Off topic: In what country were the movies you watch translated/dubbed?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:32
English to French
+ ...
Aug 6, 2008

I have been wondering for some time about this. I live in Quebec, where people speak a flavour of French which is different from French spoken in other countries. Practically all of the movies and TV programs are translated and dubbed in France. While we can all understand most of the dialogue in these movies and TV programs, often, the French translation/dubbing sounds weird and actually eliminates part of the message because the words used don't mean the same thing here as in France. There are also lots of anglicisms used in these movies, whereas people in Quebec would say the same things using French words. In some types of works, most of the dialogue is totally different from how a Québécois would have said it, and it comes off as plain weird. An excellent example of this is a Beavis and Butthead movie - most people here weren't able to laugh at it once because most of the words used have absolutely nothing to do with the local culture. A great example of rare locally translated/dubbed work is The Simpsons, and I now can't imagine this program being dubbed in France.

I would like to know if there are other countries in the world where movies and TV programs are mostly translated outside of the country, and I would also like to know if you have an opinion on this. Does it bother you at all? Do you think the market in your country would allow for local translation and dubbing?

For example, if you live in New Zealand, do you have to constantly watch movies in American or British English? Or if you live in Mexico, do you watch most movies in Spanish as it is spoken in Spain?

[Edited at 2008-08-06 18:37]


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 11:32
French to Spanish
+ ...
Interesting. Aug 6, 2008

1.- I don't like dubbing.
2.- Subtitling in Mexico is almost all over (TV and cinema), good thing, by law. You only can dub for children audience.
3.- Subtitling, in Mexico, stinks, for several reasons:

a) companies prohibites ANY rough language (no "calling people names", no sex, no drugs) for "censureship" reasons (there is NO censure in Mexico, but they don't want their film rated XXX);
b) companies prohibites ANY localization (no "mexican slang", no everyday language) presuming they are going to sell the film in other countries (see a lot of discussion about "español neutro" right here);
b) a LOT of work, responding to your question, is done abroad, mainly Venezuela and Argentina (much cheaper, I image)... and that makes us laugh a lot... "Che, pibe, mirá qué bonitos porotos amarijjjos."

I understand perfectly your concern. That's my job. I explain:

Translation for subtitling is the only translation job in wich YOU DON'T translate everything, for obvious readibility restrictions. One of its big disavantage. The other one is the "perturbation": you must see the images AND read.

As said in a) and b), translators MUST NOT translate corretly... incredible.

Films, doing so, loose a lot of their sense...

I sympathize.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 18:32
English to German
+ ...
good example are the charlie chaplin movies done in 1915 Aug 6, 2008

Hi! They were initially mokies meaning no talking. later they were subtitled around 1930 and much later they had some sound as well, in many languages. It is just a matter of indicating how the development goes. Obviously people in mexico speak mexican spanish just as there is a variant called canadian french. Australians or in the NZ mostly speak a mixture of british and maori which suits both cultures. BR Brandis

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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 12:32
Member
Spanish
+ ...
Spanish dubbing in the United States Aug 6, 2008

I try to avoid dubbed movies, I can't stand them. But I once was absolutely shocked, not by the dubbing itself (which was horrible by the way), but by the logic behind it: a Spanish channel in the United States was showing at least two movies in Spanish (that were made in Spain with a Castilian accent) dubbed into a very heavy Mexican accent. Enough said.

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Ioana Daia  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 19:32
Spanish to Romanian
+ ...
Very interesting, indeed Aug 6, 2008

First of all, excuse me for my English, as you can see it's not a working language for me.
But the subject is interesting, so I feel like pointing some ideas.

Must be quite bizzare to watch movies dubbed/subtitled in a different country... It never crossed my mind that could happen. I was about to say - it's impossible to have this for Romanian, but now, thinking it again... In Republica Moldova (ex-soviet republic, was part of Romania before WW2) the official language is Moldavian. For political reasons, they just came out with a different name for the same language, but maybe in time the two might get more and more distinct. Anyway, they also have some romanian TV channels, so they might experiment what you're saying, Viktoria.
How I see it... It's some kind of (unintended) centralisation of language. Almost all subtitling companies are located in the capitals, so it's the language from the capital that all the viewers are getting. In the case of Quebec, it's still the French from the Metropole that you're getting... Probably annoying, I wouldn't be able to really see the film because of this kind of disturbance.


And now, how it is done in Romania. About the points Juan Jacob raised...
1. I'm also a fan of subtitling (maybe 'cause it's what I do...)
2. No law against dubbing, but huge costs have convinced channels to stick with good old subtitling... Also the audience is used to hear the original voices (quite a shock for my mom, who doesn't speak any foreign language, btw, in her first visit to France, to see some american series that she knew from Romania dubbed in French...). For children, yes, also dubbing.
Another interesting thing about romanian audience. Some years ago, a TV channel passed some brazilian series dubbed in Spanish and subtitled in Romanian. Well, they conducted some surveys and found out people wanted the original version, so now we can all get a bit of portuguese flavour...

3. Rules for adapting language
a. prohibiting rough language - well, depends on the rating of the film... And the rating is given in function of the hour of programming. You can use some dirty words after 20 PM, even more after 22PM. There is some kind of official censure, a state organism that is supposed to control the appropriate rating and sometimes language used in films, TV shows etc.

b. localisation - not very used... This sticking to original can derive sometimes from a bigger distance between cultures. For instance, it might look strange to translate the religious vocabulary from the movies (mainly catholic) with orthodox terms, even though they're beautiful (of course, context is everything, as always...)

Hope it was interesting...


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
In the U.S.: English subtitles and Spanish redubbing Aug 7, 2008

I live in the U.S., where the foreign movies that are screened in "art house" cinemas are almost always subtitled rather than dubbed. Dubbing into English is almost unknown here, thank goodness. I like to hear the performances of the actors the director chose for the parts. A lot of the subtitles we see are obviously from Britain, but the meaning of UK colloquialisms is usually clear (if only from context).

As Claudia pointed out, movies from Spain are often dubbed into Latin American Spanish when shown on Spanish-language TV stations in the U.S... a practice that I find bizarre beyond belief. These dubbed tracks are also available as an option on some U.S. DVD releases of films from Spain. Admittedly, some Spanish accents are tricky to understand (I have yet to make it through "Mondays in the Sun" without subtitles). But dubbing into L/A Spanish should not be necessary for most Spanish films.

[Edited at 2008-08-07 16:03]


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Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dubbing sub-titling in Spain Aug 7, 2008

Hi,

In Spain, as far as I know, films are always dubbed in Spain's Spanish.

Latin American films are not dubbed but just released in their original variations of Spanish.

In the past, some film-making companies in the USA tried to save money having one generic Spanish valid for the whole Latin America and Spain.

As a result, all of the classical Disney films were released in Spain with Latin American dubbing.

They were a success nevertheless, I think this helped the children to improve on their vocabulary because we learned many words which were not of common use in Spain.

The same used to happen with many USA TV series, which used to be dubbed in Mexico.

The same films are released now in DVDs and the original Latin-American dubbing. I guess the parents who buy these films now for their kids would be disappointed if they had been re-dubbed in Spain's Spanish.

I often fly from Frankfurt to Spain with a Chilean Airline and they show all their films dubbed in Latin-American Spanish.

So, I conclude that in the Spanish-speaking word, films and TV series are dubbed locally both in Spain and in the Latin American countries.

I guess that for Quebec, it is a matter of market size. The extra cost of dubbing into Quebec French does not pay for the extra income to be obtained.

What does the public do? Do they just not go to see the dubbed versions and see the original films in English instead?

Daniel


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:32
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Spain dubbing and Latin American dubbing Aug 7, 2008

Since my moving to Spain, I've been kinda shocked by the differences in dubbing. When comparing the Mexican or Argentinian dubbings to the Spanish ones, I can't help but noticing huge differences.

Let's say that in the Spanish dubbing, Homer Simpson actually sounds smart, while in the Argentinian dubbing he sounds like a... well, like Homer Simpson. I still have to hear a "D'oh" in Spanish from Spain.

The same goes for most other series and movies.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Homer Aug 7, 2008

Edwal Rospigliosi wrote:
Let's say that in the Spanish dubbing, Homer Simpson actually sounds smart, while in the Argentinian dubbing he sounds like a... well, like Homer Simpson. I still have to hear a "D'oh" in Spanish from Spain.


Unfortunately the actor who originally dubbed Homer for Spain, Carlos Revilla, died eight years ago, and the general consensus is that the new voice isn't quite as effective. I kind of like the new Homer, but I agree that Revilla's characterization -- heard on the first eleven seasons of the series -- was better. I'm so used to the European Spanish dub that I find the Latin American voices a bit disconcerting, not because they're bad but because I'm not used to them. (Conversely, I'm used to the American Spanish dub of "Sex and the City" and can't get used to the voices in the European dub.)

[Edited at 2008-08-07 14:36]


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:32
Member
French to English
+ ...
A bit off topic Aug 7, 2008

I can fully sympathise with the problem, Viktoria. I spent the first twenty-some years of life in Quebec and always dreaded dubbed movies. I was raised in a bilingual family, so at home we watched only originals, but every summer I went to summer camp and there, once every three weeks, we had "movie night". Most of the other children looked forward to movie night for days in advance; I dreaded it. I still anguish at the memory of having to sit through those long evenings in the sweltering, too-cramped barn where we watched horribly dubbed movies with weird words and the actors' mouths moving at the wrong time...

On another note, something that's always struck me as odd is that films are released in Quebec long before they come out in France (there's usually several weeks or even months between the North-American première and the European release). Why on earth is the dubbing for the Quebec version not done in Québécois (or otherwise why can't they release the film six weeks earlier in France?!).

That said, here in France, I have heard people complain that a downloaded film was the Québécois version and so the actors had different accents. Could it be that some films are dubbed in Quebec using "neutral French" (like Juan's "español neutro") and then re-dubbed for audiences in France?

Best,
Jocelyne


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:32
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Shocked Aug 7, 2008

So far, it seems that most countries represented by the contributors of this thread have a preference for subtitling. I am shocked - I can't imagine watching subtitled TV and movies. I am not saying it's wrong, but I am definitely not used to that. I have always disliked subtitling because it's hard to see what's going on on screen when you have to keep reading the subtitles. Yet, what I've always liked about subtitling is that you actually hear the real actor's voice. For some movies, I actually prefer subtitling - The Red Violin is an excellent example of a movie I wouldn't have any other way.

I find that movies and TV shows dubbed into French are for the most part respectful of the original voices. Maybe this is something that French dubbing companies pay a lot of attention to as opposed to companies in other countries. Maybe someone here can explain why... So, I have nothing against the voices themselves, they are usually great - not only do they sound like the actor's original voice, but they also "voice act" so the emotions are translated along with the words. What I am having trouble with is the regionalisms used, the cultural references, those little things that keep you alerted to the fact that the movie was dubbed in France. It just doesn't sound right.

On the other hand, the few titles dubbed in Quebec were dubbed in a way that is still respectful of the international francophone masses, that is, most of the time, movies dubbed here use international French. The accent is more neutral and the real French terms are used instead of anglicisms and slang. I would prefer for movies to have a French Canadian feel, but I wouldn't mind getting movies in international French either. I simply prefer for business to be called affaires and not business in French.

I heard that a new regulation is being introduced here, which will ensure that movies for our market are dubbed here. This will have some side effects. Production companies will need to pay more, because they will have to get the movies dubbed into different flavours of the same language. This will also result in movies being launched six months after the original is launched, so some fear we will be lagging behind on movie launches. Personally, I couldn't care less, since I am not the kind of person who goes to the movies the week a movie comes out. I am sure I will see the new Batman flick only next year. But I realize I am not necessarily representative of Québecois movie goers either...

[Edited at 2008-08-07 15:48]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
More on Spanish dubbing Aug 7, 2008

dgmaga wrote:

In Spain, as far as I know, films are always dubbed in Spain's Spanish.


Spaniards seem to have a well-instilled cultural preference for dubbing. I assume that's because from the 1940s to 1970s, subtitling was illegal in Spain. In 1946, the Franco regime decided that it was easier to censor dialog if you dubbed over it, and so everyone got used to seeing films that way. There are, however, a fair number of "versión original" cinemas in major Spanish cities, where you can see films in their original languages with subtitles.

The dubs for Spain are generally done in-country, except for some TV documentaries (for the History Channel, etc.) that are dubbed in Latin America by narrators who have learned to fake a Spanish accent.

In the past, some film-making companies in the USA tried to save money having one generic Spanish valid for the whole Latin America and Spain.


As you noted, Disney is the classic example.

In recent years, I think Disney has started doing separate dubs for Spain with completely new translations. This sort of kills the films' nostalgia value if you grew up watching the Latin American dub of Pinocchio or Snow White, and suddenly the voices and song lyrics are different.

So, I conclude that in the Spanish-speaking word, films and TV series are dubbed locally both in Spain and in the Latin American countries.


For some films and TV shows there are now three dubs: one in European Spanish, one in "porteño" that is distributed in parts of South America, and one "neutral" version for the rest of the Spanish-speaking world. Interestingly, some books undergo the same process: the Spanish translations of the Harry Potter books, for instance, are localized for Spain, South America, and a third "neutral" version.

[Edited at 2008-08-07 21:43]


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jlrsnyder  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:32
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Small-town Quebec Aug 9, 2008

dgmaga wrote:

I guess that for Quebec, it is a matter of market size. The extra cost of dubbing into Quebec French does not pay for the extra income to be obtained.

What does the public do? Do they just not go to see the dubbed versions and see the original films in English instead?

Daniel


I live halfway between Montreal and Quebec City and none of the 3 movie houses within driving distance shows any movies at all in English. Since any movie not made in Quebec is "foreign", the fact that the movie may be dubbed in European French is just part of the experience of watching a foreign film. I've seen so many dubbed films on TV that by now I'm actually surprised when I see the actor's mouth moving appropriately with the dialog.


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