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Dubbing is the post-production process of recording and replacing voices on a motion picture or television soundtrack subsequent to the original shooting schedule. The term most commonly refers to the substitution of the voices of the actors shown on the screen by those of different performers, who may be speaking a different language. The procedure was sometimes practised in musicals when the actor had an unsatisfactory singing voice, and remains in use to enable the screening of audio-visual material to a mass audience in countries where viewers do not speak the same language as the original performers. "Dubbing" also describes the process of an actor's re-recording lines spoken during filming and which must be replaced to improve audio quality or reflect dialog changes. This process is called automated dialogue replacement, or ADR for short. Music is also dubbed onto a film after editing is completed.

Foreign-language films, videos and sometimes video games are often dubbed into the local language of their target markets to increase their popularity with the local audience by making them more accessible. Dubbing is common both in theatrically released film and in television series, including Hollywoodmarker series and serialized Japanesemarker anime that have received foreign distribution.

Automated dialogue replacement / post-sync

Automated dialogue replacement (ADR) is the process of re-recording the original dialogue after filming for the purpose of obtaining a cleaner, more intelligible dialogue track (also known as looping or a looping session). In the UKmarker it is called post-synchronisation or post-sync.

In conventional film production, a production sound mixer records dialogue during filming. Unless the shoot takes place on a sound stage, accompanying noise from the set, traffic, wind, and the overall ambiance of the surrounding environment can be overbearing. This often results in unusable production sound, and during the post-production process a supervising sound editor or ADR Supervisor reviews all of the dialogue in the film and decides which lines will have to be replaced. ADR is used in over 70% of major U.S. films.

ADR is also used to change the original lines recorded on set in order to clarify context, or to improve the actor's diction and timing.

For animation such as computer-generated imagery or animated cartoons dialogue is recorded to a pre-edited version of the show. Although the characters' voices are recorded in a studio, ADR is necessary whenever members of the cast can not all be present at once.

ADR is recorded during an ADR session, which takes place in a specialized sound studio. The actor, usually the original actor from the set, is shown the scene in question along with the original sound, following which he or she will attempt to recreate the performance as closely as possible. Over the course of multiple re-takes (hence looping) the actor will repeatedly perform the lines while watching the scene, and the most suitable take will make it to the final version of the scene.

Sometimes, a different actor is used from the original actor on set. One famous example is the Star Wars character Darth Vader, portrayed by David Prowse and later Hayden Christensen. In post-production, James Earl Jones always dubbed that character's voice.

ADR can also be used to redub singing. This technique was used by, among many others, Billy Boyd and Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of the Rings.

There are variations of the ADR process. It does not have to take place in a post-production studio, but can be recorded on location, with mobile equipment. ADR can also be recorded without showing the actor the image they must match, but only by having him listen to the performance.

Rythmo band

An alternative method, called rythmo band (or "lip-sync band") was historically used in Canada and France. It provides a more precise guide for the actors, directors and technicians and can be used to complement the traditional ADR method. The band is actually a clear 35 mm film leader on which the dialogue is written by hand in India ink, along with numerous additional indications for the actor (laughs, cries, length of syllables, mouth sounds, breaths, mouth openings and closings, etc.). The rythmo band is projected in the studio and scrolls in perfect synchronization with the picture. Thanks to the efficiency of the rythmo band, the number of retakes can be reduced, resulting in substantial savings in recording time. The time saved in the studio comes at the price of a long preparatory process.

The preparation of a rythmo band is a time-consuming process involving a series of specialists organized in an old fashioned production line. Until recently this prevented the technique from being more widely adopted, but software emulations of rythmo band technology overcome the disadvantages of the traditional rythmo band process and significantly reduce the time needed to prepare a dubbing session. Studio time is also used more efficiently, since with the aid of scrolling text, picture, and audio cues actors can read more lines per hour than with ADR alone (only picture and audio). With ADR actors can average 10-12 lines per hour, while with rythmo band they can read from 35-50 lines per hour, and much more with experience.

At present, there exist several dubbing software solutions, among which are dubStudio (developed in Quebec, Canada) and Synchronos (developed in France).

The adding or replacing of non-vocal sounds, such as sound effects, is the task of a foley artist.

Practice of dubbing foreign films throughout the world

Dubbing is often used to localize a foreign movie. The new voice track will usually be spoken by a voice artist. In many countries, most actors who regularly perform this duty are generally little-known outside of popular circles such as anime fandom, for example, or when their voice has become synonymous with the role or the actor or actress whose voice they usually dub. In the United States, many of these actors also employ pseudonyms or go uncredited due to Screen Actors Guild regulations or a simple desire to dissociate themselves from the role. However, famous local actors can also be hired to perform the dubbing, particularly for comedies and animated movies, as their names are supposed to attract moviegoers, and the entire Hollywood cast may be dubbed by a local cast of similar notoriety.


[[File:Dubbing films in Europe.png|thumb|300px|

Countries which occasionally produce own dubbings but generally using dubbing versions of other countries since their languages are quite similar to each other and the audience is also able to understand it without any problems. (Belgiummarker and Slovakiamarker)]]

Dubbing only for children

In North-West Europe—meaning the UKmarker, Irelandmarker, the Netherlandsmarker and Scandinavia—generally only movies and TV shows intended for children are dubbed, while all TV shows and movies for older audiences are subtitled (though animated productions in particular tend to be an exception). For children's movies in cinemas usually both a dubbed and a subtitled version are available.

Since Belgiummarker is a multilingual country, films are shown in French and Dutch. The range of French dubbed versions is approximately as wide as the German range where practically all films and TV-series are dubbed. In the majority of cases Dutch versions are only made for children and youth related films. Sometimes separate versions are recorded in the Netherlandsmarker and in Flanders; for instance several Walt Disney films or Harry Potter films. These dubbing versions only differ from each other from different voice actors and from a different pronunciation while the text is almost the same.

In the United Kingdommarker and Irelandmarker, the vast majority of foreign films are subtitled although some, mostly animated films and TV programmes, are dubbed in English. These usually originate from North America as opposed to being dubbed locally, although there have been notable examples of films and TV programmes successfully dubbed in the UK, such as the Japanese Monkey and French Magic Roundabout series. When airing films on television, channels in the UK and Ireland will often choose subtitling over dubbing, even if a dubbing in English exists. It is also a fairly common practice for animation aimed at pre-school children to be re-dubbed with British voice actors replacing the original voices, although this is not done with shows aimed at older audiences.

Some animated films and TV programmes are also dubbed into Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. Similarly, in Ireland, animated series shown on TG4 are shown dubbed in Irish.

In Finlandmarker, dubbing is exclusively used in young children's cartoons. Cartoon films and other films for children are usually released dubbed in Finnish, although many theaters also screen the original versions. For the 6% Swedish-speaking minority, the dubbed version from Sweden is also made available at certain cinemas, and later on video/DVD. In movie theaters the films have both Finnish and Swedish subtitles, the Finnish printed in basic font and the Swedish printed below the Finnish in cursivated font. In the early ages of television, foreign TV shows and movies were dubbed by one actor in Finland, as in Russian Gavrilov translation. Later, subtitles became a practice also in Finnish television. Dubbing is unpopular in Finland, as in many other countries. A good example is The Simpsons Movie. While the original version was well-received, the Finnish dubbed version got poor reviews; some critics even calling it a disaster.

In Greecemarker, all films are released theatrically in their original versions and contain subtitles. Only cartoon films (e.g. Finding Nemo, The Incredibles etc.) are released in both original and dubbed versions, for children who cannot yet read fast or at all. Foreign TV shows are also shown in their original versions except for most cartoons. For example The Flintstones is always dubbed, while Family Guy is subtitled and contains the original dialogue, since it is mostly for adults rather than children.

In Portugalmarker, only children's TV series are dubbed, and on cable TV even children's series such as Doraemon are subtitled. Animated movies were dubbed in Brazilian Portuguese for decades—The Lion King was the first feature film dubbed in Portugal. Recently, children's live-action movies (such as the Harry Potter series, except for Order of the Phoenix) have also been dubbed into Portuguese. While the quality of these dubs is recognised, original versions with subtitles are usually preferred by the public and they get even distribution in cinemas (Bee Movie is a good example). It is not common practice to dub animation for adults (such as The Simpsons or South Park). When The Simpsons Movie was dubbed and the Portuguese version was widely distributed in cinemas, with some small cities not even getting the original version, there were protests from the public. Live action series and movies are always shown in the original language with subtitles.

In Romaniamarker, virtually all programmes intended for children are dubbed in Romanian, including cartoons on Jetix, Cartoon Network, Minimax as well as those shown on generalist television networks, children-focused series like Power Rangers, The New Addams Family, The Planet's Funniest Animals or movies screened on children television. Animation movies are shown in theaters with Romanian dubbing, but usually those cinemas with more screening rooms also provide the original subtitled version; that was the case for movies like Babe, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Finding Nemo, Cars, Shrek the Third, Ratatouille, Kung Fu Panda or WALL-E. Other foreign TV shows and movies are shown in the original language with Romanian subtitles. Usually subtitles are preferred in the Romanian market, except for programme intended for children. According to "Special Eurobarometer 243" of the European Commission (research carried out in November and December 2005), 62% of Romanians prefer to watch foreign films and programmes with subtitles, rather than dubbed; nonetheless 22% have a preference for dubbing, while 16% declined to answer. This is led by the assumption that watching movies in their original versions is very useful for learning foreign languages. However, according to the Eurobarometer, virtually no Romanian found this method—watching movies in their original version—to be the most efficient way of learning foreign languages, compared to 53 percent who preferred language lessons at school. On the other hand according to the same study watching tv is the most common way for the Romanian population to regularly use their knowledge of foreign languages, which is a requirement for improving language skills.

In Serbiamarker, Croatiamarker, and most other Serbo-Croat speaking parts of former Yugoslaviamarker, foreign films and TV series are always subtitled, while children's movies and cartoons are dubbed into Serbo-Croat. The dubbing of cartoon classics during the 1980s had a twist of its own: famous Belgrade actors provided the voices for Disney's, Warner Brothers', Elmer Fudd, MGM's and other characters, frequently using region specific phrases and sentences and thus adding a dose of local humor to the translation of the original lines. These phrases became immensely popular and are still being used for tongue-in-cheek comments in specific situations. Even though these dubbed classics are seldom aired nowadays, younger generations continue to use these phrases without knowing their true origin.

In Croatiamarker foreign films and TV series are always subtitled, while some children programs and cartoons are dubbed into Croatian. Recently, more efforts have been made to introduce dubbing, but public reception was poor. Regardless of language, Croatian audience prefers subtitling to dubbing. Some previously quite popular shows (e.g., Sailor Moon) lost their appeal completely after dubbing started and were eventually taken off the program. The situation is similar with theater movies with only those intended for children being dubbed (Finding Nemo, Shark Tale), but they are also regularly shown subtitled as well. Recently, there has been effort to try and impose dubbing by Nova TV with La Fea Más Bella translated as Ružna ljepotica (lit. "The Ugly Beauty"), a Mexican telenovela, but it failed poorly. In fact they had only dubbed a quarter of the show, ultimately replacing it with the subtitled version due to lack of interest for the dubbed version.

In Sloveniamarker, all foreign films and television programmes are subtitled without exceptions. Traditionally, children movies and animated cartoons used to be dubbed, but subtitling has gradually spread into that genre as well. Nowadays, only movies for preschool children remain dubbed.

Generally dubbing countries

In the French, German, Spanish and Italian-speaking markets of Europe, virtually all foreign films and television shows are dubbed. There are few opportunities to watch foreign movies in their original versions, and even in the largest cities there are virtually no cinemas that screen original versions with subtitles, or without any translation. However, digital pay-TV programming is often available in the original language, including the latest movies. Prior to the rise of DVDs, which in these countries are mostly issued with multi-language audio tracks, original language films other than in the country's official language were rare, whether in theaters, on TV, or on home video, and subtitled versions were considered a product for small niche markets such as intellectual or art films.

In Francemarker, movies and TV series are always released dubbed in French. Films are usually released theatrically in both dubbed and original versions in large cities' main street theaters, and a theater showing a subtitled movie typically has a sign on the poster advising moviegoers that the film is an original-language version (usually abbreviated VO [version originale] or VOST [version originale sous-titrée] as opposed to VF [version française]). Art house movies are often available in their original version only due to limited distribution. Some voice talents, such as Roger Carel, Richard Darbois, Edgar Givry, Jacques Frantz, Jacques Balutin or Francis Lax, have achieved significant popularity.

The Germanophone dubbing market is the largest in Europe. Germany has the most foreign movie dubbing studios per capita and per given area in the world. In Germanymarker, Austriamarker and the German speaking part of Switzerlandmarker, practically all films, shows, television series and foreign soap operas are shown in dubbed versions created for the German market. (In Switzerland however in every bigger town (10'000 and more inhabitants), both versions are shown, either in the same theatre at different hours/days or in different cinemas.) Even computer games and video games feature German text menus and are dubbed into the German language if there are any speaking parts in the games. However, in recent years, Swiss-German television, SF1 and SF2 have been showing increasing numbers of movies in "dual sound", which means the viewer can choose between the original language (usually English) or German. In addition, Swiss-French television shows many broadcasts available in either the original language or in French, as does the Swiss-Italian television channel TSI. A common example is the American detective series Columbo and other popular series-based broadcasts, such as Starsky and Hutch.

Dubbing films has been and is still tradition and common practice in the German speaking area since subtitles are not accepted and used as much as in other European countries. According to a European study, Austria is the country with the highest rejection (more than 70 percent) with regard to using subtitles, followed by Italy, Spain and Germany.

Although voice actors play only a secondary role, they are still notable for providing familiar voices to well-known actors. Famous foreign actors are known and recognized for their German voice and the German audience is used to them, so dubbing is also a matter of authenticity. However, in larger cities there are theaters where movies can be seen in their original versions as English has become more popular, especially among younger viewers. On German TV, few movies are subtitled, although pay-per-view programming is often available in its original language.

German dubbed versions sometimes diverge greatly from the original, especially adding humorous elements to the original. In extreme cases, like The Persuaders!, the dubbed version was more successful than the English original. Often it also adds sexually explicit gags the U.S. versions might not be allowed to use, like in Bewitched, translating The Do-not-disturb sign will hang at the door tonight to The only hanging thing tonight will be the Do-not-disturb sign.

Some movies dubbed before reunification exist in different versions for the east and the west. They use different translations, and often they are different in the style of dubbing.

In Italymarker the use of dubbing is systematic, with a long tradition going back to the 1930s in Romemarker, Milanmarker and Turinmarker. In Mussolini's fascist Italy, foreign languages were banned. Rome is the principal base of the dubbing industry, where major productions such as movies, drama, documentaries and some cartoons are dubbed. However, in Milan it is mostly cartoons and some minor productions which are dubbed. Practically every American film, of every genre, whether for kids or adults, as well as TV shows, are dubbed into Italian. In big cities original version movies can also be seen. Subtitles are usually available on late night programmes on mainstream TV channels, and on pay-TV all movies are available in English with Italian subtitles, and many shows feature the original English soundtrack. But for fans of dubbing, there are some little-known sites on the Internet that offer the free streaming of movies with their Italian soundtrack. Early in his career, Nino Manfredi worked extensively as a dubbing actor. Furthermore, common practice at one point in Italian cinema was to shoot scenes MOS and dub the dialogue in post-production, a notable example being The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, in which even actors speaking English on screen had to dub in their own voices.

In Latviamarker, dubbing is hugely popular; almost all shows are dubbed.

In the Czech Republicmarker and Slovakiamarker, virtually all foreign films and television programmes shown on television are dubbed, often by well-known actors. In Slovakia often the Czech dub is shown instead of producing a local one. Some audiences prefer the Czech dubs because they are considered to be of higher quality. In both countries dubbing actors often "overact", causing audiences to express views that American films are of low intellectual quality. In cinemas, films are usually shown subtitled, unless they are intended for children of 12 years of age and younger; Slovak law requires that those films be dubbed or rated as MP-12 (roughly equivalent to PG-13, without a cautionary meaning in this case.) . Cinemas sometimes offer both dubbed and subtitled screenings for either very major movie releases (e.g., the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy) that would have otherwise not been dubbed, or conversely for children's films or family films that are expected to also attract mature viewers (e.g., Shrek) to maximize the potential audience. In opinion of many Czech viewers Czech dubbing of some shows (for instance The Simpsons, films with Louis de Funes), provided by popular Czech actors, is better than original voice. In Czech republic there is also common that some actors are dubbed always by one Czech actor, for instance Louis de Funes was almost always dubbed by František Filipovský.

In Spainmarker, practically all foreign television programmes are shown dubbed in Spanish, as are most films. Some dubbing actors have achieved popularity for their voices, like Constantino Romero, who dubs Clint Eastwood, Darth Vader and Schwarzenegger's Terminator, among others.

Mixed areas

In Bulgariamarker, television series are dubbed. But most television channels in Bulgaria use subtitles for the action and drama movies. AXN uses subtitles for its series, but as of 2008 emphasizes dubbing. Only Diema channels dub all programmes. Movies in theaters, excepting films for children, use subtitles. Dubbing of television programs is usually done using voice-overs, but usually with at least four or five actors reading the lines and always trying to give each character a different voice and use appropriate intonations in each sentence. Dubbing with synchronized voices is rarely used, mostly for animated films (with Mrs. Doubtfire being a rare example of a feature film dubbed this way on BNT Channel 1, though a subtitled version is currently shown on other channels). Walt Disney Television's animated series (e.g., DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, Timon and Pumbaa) were only aired with synchronized Bulgarian voices on BNT Channel 1 until 2005, but then the Disney show was canceled. When airing of Disney series resumed on Nova Television and Jetix in 2008, voice-over was used (but Disney animated movie translations still use synchronized voices). Voice-over dubbing is not used in theatrical releases. The Bulgarian Film Industry Law requires all children's films to be dubbed, not subtitled.

In Hungarymarker, practically all television programmes are dubbed, as are about 50 percent of movies in theaters. In the socialist era, every one of them was dubbed with professional and mostly popular actors. Great care was taken to make sure the same voice actor would lend his voice to the same character. In the early 1990s, as cinemas tried to keep up with showing newly released films, subtitling became dominant in cinema. This, in turn, forced TV channels to make their own cheap versions of dubbed soundtracks for the movies they presented, resulting in a constant degrading of dubbing quality. Once this became customary, cinema distributors resumed the habit of dubbing for popular productions, presenting them in a quality varying from very poor to average. However, every single feature is presented with the original soundtrack in at least one cinema in large towns and cities.

There is a more recent problem arising from dubbing included on DVD releases. Many generations have grown up with an original, and by current technological standards outdated soundtrack, which is either technologically (mono or bad quality stereo sound) or legally (expired soundtrack licence) unsuitable for a DVD release. Many original features are released on DVD with a new soundtrack, which in some cases proves to be extremely unpopular, thus forcing DVD producers to include the original soundtrack. In some rare cases the Hungarian soundtrack is left out altogether. This happens notably with Warner Home Video Hungary, who ignored the existence of Hungarian soundtracks completely. This was because they did not want to pay the licensees for the soundtracks to be included on their new DVD releases, which appear with improved picture quality, but very poor subtitling.


In Polandmarker, cinema releases are almost exclusively subtitled, and television screenings of movies, as well as made-for-TV shows, are usually shown with the original soundtrack kept, and translation spoken over by lector — it is almost exactly the same as the so-called Gavrilov translation in Russia. Standard dubbing is not widely popular with most audiences, with the exception of animated and children's movies and shows, which are often dubbed both in cinema and TV releases. One of the major breakthroughs in dubbing was the Polish release of Shrek, which contained many references to local culture and Polish humor. Since then, people seem to have grown to like dubbed versions more, and pay more attention to the dubbing actors. However, this seems to be the case only with animated films, as live-action dubbing is still considered a bad practice. In the case of DVD, most discs contain both the original soundtrack and subtitles, and either lector or dubbed Polish track.

Russian television is generally dubbed with only a couple of voice actors, with the original speech still audible underneath. In the Soviet Unionmarker most foreign movies to be officially released were dubbed. However, with the fall of the regime many popular foreign movies, previously forbidden or at least questionable under communist rule, started to flood in, in the form of low-quality home-copied videos. Being unofficial releases, they were dubbed in a very primitive way, e.g., the translator spoke the text directly over the audio of a video being copied, using primitive equipment. The quality of the resulting dub was very low, the translated phrases were off-sync, interfered with the original voices, background sounds leaked into the track, translation was inaccurate and most importantly, all dub voices were made by a single person and usually lacked the intonation of the original, making comprehension of some scenes quite difficult. In modern Russiamarker, the overdubbing technique is still used in many cases, although with vastly improved quality and now with multiple voice actors dubbing different original voices.


In Spanish-American countries, all foreign language programmes, films, cartoons and documentaries shown in free aired TV channels are dubbed into Neutral Spanish, while in cable and satellite pan-regional channels, filmes are both dubbed or subtitled. In theaters, only films made for children are dubbed into Neutral Spanish (usually with Mexican pronunciation) and sometimes dubbed into local Spanish for major markets like Argentina.

In Mexicomarker, departing from the conventions of other Spanish-speaking Latin American countries, blockbuster films are featured in all movie theaters with dubbing. In addition most of the cinema-theaters, primarily in big cities, offer to show the film in the original language with subtitles. Those who attend the screening of films in the original language are often from middle and upper class backgrounds and tend to find dubbed films to be terrible. Also, most of the movies released as DVD have the feature of Neutral Spanish. On broadcast TV foreign programs are dubbed. dubbing is a legal requirement in movie theaters, documentaries, and for animated and children's movies. In pay TV most shows and movies are subtitled.

In Brazilmarker, foreign programmes are invariably dubbed into Brazilian Portuguese on broadcast TV, with only a few exceptions. Films shown at cinemas are generally offered with both subtitled and dubbed versions, although subtitling is preferential for adult movies and dubbing is preferential for children movies. Pay TV commonly offers both dubbed and subtitled movies, but subtitling is predominant. When released on DVD, all movies usually feature both dubbing and subtitling.

In Quebecmarker, Canadamarker, most films and TV programmes in English are dubbed into Quebec French (with an International French accent for ease of comprehension and regional neutrality). Occasionally, the dubbing of a series or a movie, such as The Simpsons, is made using the more widely-spoken joual variety of Quebec French. This has the advantage of making children's films and TV series comprehensible to younger audiences, but many bilingual Québécois prefer subtitling since they would understand some or all of the original audio. In addition, all films are shown in English as well in certain theaters (especially in major cities and English-speaking areas such as the West Islandmarker), and in fact, some theaters, such as the Scotiabank Cinema Montreal, show only movies in English. Most American television series are only available in English on DVD, or on English language channels, but some of the more popular ones have French dubs shown on mainstream networks, and are released in French on DVD as well, sometimes separately from an English-only version.

Formerly, all French-language dubbed films in Quebec were imported from France, and to this day some still are. Such a practice was criticized by former politician Mario Dumont after he took his children to see the Parisian French dub of Shrek the Third, which Dumont found incomprehensible. After Dumont's complaints and a proposed bill, Bee Movie, the following film from DreamWorks Animation, was dubbed in Quebec, making it the studio's first animated film to have a Quebec French dub, as all DreamWorks Animation films had previously been dubbed in France.. In addition, because Canadian viewers usually find Quebec French more comprehensible than other dialects of the language, some older film series that had the French-language versions of previous installments dubbed in France have later ones dubbed in Quebec, often creating inconsistencies within the French version of the series' canon. Lucasfilm's Star Wars and Indiana Jones series are examples. Both series had films released in the 1970s and 80s with no Québécois French dubbed versions; instead, the Parisian French versions with altered character and object names, terms, etc. were distributed in the province. However, later films in both series released 1999 and later were dubbed in Quebec, using different voice actors and "reversing" name changes made in France's dubbings due to the change in studio.

In the United Statesmarker and most of Canada outside Quebec, dubbing is rare except for animations: televised Japanese anime is almost always aired in its dubbed format regardless of its content or target age group, with the sole exceptions occurring either when an English dub has not been produced for the program (usually in the case of feature films) or when the program is being presented by a network that places importance on presenting it in its original format (as was the case when Turner Classic Movies aired several of Hayao Miyazaki's works, which were presented both dubbed and subtitled). Most anime DVDs contain options for original Japanese, Japanese with subtitles, and English dubbed, except for a handful of series which have been heavily edited and/or Americanized. Usually, Tokusatsu and daikaiju films are dubbed when imported into the U.S.; the poor quality of the dubbing of these films has become the subject of much mockery.

Commercial (non-premium) television networks in the U.S. usually air dubbed versions of foreign-language films and TV series (including live-action). This includes English networks (such as Spike TV) and Spanish networks (such as Telemundo and Telefutura). Even so, non-English or non-Spanish programming is rarely aired on these networks.


Chinamarker has a long tradition of dubbing foreign films into Mandarin Chinese which started in the 1930s. Beginning in the late 1970s, not only films, but popular TV series from the United Statesmarker, Japanmarker and Mexicomarker were also dubbed. The Shanghai Film Dubbing Studio has been the most celebrated one in the dubbing industry in China. In order to generate high-quality products, they divide each film into short segments, each one lasting only a few minutes, and then work on the segments one by one. In addition to the correct meaning in translation, they make tremendous effort to match the lips of the actors. As a result, viewers can hardly detect that the films they are seeing are actually dubbed. The cast of dubbers is acknowledged at the end of a dubbed film. Quite a few dubbing actors and actresses of the Shanghai Film Dubbing Studio became well-known celebrities, among whom are Qiu Yuefeng, Bi Ke, Li Zi, and Liu Guangning. In recent years however, especially in the larger cities on east and south coast, it has become increasingly common that movie theaters show subtitled versions with the original soundtrack intact.

In Hong Kongmarker, foreign television programmes, including English program and Chinese Mandarin program (mostly China & Taiwan), are dubbed in Cantonese, and Japanese programs, including anime, are also dubbed in Cantonese. The only exception is the TVB drama, which is originally Cantonese and is dubbed into Mandarin for distribution in China and Taiwan, but is broadcast in Cantonese in Malaysia, Hong Kong and overseas.

In Thailandmarker, foreign television programmes are dubbed, but the original soundtrack is often simultaneously carried or "simulcast" on the radio. On Pay-TV almost every foreign language movie and television programme is subtitled. Nearly all movie theaters throughout the country show the subtitled version and the dubbed version of English-language movies. In Bangkok, the majority of theaters showing English-language movies are subtitled only. In big cities like Bangkok Thai-language movies have English subtitles.

In Indonesiamarker and Malaysiamarker, South American telenovelas are dubbed, while English language programmes are usually shown in the original language with Indonesian and Malay subtitles, respectively. However, this has recently changed in Malaysia, and South American telenovelas now retain their original language, with Malay subtitles. Most but not all Korean and Japanese dramas are still dubbed in Mandarin with Malay subtitles on terrestrial television channels. Cantonese, Mandarin, Tamil and Hindi programmes are shown in original language all this while, usually with Malay subtitling (and in some cases, multilingual subtitling). Cartoons and anime are also dubbed as well, although English-language cartoons are normally not dubbed, and some anime do retain their original Japanese language. In Indonesia English-language daytime cartoons are mostly dubbed, however on some pay-tv channels like Nickelodeon cartoons aren't dubbed and do not have subtitles. Feature animations are either dubbed or subtitled depending on which television-channel it is shown on.

In the Philippinesmarker, Japanese anime are sometimes dubbed in Filipino. One network, which focuses on anime and tokusatsu shows, has all its foreign programs dubbed in Filipino. Popular also in the Philippines are Chinese, Korean, and Mexican TV programs which are termed Chinovelas, Koreanovelas, and Mexicanovelas, respectively, and all these are also dubbed. The prevalence of media needing to be dubbed has resulted in a talent pool that is very capable of syncing voice to lip, especially for shows broadcast by the country's two largest networks. It is not uncommon in the Filipino dub industry to have most of the voices in a series dubbed by only a handful of voice talents. English language media usually is not dubbed, because Filipinos speak English.

In Mongoliamarker, most television dubbing uses the Russian method, with only a few voice actors, and the original language audible underneath. In movie theaters, foreign films are shown in their original language with Mongolian subtitles underneath.

In Indiamarker, where "foreign films" are synonymous with Hollywood films, dubbing is done mostly in Hindi, the national language, and in a few regional languages like Tamil and Telugu. The finished works are released into the towns and lower tier settlements of the respective states (where English penetration is low), often with the English language originals being released in the metropolitan areas. In all other states, the English originals are released along with the dubbed versions where often the dubbed version collections are outstanding than original. The most recent dubbing of Spider-Man 3 was also done in Bhojpuri, a language popular in northern India.

In Pakistanmarker, almost 60% of the population speaks Punjabi as their mother tongue. Therefore, Punjabi films have more business than Urdu films. The film companies produced Punjabi films and re-record all films in Urdu and released the result as a "Double Version" film.

Also in Pakistanmarker, where "foreign films" are synonymous with Hollywood films, dubbing is done mostly in Urdu, which is the national language, and the finished works are released in the major cities throughout country.

In Vietnammarker, foreign-language films and programs are dubbed on television, usually with just one voice actor. Programs aimed at children might have multiple voice actors. Chinese-language series available on DVD or for rent are dubbed with multiple voice actors, done by overseas Vietnamese. Subtitling is rare.

In multilingual Singaporemarker, English language programmes on the free-to-air terrestrial channels are usually subtitled in Chinese or Malay, while Chinese, Malay and Tamil programmes are almost always subtitled in English. Dual sound programs like Korean and Japanese dramas offer sound in the original languages with subtitles, Mandarin dubbed and subtitled, or English dubbed. The deliberate policy to encourage Mandarin among citizens has led to other Chinese dialects (Hokkien, Cantonese and Teochew) programmes being dubbed into Mandarin, exceptions being traditional operas. In a recent development, news bulletins are subtitled.

Middle East

In Iranmarker, dubbing started in 1946 with the advent of movies and cinemas in the country. Since then, foreign movies have always been dubbed for the cinema and TV. Using various voice actors and adding local hints and witticisms to the original contents, dubbing played a major role in attracting people to the cinemas and interesting them in other cultures. The dubbing art in Iran reached its culminant point during the 1960s and 1970s with the inflow of American, European and Hindi movies. The most famous musicals of the time, such as My fair lady and The Sound of Music were translated, adjusted and performed in Persian by the voice talents. After the 1978 revolution, the dubbing industry has declined, with movies dubbed only for the state TV channels. During recent years DVDs with Persian subtitles have found a market among the educated, but most people still prefer Persian-spoken versions.


The Maghreb

In Algeriamarker and Moroccomarker, most foreign movies (especially Hollywood productions) are shown with French dubbing. These movies are usually imported directly from French film distributors. The choice of movies dubbed into French can be explained by the colonization past of these countries and the widespread use of the French language (mainly among the intellectual elite) in addition to the marginalization of national languages (mainly Arabic and other Berber languages). Another important factor is that local theaters and private media companies do not dub in local languages to avoid high costs compared to small local markets. Starting from the 1980s, dubbed series and movies for children in Modern Standard Arabic became a popular choice among most TV channels, cinemas and VHS/DVD stores. But it should be noted that dubbed films are still imported and dubbing is performed in other Arab countries with strong tradition of dubbing and subtitling (mainly Syriamarker, Lebanonmarker and Jordanmarker). The evolution of movies targeting the adult audience was different. After the satellite boom in the Arab World and the emergence of Pan-Arab channels, the use of subtitles, which was already popular in the Middle-East, was highly popular among local viewers in Algeria and Morocco.

In Tunisiamarker, theaters usually show French dubbed movies, but cinema attendance in the country for such movies is in continuous decline compared to Tunisian and Arab movies. This decline can be traced to the huge popularity of free-to-air Pan-Arab movie channels offering mainly subtitled content and the government's reduced efforts to limit piracy. Tunisia National Television (TNT), the public broadcaster of Tunisia, is not allowed to show any content in any language other than Arabic, which forced it to broadcast only dubbed content (this restriction was lately removed for commercials). During the 1970s and 1980s, TNT (known as ERTT at the time) started dubbing famous cartoons in Tunisian and Standard Arabic. This move was highly successful locally, but was not able to compete with mainstream dubbing companies (especially in the Middle East). In the private sector, television channels are not subject to the language rule and sometimes broadcast foreign content dubbed into French (excluding children content), although some of them, such as Hannibal TV started adopting subtitling in Arabic instead, which proved to be more popular than simply importing French dubbed content.

South Africa

In South Africa, many television programmes, including The Six Million Dollar Man, were dubbed in Afrikaans, with the original soundtrack (usually in English, but sometimes Dutch or German) "simulcast" in FM stereo on Radio 2000. However, this practice has declined as a result of the reduction of airtime for the language on SABC TV, and the increase of locally produced material in Afrikaans on other channels like KykNet and MK. Similarly, many programmes, such as The Jeffersons, were dubbed into Zulu, but this has declined as local drama production has increased.


In common with other English-speaking countries, there has traditionally been little dubbing in Australia, with foreign language television programmes and films being shown (usually on SBS) with subtitles. This has also been the case in New Zealandmarker, but the Maori Television Service, launched in 2004, has dubbed animated films, like Watership Down, into Maori. However, some TV commercials which originated from foreign countries are dubbed, even if the original commercial came from another English-speaking country.

Insistence on subtitling

Subtitles can be used instead of dubbing, as different countries have different traditions regarding the choice between dubbing and subtitling. In most English-speaking countries, dubbing is comparatively rare. In Israelmarker, some programmes need to be comprehensible to speakers of both Hebrew and Arabic or Russian. This cannot be accomplished with dubbing, so subtitling is much more commonplace—sometimes even with subtitles in multiple languages, with the soundtrack remaining in the original language, usually English. The same also applies to certain television shows in Finlandmarker, where Finnish and Swedish are both official languages.

In the Netherlandsmarker, Flanders, Nordic countries and Estoniamarker, films and television programmes are shown in the original language (usually English) with subtitles, and only cartoons and children movies and programs are dubbed, such as the Harry Potter series, Finding Nemo, Shrek, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc. Cinemas usually show both a dubbed version and one with subtitles for this kind of movie, with the subtitled version shown later in the evening.

In Portugalmarker this has traditionally also been the case (at least for live-action material), but one terrestrial channel, TVI, dubs U.S. series like Dawson's Creekmarker into Portuguese. RTP also transmitted Friends in a dubbed version, but it was poorly received and later re-aired in a subtitled version. Cartoons, on the other hand, are usually dubbed, sometimes by well-known actors, even on TV. Animated movies are usually released to the cinemas in both subtitled and dubbed versions.

On DVDs with higher translation budgets, the option for both types will often be provided to account for individual preferences; purists often demand subtitles. For small markets (small language area or films for a select audience) subtitling is more suitable because it is cheaper. For films for small children who cannot yet read, or do not read fast enough, dubbing is necessary.

In Argentinamarker, terrestrial channels air films and TV series in a dubbed version, as demanded by law. However, those same series can be seen on cable channels at more accessible timeslots in their subtitled version, and usually before they are shown on open TV. In contrast, the series The Simpsons is aired in its Mexican dubbed version both on terrestrial television and on the cable station Fox, which broadcasts the series for the area. Although the first season of the series appeared with subtitles, this was not continued for the following seasons.

Apart from airing dubbed TV series (for example, Lost, ER and House) the Argentinian open TV station Canal 13 has bought the rights to produce and air a "ported version" of Desperate Housewives in Argentina, with local actors and actresses.

Use in video games

With recent video games placing a heavy emphasis on dialogue, many video games, when translated into another language for the foreign markets of North America, Japanmarker and/or Europe and sometimes Australia, are also dubbed into the market's main languages. Because characters' mouth movements are often part of the game's code, lip sync is often achieved by re-coding the mouth movements to match the dialogue in the new language.

For the European version of a game, the text of the game is available in various languages, and in many cases, the dialogue is dubbed into the respective languages as well.

The American version of any game is always available in English with translated text and dubbed dialogue if necessary, as well as in other languages in some cases, especially if the American version of the game contains the same data as the European version. Because the English voice casts of many Japanesemarker games are perceived negatively, some Japanese games, such as those in the Sonic the Hedgehog and Soulcalibur series, include the original Japanese audio as well as an English translated version.

Other uses

Dubbing is occasionally used on network television broadcasts of films which have dialogue that the network executives or censors have decided to replace; this is usually done to remove profanity. In most cases, the original actor does not perform this duty; instead, an actor with a similar voice is called in. The results are sometimes seamless, but in many cases the voice of the replacement actor sounds nothing like the original performer, which becomes particularly noticeable when extensive dialogue needs to be replaced. Also, often easy to notice, is the sudden absence of background sounds in the movie during the dubbed dialogue. Among the films considered notorious for using substitute actors that sound very different from their theatrical counterparts are the Smokey and the Bandit and the Die Hard film series as shown on broadcasters such as TBS. In the case of Smokey and the Bandit, extensive dubbing was done for the first network airing on ABC Television in 1978, especially for Jackie Gleason's character, Buford T. Justice. The dubbing of his phrase "Sombitch" became the more palatable (and memorable) "Scum Bum", which became a catchphrase of the time.

Dubbing is commonly used in science fiction television as well. Sound generated by effects equipment such as animatronic puppets or by actors' movements on elaborate multi-level plywood sets (e.g., starship bridges or other command centers) will quite often make the original character dialogue unusable. Stargate and Farscape are two prime examples where ADR is used heavily to produce usable audio.

Since some anime series contain some amount of profanity, the studios recording the English dubs often re-record certain lines if a series or movie is going to be broadcast on Cartoon Network, removing references to death and hell as well. Some companies will offer both an edited and an uncut version of the series on DVD, so that there is an edited script available in case the series is broadcast. Other companies also edit the full-length version of a series, meaning that even on the uncut DVD characters say things like "Blast!" and "Darn!" in place of the original dialogue's profanity. Bandai Entertainment's English dub of G Gundam is infamous for this, among many other things, with such lines as "Bartender, more milk".

Dubbing has also been used for comedic purposes, replacing lines of dialogue to create comedies from footage that was originally another genre. Examples include the Australian shows The Olden Days and Bargearse, redubbed from 1970s Australian drama and action series, respectively, and the Irish show Soupy Norman, redubbed from :pl:Pierwsza miłość, a Polish soap opera.

Dubbing into a foreign language does not always entail the deletion of the original language; in some countries, a performer may read the translated dialogue as a voiceover. This often occurs in Russiamarker and Polandmarker, where "lektories" or "lektors" read the translated dialogue into Russian and Polish. In Poland, a single person reads all parts of the performance, both male and female. However, this is done almost exclusively for the television and home video markets, while theatrical releases are usually subtitled. Recently, however, the number of high-quality, fully dubbed films has increased, especially for cartoons and children's movies. If a quality dubbed version exists for some film, it is shown in theaters (however, some films, such as Harry Potter or Star Wars, are shown in both dubbed and subtitled versions varying with the time of the show) as well as on TV (although some channels drop it and do standard one narrator translation) and VHS/DVD. In other countries, like Vietnammarker, the voiceover technique is also used for theatrical releases.

In Russia, the reading of all lines by a single person is referred to as a Gavrilov translation, and is generally found only in illegal copies of films and on cable television. Professional copies always include at least two actors of opposite gender translating the dialogue. Some titles in Poland have been dubbed this way, too, but this method lacks public appeal so it is very rare now.

On special occasions, such as film festivals, live interpreting is often done by professionals. See also dubtitle.

Criticism and defense of dubbing

Dubbing has been criticized in several ways, particularly in countries where it is not common practice.

Those who dislike dubbing sometimes claim that it devalues films or TV programs, as original soundtracks are closer to what the director intended. The humorous effect of Inspector Clouseau's accent is, of course, entirely lost if dubbed in French. Some consider that the body language of Italianmarker actors make their performances particularly ill-suited to dubbing, as foreign post-synchronization often destroys much of the original Italian language's feeling. Comedy performers such as Peter Sellers, Louis de Funès, Steve Martin or Roberto Benigni are considered to lose much of their impact when dubbed into foreign languages, as the humorous effect resulting from the interaction between their voices and bodies is partially lost. Some feel that dubbing can make the film or program less authentic. For example, Germanmarker officers in WWII movies can be distracting to some if not speaking German, while in the German-dubbed versions of these films, the contrast between Germans and speakers of other languages is lost. The best example here is from the Indiana Jones movies, where the German characters had to be dubbed by native Germans for the German release. For the later re-release of the movies for television and DVD, the dubbed lines were retained in the soundtrack to make it sound more authentic. In films (usually English films) in which an actor is originally speaking German, the original German speaking actor is often dubbed into other German dialects for example Eastern German dialects, Austro-Bavarian German or Swiss German, as was done with Üter Zörker from The Simpsons, who is a German in the English version, but a Swiss in the German version.

Likewise, some claim it is distracting in English dubbed anime when many characters speak in North American accents, which may not match their ethnicity and nationality or the time and setting of the story. Similarly, in dubbed versions the different accents of the protagonists may be important to the story (for example in Upstairs, Downstairs, portraying the lives of an upper-class London family and their servants in the early 20th century) but cannot always be adequately reproduced in certain languages. In addition, a significant part of an actor's performance consists of his vocal inflections. Very often, memorable lines from popular films are frequently quoted, not for their substance, but for the way they were spoken; a good example is a famous sentence uttered by Jack Nicholson in the film A Few Good Men: "You can't handle the truth!" For these reasons, some may feel they miss part of a film's artistic value when watching it dubbed into another language. Also, lip synchronization is normally lost when dubbing, even with quality dubbing between closely related languages. There are examples of films which have been reshot or reanimated to remedy this problem. The dubbing of many television series is often criticized: the French dubbing of Dynasty and many American soap operas was and still is considered especially poor and ill-synchronized, and in addition it sometimes appears as if the dubbing was filmed with the camera on a different setting.

Dubbing performers are occasionally known to take liberties with some works they do not hold in particular esteem, or consider to be exploitation films. The Frenchmarker dubbing of the anime Fist of the North Star is notorious, as the performers disliked the violence of the series so much that, after post-synchronizing a few episodes, they only agreed to continue their work if they could turn the show into a spoof. This resulted in episodes full of idiotic puns, absurd dialogue and extreme overacting by everybody. This dubbing has gathered a cult following in France for that precise reason, although many anime fans consider it highly disrespectful to the original work.

Another example is the German dub of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The people responsible for the dub deemed Monty Python's humour unsuitable for a German audience (which was disproven by the huge success of Monty Python in Germany up to the present day, the group having even produced a German-language TV show and actually speaking the language in it) and introduced a lot of awkward puns into the dialogue, whereby they often completely killed the original humour. However, this practice was a success with The Persuaders!, where Tony Curtis' and Roger Moore's suddenly very humorous dialogue generated a cult following in Germany, whereas the series was not as well received in its original country, England.

Perhaps one of the most notorious example is all anime dubbed by 4Kids Entertainment in the U.S., such as One Piece. Not only are the American voice actors ill-received by the anime fanbase, but many awkward puns are inserted, names and settings are changed, edits are made to make the show suitable for a younger audience, and some or all of the original music is changed. The dubs are popular with young children, but almost universally disliked by anime fans.

Occasionally, dubbing teams can show some disregard for the meaning and setting of the movies, regardless of their perceived quality. The French version of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral renames Wyatt Earp "Edward Thorpe", as Earp's name is difficult to pronounce in French. Since Wyatt Earp is not familiar to French audiences as a historical figure, the adaptators did not feel bound to retain his name.

Defenders of dubbing maintain that subtitling interferes with the visual experience, as it obscures part of the picture. Some people also find that the act of reading itself is distracting, especially in pictures that rely on subtle motion: one would be too busy reading the subtitles to pay attention to what everyone is doing. In other cases, viewers may not consider subtitling (and alternate forms of translation) to be distracting or inadequate; rather, they simply chose to listen to dubbed versions as a matter of personal preference. These people sometimes argue that as long as dubbing does not prevent others from viewing programs in the language format that they chose, it has its merit simply because there are people who enjoy dubbing. Another defense for dubbing is that it works better in action movies, in particular scenes involving special effects with occasional dialog, since subtitles distract from the action or effects.

In many European countries, Hollywood movies are regularly dubbed and some people maintain that a creative translation (not necessarily faithful to the original English words) can occasionally bring additional fun and depth to films. English-language series such as The Persuaders! and Starsky and Hutch are highly popular in Francemarker for their talented dubbing. The French version of The Persuaders! was in fact a translation of the German version instead of the English original—and was also successful. It also frequently included remarks about the series itself like "Junge, lass doch die Sprüche, die setzen ja die nächste Folge ab!" ("Stop those jokes, or they'll cancel the series!") or about the dubbing: "Du musst jetzt etwas schneller werden, sonst bist du nicht synchron" ("Talk faster, or you won't be in sync any more").

In Hungarymarker, it is common for translators to create a Hungarian text which rhymes for comedies and cartoons, using well-known local actors to provide the reading voices. The most famous example is perhaps the The Flintstones, with its entire Hungarian text in rhymes.

In many cases, dubbing of films or series involves the addition of dialogue where there previously was none. This often happened during the dubbing of anime for television. Extended silent scenes with no dialogue are often used for dramatic effect in anime, as in live action. This is typically considered too slow-paced for North American children's cartoons where dialogue is considered the most important element. This was commonly seen in early anime dubs such as Robotech or Voltron, where narration or character voiceovers (an animated equivalent to "thought balloons" in comics) would fill in silence. American cartoons are known for rarely having scenes without background music due to the same concerns over slow pacing. Therefore, in anime dubs, background music would also be edited into scenes that previously contained no background music.

Dubbing the same language several times

In the case of languages with large communities (like English, Chinese, German, Spanish or French), a single translation may sound foreign to some groups, or even all of them. This is why a film may be translated to a certain language more than once: for example, the animated movie The Incredibles was translated to European Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Venezuelan Spanish and Rioplatense Spanish. However, people from Chilemarker and Uruguaymarker clearly noticed a strong porteño accent from most of the characters of the Rioplatense Spanish translation. Another example is the French dubbing of The Simpsons, which is entirely different in Quebecmarker and Francemarker, the humor being highly different for each audience (see Non-English versions of The Simpsons). Audiences in Quebec are generally critical of France's dubbing of The Simpsons, which they often do not find amusing. The French-language Télétoon network once aired the Quebec Simpsons dub, as well as Parisian French dubs of Futurama and Family Guy, which were both similar to the Parisian Simpsons dub. The two latter shows have since been taken off the network (probably due to a lack of popularity), while The Simpsons continues its run on Télétoon. The Quebec French dubbing of films, while generally made in accent-less Standard French, often sounds peculiar to audiences in France, because of the persistence of some regionally neutral expression which may not sound quite natural to all audiences, and because Quebec French performers pronounce Anglo-Saxon names with an American accent, while French performers do not. Occasionally, for reasons of cost, American direct-to-video films, such as the 1995 film When the Bullet Hits the Bone, are released in France with a Quebec French dubbing, sometimes resulting in what some members of French audiences perceive as unintentional humor.

Portugalmarker and Brazilmarker also use different versions of dubbed films and series. Because dubbing has never been very popular in Portugalmarker, for decades children films and television series were distributed using the good-quality Brazilian dub. Only in the 1990s dubbing began to gain importance in Portugal, thanks to the popularity of dubbed series like Dragon Ball. The Lion King became the first Disney feature film to be completely dubbed into European Portuguese, and subsequently all major animation films and series gained European Portuguese versions. In recent DVD releases, most of these Brazilian-dubbed classics were released with new Portuguese dubs, eliminating the predominance of Brazilian Portuguese dubs in Portugal.

The German speaking area which includes Germanymarker, Austriamarker, the German speaking part of Switzerlandmarker and Liechtensteinmarker share together one common German dubbing version. Although there are sometimes some differences concerning some local words or the pronunciation of some words, there's no need to dub into their own versions because all films, shows and series are still dubbed into one single German version made for the German speaking audience irrespective of any geographical borders. Most voice actors are primarily Germans and Austrians since here there has been a long tradition of dubbing films. Switzerlandmarker which has four official languages (German, French, Italian, Romansh) generally use the dubbed versions made in its respective countries (except for Romansh). Liechtensteinmarker is using German dubbed versions only.

Sometimes it occurs that films get also dubbed into several German dialects

e.g. (Berlinerisch, Kölsch, Saxonianmarker, Austro-Bavarian or Swiss German) which concerns especially animated films or Disney films. It's rather made for amusement and as an additional "special feature" for making the audience buying it. Popular animated films which were dubbed into German dialects were Asterix films (in addition to its standard German version, every film has a particular dialect version), The Little Mermaid, Shrek 2, Cars (+ Austrian German) or Up (+ Austrian German).
But there are also real films or TV-series which have an additional German dubbing: Babe and its sequel Babe: Pig in the City (Germany German, Austrian German, Swiss German); Rehearsal for Murder, Framed (+ Austrian German).TV-series: The Munsters, Serpico, Rumpole (+ Austrian German); The Thorn Birds(only Austrian German dubbing).

Before the German reunification, East Germanymarker also made its own particular German version. For example: Olsen Gang or the Hungarianmarker animated series The Mézga Family were dubbed twice. So you got the opportunity to see a quality comparison.

The many martial arts movies from Hong Kongmarker that were imported under the unofficial banner Kung Fu Theater were notorious for their seemingly careless dubbing which included poor lip sync and awkward dialogue. Since the results were frequently unintentionally hilarious, this has become one of the hallmarks that endear these films to part of the 1980s culture.

While the voice actors involved usually bear the brunt of criticisms towards poor dubbing, other factors may include script translation and audio mixing. A literal translation of dialogue typically contains speech patterns and sentence structure that are native to the foreign language but would appear awkward if translated literally. English dubs of Japanese animation, for example, must rewrite the dialogue so that it flows smoothly and follows the natural pattern of English speech. Voice actors in a dubbing capacity typically do not have the luxury of viewing the original film with the original voice actor and thus have little idea on how to perform the role. Also, on some occasions, voice actors record their dialogue separately, which lacks the dynamics gained from performing as a group.

New technology

It is now becoming possible to overcome some of the problems associated with dubbing using new technology. An application developed at New York Universitymarker, known as Video Rewrite, uses computer animation to match lip movements with the new voice track. In a video clip made using this technology, John F. Kennedy appears to be saying "Video Rewrite gives lip-synced movies".

Media Movers, Inc., a dubbing company, has developed a piece of proprietary software which can automatically sync ADR/dubbed tracks with pre-defined algorithms.

TM Systems received Emmy awards in 2002 and 2007 for their dubbing and subtitling software.


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