Subtitling vs. dubbing

Rot your brains, then rot our boards

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

How do you prefer your foreign language films?

Subtitled.
234
88%
Dubbed.
17
6%
Original language, even if I don't understand it.
4
1%
They make films in foreign languages?
2
1%
Otter translated to duck or vice-versa.
10
4%
 
Total votes: 267

User avatar
GourdCaptain
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:09 am UTC

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby GourdCaptain » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:00 am UTC

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/

User avatar
Avelion
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:44 pm UTC
Location: Dead center, USA

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby Avelion » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:23 am UTC

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.
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." -Cory Doctorow

User avatar
poxic
Eloquently Prismatic
Posts: 4756
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:28 am UTC
Location: Left coast of Canada

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby poxic » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:33 am UTC

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...
Last edited by poxic on Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:42 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
The Supreme Ethical Rule: Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thyself.
- Felix Adler, professor, lecturer, and reformer (13 Aug 1851-1933)

sakeniwefu
Posts: 170
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 8:36 pm UTC

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby sakeniwefu » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:02 am UTC

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.

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5426
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby Xanthir » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:53 pm UTC

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.
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

Hyena
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:02 am UTC

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby Hyena » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:14 am UTC

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.
Nougatrocity wrote:I refute it with having several female friends that OH MY GOD I WANT TO SEX. But that doesn't get in the way of friendship.

User avatar
Ramirez
Posts: 40
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:34 pm UTC
Location: The Pub, UK

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby Ramirez » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:22 am UTC

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.
Come on, dance for me!

User avatar
OOPMan
Posts: 314
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:20 am UTC
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby OOPMan » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:03 am UTC

Dubs generally suck, but not always.
Image

Image

User avatar
JayDee
Posts: 3620
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:13 am UTC
Location: Most livable city in the world.
Contact:

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby JayDee » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:17 am UTC

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.
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:I believe that everything can and must be joked about.
Hawknc wrote:I like to think that he hasn't left, he's just finally completed his foe list.

User avatar
Berengal
Superabacus Mystic of the First Rank
Posts: 2707
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 5:51 am UTC
Location: Bergen, Norway
Contact:

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby Berengal » Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:58 am UTC

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.
It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students who are motivated by money: As potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.

Random832
Posts: 2525
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:38 pm UTC

Re: Subs vs. Dubs (anime)

Postby Random832 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:21 pm UTC

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?

User avatar
hideki101
Posts: 342
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 5:50 pm UTC
Location: everywhere and nowhere

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby hideki101 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:44 am UTC

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.
Albert Einistein wrote:"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

Psychopomp
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:52 am UTC

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Psychopomp » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:13 am UTC

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.

Random832
Posts: 2525
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:38 pm UTC

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Random832 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:35 pm UTC

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.

User avatar
Mr. Lostman
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:21 am UTC
Location: karma police station
Contact:

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Mr. Lostman » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:09 pm UTC

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.
ImageImage
^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW

Psychopomp
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:52 am UTC

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Psychopomp » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:02 am UTC

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.

User avatar
Mr. Lostman
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:21 am UTC
Location: karma police station
Contact:

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Mr. Lostman » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:04 am UTC

I agree with you on that. I watch foreign films (some silent) all the time on Turner Classic Movies.
ImageImage
^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW

User avatar
Rinsaikeru
Pawn, soon to be a Queen
Posts: 2166
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:26 am UTC
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:47 am UTC

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.
Rice Puddin.

User avatar
Grop
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:36 am UTC
Location: France

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Grop » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:05 pm UTC

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.

sakeniwefu
Posts: 170
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 8:36 pm UTC

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby sakeniwefu » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:39 am UTC

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.

User avatar
JayDee
Posts: 3620
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:13 am UTC
Location: Most livable city in the world.
Contact:

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby JayDee » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:25 am UTC

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.
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:I believe that everything can and must be joked about.
Hawknc wrote:I like to think that he hasn't left, he's just finally completed his foe list.

User avatar
Grop
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:36 am UTC
Location: France

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Grop » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:08 am UTC

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.

Psychopomp
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:52 am UTC

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Psychopomp » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:06 am UTC

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.

User avatar
Mr. Lostman
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:21 am UTC
Location: karma police station
Contact:

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Mr. Lostman » Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:39 pm UTC

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?
ImageImage
^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW

User avatar
peter-lebt
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:22 pm UTC
Location: ... off ...

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby peter-lebt » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:26 pm UTC

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 ... ;) )
Image

User avatar
Grop
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:36 am UTC
Location: France

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Grop » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:48 pm UTC

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.

Faranya
Posts: 259
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:10 am UTC

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby Faranya » Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:36 am UTC

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.
Image

User avatar
alitheiapsis
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:29 am UTC
Location: Just behind my eyes, between my ears.
Contact:

Re: Subtitling vs. dubbing

Postby alitheiapsis » Thu May 14, 2009 4:54 am UTC

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.


Return to “Movies and TV Shows”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests