtitling, my clients are far away overseas.


Your are correct! My comment refers to TV series and popular movies. When we're talking about corporate videos and the like, the standards are quite superior, and I have participated in training sessions with translated videos with high quality translations, I must admit.

I'm sorry if I generalized too much in my comment, but you made it clear.


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