Dubbing and Localization
Dubbing and Localization
November 22, 2012
UN Arabic Language Day
December 18, 2012

Dubbing and Subtitling: The Battle Of The Voices

Dubbing and Subtitling

On our last article we talked about dubbing and subtitling. Coincidentally, we found a very interesting article in La Nación, an Argentine newspaper, addressing the topic. At JR Language, we believe it is important that the translation community is aware of what is happening in the industry around the world. Here, we will highlight the facts of the issue and the opinion of the writer, Marcelo Stiletano: 

The Change from Subtitling to Dubbing

One of I.Sat channels’, namely Cinecanal, announced a year ago in Argentina that they will no longer offer subtitling and that all of its programming will be dubbed. It is a controversy that has been around since and does not seem to be resolving. Up until that moment, Argentina had an almost unanimous preference for subtitling. Premium channels were subtitled constituting the main difference between paid and free TV programming. According to Stiletano: more knowledgeable viewers, eager for new things always prefer subtitles[…]it provides a wider view of the world, the opportunity to learn other languages and a greater consideration for the artist’s original work. He also pointed out that Spain’s Minister of Education, under Zapatero’s government, Angel Gabilondo, argued that dubbing is one of the reasons Spaniards have such a hard time learning other languages.

But, what are the channel’s grounds for implementing this drastic measure? Socioeconomic changes! They claim that there is an emerging social group that, although can now access cable TV, still prefer TV programming dubbed in Spanish and that, in order to maintain high ratings, they have to meet this requirement. It seems like subtitling “will remain in a more exclusive and expensive end of TV.” 

Dubbing or Subtitling- Which is Your Preference?

On our previous post about dubbing and subtitling, I gave my opinion about it (I prefer subtitles); however, I was certain that my dissatisfaction was the result of coming from a country where both Spanish and English are the official languages and from a generation used to subtitling. Much to my surprise, the Argentinians commenting on this article, who come from an entirely monolingual country with a large and rich cinematographic history, shared my opinion about the cultural and linguistic benefits of subtitling and actually preferred them.

Do you prefer dubbing or subtitling better? We would love to hear your opinion.

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Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela. Jackie has a BS in computer engineering; As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.