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Subtitles or dubbing?

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Posted on 14 Jan 2011 17:20:13 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jan 2011 17:23:26 GMT
Great discussion people,one of the best i have read on amazon yet so i am going to add my two pence.For me its subtitles every time.I am a massive war film fan and have watched German,French,Czech,Finnish,Russian,Mandarin,Italian,Japanese..........I could go on.I prefer to see a film as the director intended it.I am a quick reader so tend to find it easy so long as the subtitles are displayed in a clear manner and at correct times.Attack on Leningrad is one film where the subtitles are really small and difficult to read.Subtitled films also help me brush up my language skills(German and French).At least with subtitles you can hear the artists voice and if the film is that good you will probably watch it again and being more familliar with the screenplay you may just spot something you had not before.I just find the awful mismatched voices in dubbing really irritating and the same goes for bad lip synching.Stalingrad may be a great film but believe me as soon as a dvd is released with subtitles my current copy will be used as a coaster.Keep the posts coming guys but i think that subtitles would win in a vote.

Posted on 21 Jan 2011 23:12:46 GMT
Subtitles 100% of the time. If you hate subtitles you hate cinema IMO.

Posted on 22 Jan 2011 16:39:22 GMT
ZetecTurbo says:
Subtitles only for me. I've even been known to watch English films with the subs on. Happy to read subtitles but RARELY ever read a book! Strange hmm?

Posted on 25 Jan 2011 21:43:18 GMT
Subtitles wins every time! I watch mostly foreign language films most of the time and I hate dubbing with a vengence. It detracts form teh performance. You do have to actually watch the film and not multitask as someone mentioned but hey - if a film is worth watching it deserves your attention. My favourite films I watch many times and I like it when you begin to pick up and learn key words and phrases in the language over time. An added bonus picking up some extra foreign lanuguage words.

I have found Hong Kong films seem to be the films which seem to more frequently have poor or inaccurate subtitles but it is worth it for the enjoyment of the films and performances - plus it is a thousand times better than the dubbed versions which are just dire and spoil the films.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Feb 2011 16:42:36 GMT
I totally agree. I have no problems reading the dialogue while watching the foreign films I love to see as long as the subtitles are readable and most of the time they are but there have been times when the subtitles were white on white or just poorly done and it was most ignoring but I can't stand dubbed films, it ruins the whole experience and joy of the viewing.

Posted on 10 Feb 2011 17:56:02 GMT
Take that classic war film Das Boot which comes in a number of formats although I don't think the original theatre release is still available.....the one to get is the uncut mini-series weighing in at 4 hrs 42 minutes in German with English subs (pun intended).

I can't imagine what a dubbed version would sound like and I don't think I want to know as undoubtedly it would detract from the cinematic landscape that Wolfgang Peterson has brilliantly painted,to wit, the fear,tension and the claustrophobia endured by these brave submariners.The original release in the U.S. was called The Boat although it was soon changed to Das Boot which sounds more menacing and is far far better.Top grossing subtitled film everywhere including the U.S.

Posted on 2 Mar 2011 17:04:36 GMT
747Rick says:
Subtitles win for me. I love hearing how the film was originally intended and I have no problem reading them. When watching foreign language films I often watch first with subtitles and then again without. I will however occasionally watch a film with dubbing for a laugh, especially if with friends. But very rarely do I find a film that has been dubbed adequately. When looking for films to buy it is very important for me to make sure, if available, that I get a version with suitable subtitles. Great Thread by the way.

Posted on 6 May 2011 22:49:12 BDT
I hate dubbing on films. I find it distracting and half the times what is dubbed has no relation to what has actually been said. Also you lose the background sounds from the film so for me subtitles all the way. Could you imagine a classic like Fearless or Infernal Affairs dubbed. The actors have good voices so lets here them in the original way the director intended and if your too lazy to read them why watch in the first place.

Posted on 7 May 2011 13:14:20 BDT
Dan Filson says:
I wish ALL films had both subtitles in the same language as the film and subtitles for the hard of hearing (which also detail some sound effects where they are key to the film). I find it heard sometimes to understand dialogue where the actors mumble. I agree that sometimes American subtitles are weaker than European-created subtitles, but there are many exceptions.

Posted on 4 Aug 2011 16:47:05 BDT
Octavian says:
Living in Montpellier I have to put up with all foreign programmes being dubbed. It is hilarious watching some Britis and American TV dramas, that you've known for a while and hear the voices they've put to them. So it's subtitles for me always. I want to hear the vocal expressions in the original language. This was truly highlighted when watching the original versions of the Millenium Trilog.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Aug 2011 17:04:37 BDT
Fiona says:
Do you think you could make your posts a little shorter?

Posted on 10 Aug 2011 18:46:25 BDT
Subtitles, I can't stand dubbing because when they have facial close-ups I get distracted watching to see if the mouth movement matches the words being said. I do have a couple of Japanese movies with no subtitles, its an interesting experience watching a movie without understanding dialog.

Posted on 12 Aug 2011 09:38:15 BDT
T. P. Weldon says:
Normally I abhor dubbed movies but I would love to buy the dvd of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec for my grandsons, but it their reading skills are not yet sufficient to take in sub titles. Possibly for films suitable for young children a dubbed option could be available on dvds.

Posted on 16 Aug 2011 18:28:46 BDT
vijayasurya says:
For a Foreign film sub title is a must.If you know how to read fast thee is no problem or distraction.

Posted on 29 Sep 2011 12:22:13 BDT
Zoe Baker says:
Subtitles every time. I would rather not watch a film than watch a dubbed version.

Posted on 29 Oct 2011 12:50:04 BDT
A lot depends on the quality of the translation and dubbing artists. Having lived in a non-English speaking country most of my adult life, I have a great deal of experience. A good dub doesn't get in the way, and looks and feels almost like the original. Subtitles can be very distracting, unless you are watching the original language with subtitles in that language.

Posted on 30 Oct 2011 03:08:31 GMT
Sin duda me quedo con SUBTITULOS ya que no se pierde la intencion del lenguaje del original.
Aprovecho de sugerir quen el Amazon del Reino Unido que tienen peliculas maravillosas; no tienen subtitulos en español
!!!!!Por Que!!!! les ruego traten de incorporar este idioma de subtitulos.

Posted on 1 Nov 2011 12:25:54 GMT
Both! I like to have a choice. But overall, subtitled is best.

Posted on 3 Nov 2011 13:51:54 GMT
What I find difficult are the subtitles that are added in the US for American audiences - they are usually poorly translated to cater for the politically correct attitudes in the USA. In general, I am torn between dub and sub. In some cases they are both very well done, e.g. The Millennium Trilogy (the proper version not the pathetic dumbed down Hollywood remake) where the dub was, I think, made by the original actors so the timing was correct and the subs were good too.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Nov 2011 18:12:29 GMT
VCBF (Val) says:
There are lots of great Spanish and Latin American films with subtitles in English, so you have my sympathy that it is not reciprocated.
I would have thought the market was big enough, so you should complain to the distributors and get all your friends to complain as well, after all there are more people with Spanish as their first language than English.

Posted on 20 Dec 2011 14:13:48 GMT
P. Aj Smith says:
Dubbing is awful! Bondarchuks War & Peace and Nils Gaup's Pathfinder must be two of the worst dubbed films in history, the first dubbed in appaling American accents, the later sounding like a collection of surfer dudes aping Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. It totally destroyed the experience for me when both these films were released on VHS in dubbed form, I binned them both. Thankfully both were released in U.K and Germany with their original soundtrack.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Dec 2011 11:20:26 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Dec 2011 22:20:59 GMT
J. J. Green says:
I've come across this German idea of adding some extra jokes to translations. I find it enormously disrespectful to the original creators -- suppose you were to read the English translations of Kafka or Goethe and find that the translator had added a few fart jokes in there. If you want to be a screenwriter, then go to screenwriters' school and learn the trade!

Posted on 6 Feb 2012 00:48:35 GMT
xman says:
Subtitles all the time. you get the feel of the words, the power of delivery and the emotions. Sorry to sound like a wanka, (lol) - but I just love the acting, the story and that bit of the brain you have to use to connect everything. Used to have a bf who would read out the subtitles, ina very strong Manchester accent...... it didn't last!

Posted on 31 Mar 2012 02:55:09 BDT
I watch a lot of foreign films films in various languages and prefer the subtitles every time. The only exceptions are the old Hong Kong films where the dubbing was so bad it was funny.

Posted on 10 Apr 2012 12:56:44 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Apr 2012 20:22:48 BDT
I live in Germany where the dubbing (sychronisation) of films is the norm. Although I speak fluent German, I prefer to watch english language films in english. In my opinion the heart of the movie is often lost through dubbing. Although German synchronisation is usually thorough and professional (as one might expect) sometimes small things like breathing or sighs are overdone and this just does not sound
natural. An example of one recent movie where dubbing spoils it completely is the film "Die eiserne Lady" (The Iron Lady) with Meryl Streep. Her original voice performance is an essential part of the movie, which is completely lost on the average German punter. Granted not many in Germany will be overly familar with Mrs. T's dulcet tones, but to me the soul of the movie is largely lost through sychronisation. The same goes for a movie like "The King's Speech". There are, I'm sure, many more examples. Put it another way, when I watch "Inspector Montalbano" in Italian with subtitles on the BBC, a very Italian flavour comes across and although I'd admittedly be totally lost without the subtitles, I feel they do not detract from the movie as much as dubbing would.
One very noticeable side effect of this tendency to sychronise almost all movies on TV and in cinemas here in Germany is that Germans often speak a very stilted English compared to many of their smaller European neighbours (such as Swedes, the Dutch or Belgians). Their English tends to be far more fluent and natural sounding because they are used to hearing it on TV from childhood . I know this from personal experience because I work with Swedish, Dutch and Belgian colleagues and their knowledge, grasp and range of English is far better than that of many German colleagues. Fortunately, it is now increasingly possible in Germany to watch select movies (whether they be in English or another language) in the so-called OV (Original Version) or OmU (Original mit Untertiteln = Original version with subtitles) in larger city cinemas.
I contributed to a similar forum on the German amazon website a couple of years back and I was subjected to incredible abuse by some forum members because I dared suggest that some people might widen their horizons by giving subtitled english language movies in Germany a chance. I am not in any way advocating a kind of English language imperialism, or the use of so-called "Denglish" ( literally Deutsch-English, i.e. English terms mixed with German such as voten = to vote, performen = to perform, Shoppen etc.), it is just I can see that language used in its natural setting can be of real advantage in learning and appreciating other cultures. This applies to English-speaking persons in other countries as much as it does to non-native english speakers in the UK, US or wherever.
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Initial post:  7 Feb 2010
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