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Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:00 am UTC
by GourdCaptain
I generally watch the subbed versions of anime - I tend to pick them up and watch before they get dubbed. Plus, I've been messed with one too many bad dub jobs, but I have seen good dubs. Plus, the Evangelion dub cast earned my liking (especially Spike Spencer, Shinji's voice) with the following moment of commentary greatness (warning: YTMND - the only online posting I can find. From the commentary on episode 26.) http://shinjismind.ytmnd.com/

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:23 am UTC
by Avelion
The only two dubs I can think of that had any merit were Full Metal Alchemist and FLCL. Full Metal Alchemist was on par with the original and FLCL was actually superior than the original Japanese. That being said subs are the way to go for any other series that comes to mind. Japanese voice actors just seem to have a passion for their parts that the American ones can't match.

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:33 am UTC
by poxic
Can't remember the name of a movie I watched, but I saw it first in the theatre with dubs. I enjoyed it a lot, so I rented it later to watch a second time. I did the subtitle thing that time. I was struck by how different the movie seemed. The Japanese actors, especially the men, seemed to have such subtle emotion in their voices compared to the English ones. It was hard to get used to.

Edit: it was a Cowboy Bebop movie. Maybe I'll remember the title in a while...

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:02 am UTC
by sakeniwefu
raws :|

IMO, subs are often better than dubs just because voice actors in most countries suck. You might like Japanese anime voice actors, but don't never ever try to watch a dubbed Western movie in Japan.
OTOH, subs have usually bad translations, especially if they are fan subs, translated from Chinese by some Chinese American n00b or by some Wapanese armed with a dictionary and Japanese 101.

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:53 pm UTC
by Xanthir
GourdCaptain wrote:I generally watch the subbed versions of anime - I tend to pick them up and watch before they get dubbed. Plus, I've been messed with one too many bad dub jobs, but I have seen good dubs. Plus, the Evangelion dub cast earned my liking (especially Spike Spencer, Shinji's voice) with the following moment of commentary greatness (warning: YTMND - the only online posting I can find. From the commentary on episode 26.) http://shinjismind.ytmnd.com/

You might be interested to know that my aunt and uncle were on that dub cast. Specifically, my aunt was Rei, and my uncle was that one long-haired guy from the NERV control room (I forget his name). We got the whole Eva series free because of that.

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:14 am UTC
by Hyena
I've always hated the dubs of anime, or at least, i did, until i watched one of the OVA's of Dragon Ball Z with my friends, and the dubbing was just hilarious. The japanese dubs just don't seem to get the same humour that the english voice actors seemed to see in it.

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:22 am UTC
by Ramirez
For me, it depends on the quality of the English dubbing, and how lazy I am at the time. Sometimes I just can't be bothered to read it. The bulk of my anime is on VHS anyway so its not like I have a choice with much of it (I tend not to by much these days, but 6-7 years back bought a lot).

Last Exile's English voice cast is great imo, so I watched the whole series dubbed.

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:03 am UTC
by OOPMan
Dubs generally suck, but not always.

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:17 am UTC
by JayDee
I generally go with dubs. Not knowing Japanese is a bigger deal than a bad quality dub, to me. Besides, subs would usually involve more effort.

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:58 am UTC
by Berengal
I watch subs. I have no reason to watch dubs, as they're usually all in english anyway. Well, that's not really fair since i don't know japanese but I do know english well enough that I don't even notice it's english, but since everything not in norwegian is subed here in Norway, I don't notice it when something's subbed either. I do notice when something's dubbed though, no matter which language is used, and it's usually not a good thing.

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Posted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:21 pm UTC
by Random832
Xanthir wrote:You might be interested to know that my aunt and uncle were on that dub cast. Specifically, my aunt was Rei, and my uncle was that one long-haired guy from the NERV control room (I forget his name).


Shigeru Aoba. And incidentally, do they know their website is down?

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:44 am UTC
by hideki101
If possible, I would like to watch it in subs, just to hear the original tone of the scene. (really though I'm assuming anime here) Generally, things get lost in the dub, if it's for certain age groups (young-preteen) there are enough cultural and societal differences between Japan and the US that sometimes large amounts of content are lost in the dub. It seems anime dubbed for an older age group seems to be more faithful to the original script.

To the actual casting and acting of dubbers, it really depends on the anime. I've noticed that anime with a more multicultural cast seem to be better dubbed while stuff that takes place in say, ancient Japan is a lot better subbed. A good example of a dub done (mostly) correctly is Black Lagoon. There, the voices match the diverse array of characters (except for Shenhua. her dub voice gets on my nerves) and because of the high mature content, there weren't all that many cuts.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:13 am UTC
by Psychopomp
I think subtitles are really critical, because the voice of the original actor is an essential part of their acting job. Watching M with dubs is a completely different experience than watching it in the original german. And with many modern foreign language films, with the changing of languages, some times to English, with dubbing the nuance of the writing is lost. Even if the original french of the main actors is translated into english and the japanese is dubbed, the impact and nuance of the change in language is lessened. I would never watch films like Intacto or Wasabi with dubs.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:35 pm UTC
by Random832
Psychopomp wrote:I think subtitles are really critical, because the voice of the original actor is an essential part of their acting job.


Right, but... if you watch it dubbed, you're not watching it for the original actor's acting job, you're watching it for the dub actor's acting job.

If you don't understand Japanese (or, you know, whatever language), the only thing you gain from watching a sub is that the translation tends to be more honest (part of that is because they don't have to fit the timings of the original). But that is significant. You don't really gain anything there if the subtitles are just a copy of the dub script. Now, a particular dub may have worse acting than the original voiceovers, but that's a separate issue from "subs vs dubs generally". They can also be better, or just different.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:09 pm UTC
by Mr. Lostman
Dub, if possible. Sub only if I have to.
I believe that Miyazaki fellow said a movie was best watched in the viewer's natural language. I'll find a link to this if possible.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:02 am UTC
by Psychopomp
Mr. Lostman wrote:Dub, if possible. Sub only if I have to.
I believe that Miyazaki fellow said a movie was best watched in the viewer's natural language. I'll find a link to this if possible.


This may be true with animation, but when you're talking about representational films like Intacto, or impressionist films like M, watching in your original language is besides the point. Part of the purpose of the film, part of how it does its job as a film is by speaking to you in the original tongue. You can't watch 8 1/2 or Le Strada in english and have as full an experience as watching it in Italian. Felini's moment films just don't work like that. The passage of each voice, as spoken originally, in and out of your ear is essential to understanding the scene.

Live action cinema is quite a different beast from animation.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:04 am UTC
by Mr. Lostman
I agree with you on that. I watch foreign films (some silent) all the time on Turner Classic Movies.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:47 am UTC
by Rinsaikeru
I'm not sure I agree with Miyazaki on that one. Yes Studio Ghibli has produced some fantastic works--but as most of them are (in some ways) geared at children, and children don't tend to be able to keep up with subtitles--I imagine this colours his ideas about animation to a certain extent. Furthermore, Ghibli productions when dubbed can normally afford to use A-list voices where many other anime dubs cannot. If you have fantastic actors dubbing a work, the dub can be great and worth watching on its own merits--in most cases you will get far more of the intent and tone from watching the subtitled version.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:05 pm UTC
by Grop
I see no added value in dubbing, and only watch subbed movies whenever I can. The only exception is when bad dubbing actually improves the thing (it may add fun to a poor horror or kung-fu movie, for instance). I like to have voices as the author intended, even if I don't know a word of the language.

Also, when watching a movie with friends, I like to be able to read the text when they are being loud.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:39 am UTC
by sakeniwefu
Rinsaikeru wrote:I'm not sure I agree with Miyazaki on that one. Yes Studio Ghibli has produced some fantastic works--but as most of them are (in some ways) geared at children, and children don't tend to be able to keep up with subtitles--I imagine this colours his ideas about animation to a certain extent. Furthermore, Ghibli productions when dubbed can normally afford to use A-list voices where many other anime dubs cannot. If you have fantastic actors dubbing a work, the dub can be great and worth watching on its own merits--in most cases you will get far more of the intent and tone from watching the subtitled version.


I agree, Miyazaki movies are going to get the best translators and voice actors in any language.

However, most movies, anime or not, get handed to the translator that happens to be available and have to be finished yesterday. Many times the translator doesn't even have the movie, just a transcript/script. If there are more than one translators, the decent translator will get the script, and the not so good one will get the subtitles. The subtitles monkey will have to work with time codes as well.

Lip sync is the reason for some sub/dub divergence, but often it is due to different translators and time schedules. You *can* sub a movie in 2 days of hard work, but they often get less and this leaves no time to check things and correct filler translations.

Once the dub translation is sent to the dubbing studio, the time schedule is tight there as well, so even if your actors are good, any unnoticeable mistake will go in. Another consideration is that the translators are left out of the dubbing loop, so dubbers get no hint for some local names and words if the translator hasn't added it.

Recently I came across a Detective Conan dub. The translator wrote "Tokyo Dome" in the scripts and the dubber didn't notice it was actually an English word and read it as "Tokyo Domeh" following their Japanese language guidelines(The dub was not in English, btw). It is very annoying, and this was the good dubbers. I can only imagine how they butcher the languages I do not know.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:25 am UTC
by JayDee
Grop wrote:I see no added value in dubbing, and only watch subbed movies whenever I can.
Speech communicates with more than just the words. The other bits, the tones and inflections and emphasis, those bits are important, and they vary by culture too. With subtitles, I can't tell which words are being emphasised (for example) without knowing the language. I might be able to pick up, say, sarcasm by context, or if I'm paying close attention.

Of course a bad dub is bad, but it's bad because it's bad, not because it's a dub.

All other things being equal, though, I'd pick a dub over a sub anytime.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:08 am UTC
by Grop
JayDee, I prefer subs precisely because of tones, inflections and all the stuff that depend on culture. You learn it when watching movies. Also, good subs may hint you that *something* matters (just like good dubbing is supposed to, unless* we are comparing poor subbing with good dubbing).

* That wouldn't be *that* unfair though, since I may prefer poor subbing to any dubbing.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:06 am UTC
by Psychopomp
JayDee wrote:
Grop wrote:I see no added value in dubbing, and only watch subbed movies whenever I can.
Speech communicates with more than just the words. The other bits, the tones and inflections and emphasis, those bits are important, and they vary by culture too. With subtitles, I can't tell which words are being emphasised (for example) without knowing the language. I might be able to pick up, say, sarcasm by context, or if I'm paying close attention.

Of course a bad dub is bad, but it's bad because it's bad, not because it's a dub.

All other things being equal, though, I'd pick a dub over a sub anytime.


I'm afraid I can't sympathize with your problem. I've never had the same problem interpreting the intent of actors speaking other languages. Sarcasm, anger, happiness, bemusement, laconism, I have always been able to interpret these signals just as accurately in other languages as in English.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:39 pm UTC
by Mr. Lostman
Sometimes, just sometimes, I would like to turn my head to look at my watch w/o missing precious, precious dialogue. :?
Also, you've never heard of woolseyisms, have you?

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:26 pm UTC
by peter-lebt
the answer to this question depends on the culture you come from:

most Americans I have met in my life cannot get used to the out-of-sync-mouth-movements of dubbed films - presumably because most movies they see in their life are in their own language.

in Germany the TV is broadcasting a lot of English or American films usually dubbed. In most cases the dubbing is quite good, and, moreover, the same speaker is speaking a certain actor in several movies - so the German TV and cinema viewer hears the same voice of e.g. Bruce Willis in most of the movies he is in.

For english movies I personally prefer dubbing whenever the movie has (1) a lot of slang (I cannot understand Morgan Freeman in "Million Dollar Baby") or (2) a lot of very sophisticated talk (Clerks and Clerks 2 and similar movies - in these cases subtitles help a lot ;) ) or (3) many jokes a lot of which are either very local to the USA or a very special to the English language (action comedies and many animated films like "Finding Nemo" or "Shark Tales" are like that. A recent exception is "Kung-Fu-Panda" - in that movie the language is very clear ... ;) )

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:48 pm UTC
by Grop
I've just seen Citizen Kane and it felt incredibly familiar... Made me remember an epic case of dubbing: La Classe Américaine is an awesome comedy in French language. I don't think it was seriously translated, so I would only recommend it to the minority here who understands French.

It is a crazy movie made with scenes from American movies and silly French dubs. And it features the awesomest cast ever.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:36 am UTC
by Faranya
Subtitles. I even watch TV shows in English with closed captioning for the hearing impaired, despite my adequate hearing :D

I don't understand people who say that it distracts from the action onscreen, it has never bothered me in the slightest.

And as for the "being able to look away when it is dubbed" I find that if I've been watching it, I can let my mind start to wander off screen and still be able to follow it (I guess it is because writing is rather predictable)

Once the show/film starts, I very quickly forget that I am even reading the words. It just sounds off in my head.

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 4:54 am UTC
by alitheiapsis
I voted subtitling because I'm used to it. I hate having the TV volume very loud at all, so I usually have the captions on when I watch TV. Also, I end up watching a lot of Hindi movies with my parents, but I don't speak enough Hindi to make it through without subtitles. I have some really bad subtitling jobs (most of the Hindi movies we buy have been pirated and home-subbed), but just having two ways of understanding the dialogue improves the experience a lot. It is true, though, that knowing some Hindi helps to show just how much nuance is lost in translation. That's not something that can be helped by dubbing, though.

I haven't seen a lot of dubbed things, but I did watch the fifth Harry Potter movie in India. I had the misfortune of catching a Hindi showing instead of English, so it was a bit weird (I did see it over again in English once I got back home). However, the dubbing was very well done, considering. I also think dubbing can be more helpful sometimes--my mom, despite living in the USA for twenty years, found the Hindi version easier to understand than English with English with subtitles, which is what we usually watch. So I guess it depends on the circumstances.