On The Subject of Dubbing


I’m going to take this time to explain my stance on dubbing, since some have had misconceptions in the past.

Anyone who knows me knows that I abhor dubbing. I never watch anything dubbed if I can avoid it; I will always prefer subtitles. In the past, I’ve been accused of being a weeaboo due to the fact that I hate dubbing. I cannot dispute the claim of a weeb, however my disdain for dubbing has nothing to do with that or anything Japanese.

If you know me, then you should also know that film is one of my biggest passions. Of course it is, seeing as how I am pursuing a degree in digital filmmaking to hopefully have a career in the filmmaking industry. So I have a passion for film, for cinema, and anyone who also makes film their passion should also know that cinema is worldwide. It’s not isolated to the most developed and well off countries like America and Europe, it’s everywhere.

To fully embrace cinema is to also embrace the cinema of each individual country. This is where my dislike of dubbing comes into play. I feel like it’s an offense to those filmmakers to have their film be dubbed into another language, when subtitles are easily understandable. The director is supposed to be in charge of everything that goes into his picture, but in almost all cases, the original director has nothing to do with deciding a dub cast, or directing the dub actors towards his vision.

Because the director has no input in this process, the original vision of the film gets distorted, even if the people in charge of the dub try their best it will still be directed by their interpretation of the original film and the language. If film really is truth at 24 frames a second like Goddard said, then dubbing filters and warps that truth into something that is subjective and unreal.

However, this does not pertain to just film: video games are increasingly becoming more like film and as such I believe this should pertain to them as well. I think I would actually include every piece of work from every individual country in this rule. If you experience something that is no longer pure, then you are not getting the full experience. Why would you want to rob yourself of the best experiences in life?


2 Responses to “On The Subject of Dubbing”

  1. Alexander Says:

    I think your argument is inherently sound, but you have to acknowledge that subtitles also heavily distort the original production. Everything from bad translations to liberties taken with the localization contribute to delivering a vastly different experience from the base product. In addition, just the act of dividing one’s attention between subtitles and action may interfere with the experience in a detrimental manner.

    There are a lot of hurdles to jump through if one is to properly appreciate foreign media.

    • Demerson Says:

      This is true, however, subtitles, even when they are inaccurate, will always be preferred simply because you can still actually hear the original language. This makes it so if the subtitles are badly translated or simply false, at least people who have some knowledge of the language will be able to discern what is actually being said.

      Something I also wanted to address but forgot to include in the original post: there are people who claim that subtitles take away from the action of the film, that they focus too much on reading the subtitles and miss looking at the film. This is only true if you haven’t seen many subtitled movies, because as you watch more subtitled things, your eyes become more used to them and you need to focus less and less to read them while paying attention to the action and the actors.

      There is no reason to prefer dubbing over subbing. I would put forth the claim that anyone prefers dubbing over subbing is just simply ignorant.

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