History Main / SubbingVersusDubbing

8th Jun '17 6:58:39 AM PF
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On a purely simplistic level, sometimes it just comes down to quality of casting. For example, Bandai's dub of ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' is frequently heralded as SuperlativeDubbing, and the ''Japanese'' producers of ''Anime/ElHazardTheMagnificentWorld'' have stated they prefer the English voices for the characters. On the other hand, the English dub of ''Manga/LoveHina'', particularly the performances of Suu, Mitsune, and Motoko, is commonly derided as one of the worst non-{{Macekre}}s in existence.[[note]] In fact, the anime version of ''Manga/LoveHina'' is infamous among fans and voice actors around the world as being a ''real pain in the ass'' to translate, maybe even moreso than ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''! The English dub was not the only one to suffer from this; the German and Latin American Spanish dubs also have the reputation of being pretty bad.[[/note]]

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On a purely simplistic level, sometimes it just comes down to quality of casting. For example, Bandai's dub of ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' is frequently heralded as SuperlativeDubbing, and the ''Japanese'' producers of ''Anime/ElHazardTheMagnificentWorld'' have stated they prefer the English voices for the characters. On the other hand, the English dub of ''Manga/LoveHina'', particularly the performances of Suu, Mitsune, and Motoko, is commonly derided as one of the worst non-{{Macekre}}s in existence.[[note]] In fact, the [[note]]The anime version of ''Manga/LoveHina'' ''Love Hina'' is infamous among fans and voice actors around the world as for being a ''real pain in the ass'' to translate, maybe even moreso than ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''! ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. The English dub was not the only one to suffer from this; the German and Latin American Spanish dubs also have the reputation of being pretty bad.[[/note]]



While this article was written with a Western-centric point of view, do note that this debate can occur in Japan too [[http://www.joystiq.com/2010/02/22/japanese-gamers-split-on-subtitles-vs-dubs-for-western-games/1#c25688774 just]] [[http://kotaku.com/5415904/gamers-not-happy-with-japanese-modern-warfare-2 ask]] Japanese ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 2'' players, or [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Beast_Wars_%28cartoon%29#Japan ask]] Japanese ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' fans. To further confound the wars, some people who understand Japanese better point out that Japan has just as many "bad actors" as any other country does it's something of a truism that the more you understand a language, the more you spot its mediocre or poor acting. Some Japanese viewers have contended that Creator/JohnnyYongBosch's performance in ''Anime/CodeGeass'' sounded more natural; whereas Creator/JunFukuyama's sounded more acted. When something sounds completely unfamiliar and viewers don't understand it, they tend to ignore what native speakers consider an average performance and they don't entirely get what might be a BlindIdiotTranslation.[[note]] It doesn't help either side that the acting styles for Japanese and English voice acting come from completely different sources. Japanese voice acting traces its roots directly to Kabuki, where dialogue and delivery are extremely stylized to the point that non-connoisseurs would consider it overacting. English voice-acting on the other hand traces its roots to Radio, where performance (though it could be overacted) was never uniformly stylized and delivery tended toward the more natural.[[/note]]

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While this article was written with a Western-centric point of view, do note that this debate can occur in Japan too [[http://www.joystiq.com/2010/02/22/japanese-gamers-split-on-subtitles-vs-dubs-for-western-games/1#c25688774 just]] [[http://kotaku.com/5415904/gamers-not-happy-with-japanese-modern-warfare-2 ask]] Japanese ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 2'' players, or [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Beast_Wars_%28cartoon%29#Japan ask]] Japanese ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' fans. To further confound the wars, some people who understand Japanese better point out that Japan has just as many "bad actors" as any other country does it's something of a truism that the more you understand a language, the more you spot its mediocre or poor acting. Some Japanese viewers have contended that Creator/JohnnyYongBosch's performance in ''Anime/CodeGeass'' sounded more natural; whereas Creator/JunFukuyama's sounded more acted. When something sounds completely unfamiliar and viewers don't understand it, they tend to ignore what native speakers consider an average performance and they don't entirely get what might be a BlindIdiotTranslation.[[note]] It doesn't help either side that the acting styles for Japanese and English voice acting come from completely different sources. Japanese voice acting traces its roots directly to Kabuki, where dialogue and delivery are extremely stylized to the point that non-connoisseurs would consider it overacting. English voice-acting voice acting on the other hand traces its roots to Radio, where performance (though performance, though it could be overacted) overacted, was never uniformly stylized and delivery tended toward the more natural.[[/note]]
7th Jun '17 7:59:31 PM ChaoticNovelist
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In addition, it's much less expensive than creating a new UsefulNotes/AutomatedDialogueRecording and dodges LipLock. Fans have been capable of producing serviceable {{Fansub}}s using home computers since the early '90s, and it's possible to subtitle a program with literally nothing more than a time-coded script. Hence, subtitled anime has a much wider potential reach simply because it is easier to produce and the licensor can turn a much larger profit on the smaller cost. Furthermore, in today's severely-damaged anime market, more and more titles only come out subtitled because it's flat-out the only way to release them to a profit in the first place.­­

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In addition, it's much less expensive than creating a new UsefulNotes/AutomatedDialogueRecording and dodges dodging LipLock. Fans have been capable of producing serviceable {{Fansub}}s using home computers since the early '90s, and it's possible to subtitle a program with literally nothing more than a time-coded script. Hence, subtitled anime has a much wider potential reach simply because it is easier to produce and the licensor can turn a much larger profit on the smaller cost. Furthermore, in today's the early 21st century's severely-damaged anime market, more and more titles only come out subtitled because it's flat-out the only way to release them to a profit in the first place.­­



Another interesting thing to note is that because a lot of fans from English and occasionally Spanish-speaking countries engage in the wars, if one were to look at other dubs that were produced, English and Latin-Spanish speakers are actually ''better off'' than most of the world. Heck, even English speakers have it better than some of the dubs that air on Latin American TV, even though plenty of those New-World Spanish dubs are very well done. The awful Swedish dub of ''Manga/{{Cyborg 009}}'' is often used to illustrate this point, as the entire cast was played by '''one man''', half the characters sound exactly the same (which is ''incredibly'' awkward since other dubbers of ''Cyborg 009'' at ''least'' think a female should be playing the female characters) and the translation sounds like it was done by someone who had a very elementary-level understanding of the Swedish language. And this isn't just limited to anime; there exist extremely low-budget Spanish dubs of old shows produced in the USA or Canada where the characters compensate for the movement tailored to English by speaking [[MotorMouth extremely quickly]] or pausing mid-sentence. Of course, that doesn't also mean it can't work the other way. Walt Disney himself is said to have liked the 1959 Mexican Spanish dub of ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' ''better'' than the original English version. This also has gotten a lot better in recent years; but you can still spot some low-budget dubs.

While this article was written with a Western-centric point of view, do note that this debate can occur in Japan too [[http://www.joystiq.com/2010/02/22/japanese-gamers-split-on-subtitles-vs-dubs-for-western-games/1#c25688774 just]] [[http://kotaku.com/5415904/gamers-not-happy-with-japanese-modern-warfare-2 ask]] Japanese ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 2'' players, or [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Beast_Wars_%28cartoon%29#Japan ask]] Japanese ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' fans. And to further confound the wars, some people who understand Japanese better point out that Japan has just as many "bad actors" as any other country does it's something of a truism that the more you understand a language, the more you spot its mediocre or poor acting. Some Japanese viewers have contended that Creator/JohnnyYongBosch's performance in ''Anime/CodeGeass'' sounded more natural; whereas Creator/JunFukuyama's sounded more acted. When something sounds completely unfamiliar and viewers don't understand it, they tend to ignore what native speakers consider an average performance and they don't entirely get what might be a BlindIdiotTranslation.[[note]] It doesn't help either side that the acting styles for Japanese and English voice acting come from completely different sources. Japanese voice acting traces its roots directly to Kabuki, where dialogue and delivery are extremely stylized to the point that non-connoisseurs would consider it overacting. English voice-acting on the other hand traces its roots to Radio, where performance (though it could be overacted) was never uniformly stylized and delivery tended toward the more natural.[[/note]]

to:

Another interesting thing to note is that because a lot of fans from English and occasionally Spanish-speaking countries engage in the wars, if one were to look at other dubs that were produced, English and Latin-Spanish speakers are actually ''better off'' than most of the world. Heck, even English speakers have it better than some of the dubs that air on Latin American TV, even though plenty of those New-World Spanish dubs are very well done. The awful Swedish dub of ''Manga/{{Cyborg 009}}'' is often used to illustrate this point, as the entire cast was played by '''one man''', half the characters sound exactly the same (which is ''incredibly'' awkward since other dubbers of ''Cyborg 009'' at ''least'' think a female should be playing the female characters) and the translation sounds like it was done by someone who had a very elementary-level understanding of the Swedish language. And this isn't just limited to anime; there exist extremely low-budget Spanish dubs of old shows produced in the USA or Canada where the characters compensate for the movement tailored to English by speaking [[MotorMouth extremely quickly]] or pausing mid-sentence. Of course, that doesn't also mean it can't work the other way. Walt Disney himself is said to have liked the 1959 Mexican Spanish dub of ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' ''better'' than the original English version. This also has gotten a lot better in recent years; but you can still spot some low-budget dubs.\n\n

While this article was written with a Western-centric point of view, do note that this debate can occur in Japan too [[http://www.joystiq.com/2010/02/22/japanese-gamers-split-on-subtitles-vs-dubs-for-western-games/1#c25688774 just]] [[http://kotaku.com/5415904/gamers-not-happy-with-japanese-modern-warfare-2 ask]] Japanese ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 2'' players, or [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Beast_Wars_%28cartoon%29#Japan ask]] Japanese ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' fans. And to To further confound the wars, some people who understand Japanese better point out that Japan has just as many "bad actors" as any other country does it's something of a truism that the more you understand a language, the more you spot its mediocre or poor acting. Some Japanese viewers have contended that Creator/JohnnyYongBosch's performance in ''Anime/CodeGeass'' sounded more natural; whereas Creator/JunFukuyama's sounded more acted. When something sounds completely unfamiliar and viewers don't understand it, they tend to ignore what native speakers consider an average performance and they don't entirely get what might be a BlindIdiotTranslation.[[note]] It doesn't help either side that the acting styles for Japanese and English voice acting come from completely different sources. Japanese voice acting traces its roots directly to Kabuki, where dialogue and delivery are extremely stylized to the point that non-connoisseurs would consider it overacting. English voice-acting on the other hand traces its roots to Radio, where performance (though it could be overacted) was never uniformly stylized and delivery tended toward the more natural.[[/note]]



Finally, it should be noted that for animation including anime the phrase "subbed vs. dubbed", or just "sub vs. dub", is [[YouKeepUsingThatWord a little misleading]] since it suggests that the original ''wasn't'' dubbed. Dubbing in a production context refers to any process of laying audio, particularly voices, over video. Music/{{Vocaloid}}s (possibly) excepted. This is quite obviously always the case for any sort of animation, regardless of what language the dubbing happens to be in, original included.[[labelnote:Exception]] The ONE big exception to this is American animation, which typically uses a process known as "pre-lay" where the dialogue is recorded first and the animation is then created to fit it. And even in American cartoons, actors may be called back in after the animation is complete [[LoopingLines to record or rerecord lines]], which is (obviously) dubbing. In Japan, with the notable exception of ''Manga/{{Akira}}'', animation dialogue is ALWAYS dubbed.[[/labelnote]] A more accurate term for the sort of dubbing that comes up in this debate, therefore, should be "re-dubbing". This is sometimes and should more often be brought up by dub (or rather, re-dub) fans as a counter-point to sub fans' arguments that all dubs are inherently flawed.

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Finally, it should be noted that for animation including anime the phrase "subbed vs. dubbed", or just "sub vs. dub", is [[YouKeepUsingThatWord a little misleading]] since it suggests that the original ''wasn't'' dubbed. Dubbing in a production context refers to any process of laying audio, particularly voices, over video. Music/{{Vocaloid}}s (possibly) excepted. This is quite obviously always the case for any sort of animation, regardless of what language the dubbing happens to be in, original included.[[labelnote:Exception]] The ONE big exception to this is American animation, which typically uses a process known as "pre-lay" where the dialogue is recorded first and the animation is then created to fit it. And even Even in American cartoons, actors may be called back in after the animation is complete [[LoopingLines to record or rerecord lines]], which is (obviously) dubbing. In Japan, with the notable exception of ''Manga/{{Akira}}'', animation dialogue is ALWAYS dubbed.[[/labelnote]] A more accurate term for the sort of dubbing that comes up in this debate, therefore, should be "re-dubbing". This is sometimes and should more often be brought up by dub (or rather, re-dub) fans as a counter-point to sub fans' arguments that all dubs are inherently flawed.
20th Jan '17 11:39:13 AM ZombieAladdin
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Of course, some fans prefer to stay out of the sub vs. dub debate altogether by choosing to just watch the raw production with the original-language audio and without the subtitles. But since this requires complete fluency in the other language, it isn't an option for 99% of whatever fandom. Then again, some fans watch raw productions because they just don't care if they can or can't understand what's being said.

to:

Of course, some fans prefer to stay out of the sub vs. dub debate altogether by choosing to just watch the raw production with the original-language audio and without the subtitles. But since this requires complete fluency in the other language, it isn't an option for 99% of whatever fandom. Some of this group are on the extreme end of the "sub" side, insisting that you can only truly appreciate foreign-language media by achieving said fluency in their original languages. Then again, some fans watch raw productions because they just don't care if they can or can't understand what's being said.
17th Jan '17 10:21:39 AM rjd1922
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Subtitling has many advantages: It allows for an extremely accurate translation, including quirks of the original language that [[MeaningfulName play a role in the plot]], while allowing you to hear the original actors' performances. It renders the show accessible to the deaf or hard of hearing. People [[BilingualBonus bilingual in or learning the original language will be able to benefit as well]], since they can enjoy at least parts of the film/TV show in the original while their friends can still know what's going on.[[note]] Assuming the subtitles are actually a good translation; TranslationTrainWreck and BlindIdiotTranslation can happen even with translations supposedly done by professionals. Then there are Dubtitles, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin which are subtitles of the sometimes-heavily-adapted dubbed dialogue rather than a direct translation]], which are highly frowned-upon by fans for obvious reasons.[[/note]] Some fansubbers even include notes in the subtitles that help explain certain cultural references or jokes that might not otherwise be properly understood by a non-native audience.

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Subtitling has many advantages: It allows for an extremely accurate translation, including quirks of the original language that [[MeaningfulName play a role in the plot]], while allowing you to hear the original actors' performances. It renders the show accessible to the deaf or hard of hearing. People [[BilingualBonus bilingual in or learning the original language will be able to benefit as well]], since they can enjoy at least parts of the film/TV show in the original while their friends can still know what's going on.[[note]] Assuming the subtitles are actually a good translation; BlindIdiotTranslation and TranslationTrainWreck and BlindIdiotTranslation can happen even with translations supposedly done by professionals. Then there are Dubtitles, {{Dubtitle}}s, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin which are subtitles of the sometimes-heavily-adapted dubbed dialogue rather than a direct translation]], which are highly frowned-upon by fans for obvious reasons.[[/note]] Some fansubbers even include notes in the subtitles that help explain certain cultural references or jokes that might not otherwise be properly understood by a non-native audience.



Occasionally, a dub may even have [[SuperlativeDubbing better actors, performances]], and/or [[{{Woolseyism}} writing]] than the original, though of course this is highly subjective. Commercially, dubs also have a much wider actual reach despite being more expensive to produce (and a non-dubbed title naturally has a smaller reach), simply because dubs have far more venues open to them. A dub can often make or break a show's success.[[note]] The reason for this is that most media gatekeepers especially television refuse any media that is not in the local language. This extends to many official internet portals (particularly Netflix, but also Hulu) as well, where even ''if'' multiple languages are available (and they often are), viewers of the dubbed version typically outnumber viewers of the subtitled original... at least for cartoons.[[/note]]

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Occasionally, a dub may even have [[SuperlativeDubbing [[SugarWiki/SuperlativeDubbing better actors, performances]], and/or [[{{Woolseyism}} writing]] than the original, though of course this is highly subjective. Commercially, dubs also have a much wider actual reach despite being more expensive to produce (and a non-dubbed title naturally has a smaller reach), simply because dubs have far more venues open to them. A dub can often make or break a show's success.[[note]] The reason for this is that most media gatekeepers especially television refuse any media that is not in the local language. This extends to many official internet portals (particularly Netflix, but also Hulu) as well, where even ''if'' multiple languages are available (and they often are), viewers of the dubbed version typically outnumber viewers of the subtitled original... at least for cartoons.[[/note]]
12th Nov '16 4:35:36 PM Josef5678
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A common argument viewers of subs espouse is the justification that familiarity with the original spoken language helps non-native readers comprehend specific vocabulary and quirks. While there is something to be said for this method as at least popular informal-spoken media can give a basic primer in what the language sounds like, as [[https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/answerman/2016-11-11/.108319 this article]] points out, the differences can be quite large between say, formal and informal Japanese in anime. Being staged and pre-recorded, the dialogue is artificially more deliberate and sharp than what you'll here on the street, comparing the difference between a professional work environment and a group of teenagers speaking in fast slang in school.

to:

A common argument viewers of subs espouse is the justification that familiarity with the original spoken language helps non-native readers comprehend specific vocabulary and quirks. While there is something to be said for this method as at least popular informal-spoken media can give a basic primer in what the language sounds like, as [[https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/answerman/2016-11-11/.108319 this article]] points out, the differences can be quite large between say, formal and informal Japanese in anime. Being staged and pre-recorded, the dialogue is artificially more deliberate and sharp than what you'll here hear on the street, comparing the difference between a professional work environment and a group of teenagers speaking in fast slang in school.
12th Nov '16 7:59:03 AM darkabomination
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Added DiffLines:

A common argument viewers of subs espouse is the justification that familiarity with the original spoken language helps non-native readers comprehend specific vocabulary and quirks. While there is something to be said for this method as at least popular informal-spoken media can give a basic primer in what the language sounds like, as [[https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/answerman/2016-11-11/.108319 this article]] points out, the differences can be quite large between say, formal and informal Japanese in anime. Being staged and pre-recorded, the dialogue is artificially more deliberate and sharp than what you'll here on the street, comparing the difference between a professional work environment and a group of teenagers speaking in fast slang in school.
31st May '16 8:43:34 AM XanderVJ
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One of the oldest {{Internet Backdraft}}s for fans of imported foreign films and TV shows -- especially {{anime}} fans -- is the argument over whether to subtitle the program or dub it into the audience's native language.

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One of the oldest {{Internet Backdraft}}s for fans of imported foreign films and TV shows -- in America, especially {{anime}} fans -- is the argument over whether to subtitle the program or dub it into the audience's native language.
18th May '16 2:38:31 PM Reymma
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The dire straits of the anime industry in North America have forced most licensors to no longer produce dub tracks for titles that are perceived to sell to a niche audience due to several companies taking heavy losses on titles like this after finding that the existence of a dub track is not enough of a sales boost to cover the cost of commissioning one (the textbook examples are Creator/{{Geneon}} and Creator/{{ADV|Films}}; Geneon shut down completely, and ADV had to reorganize itself into smaller companies). This has managed to light the fire in the sub vs. dub wars all over again, though nowadays it is dub fans that are seeing a lack of content. This has led to a [[HypocriticalHumor strange reversal in the old debate]] "hardcore" dub fans (hardly a majority, but loud nonetheless) insist that all shows should have a dub or they will not support them; sub fans and more casual dub fans will tell them to either accept that shows with less appeal will get sub-only releases or they aren't going to be licensed at all.

to:

The dire straits of the anime industry in North America have forced most licensors to no longer produce dub tracks for titles that are perceived to sell to a niche audience due to several companies taking heavy losses on titles like this after finding that the existence of a dub track is not enough of a sales boost to cover the cost of commissioning one (the textbook examples are Creator/{{Geneon}} and Creator/{{ADV|Films}}; Geneon shut down completely, and ADV had to reorganize itself into smaller companies). This has managed to light the fire in the sub vs. dub wars all over again, though nowadays it is dub fans that are seeing a lack of content. This has led to a [[HypocriticalHumor [[{{Irony}} strange reversal in the old debate]] "hardcore" dub fans (hardly a majority, but loud nonetheless) insist that all shows should have a dub or they will not support them; sub fans and more casual dub fans will tell them to either accept that shows with less appeal will get sub-only releases or they aren't going to be licensed at all.
10th Apr '16 9:11:30 PM Josef5678
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Of course, some fans prefer to stay out of the sub vs. dub debate altogether by choosing to just watch the raw production with the original-language audio and without the subtitles. But since this requires complete fluency in the other language, it isn't an option for 99% of whatever fandom. Then again, some fans watch raw productions because [[TheyJustDidntCare they just don't care]] if they can or can't understand what's being said.

to:

Of course, some fans prefer to stay out of the sub vs. dub debate altogether by choosing to just watch the raw production with the original-language audio and without the subtitles. But since this requires complete fluency in the other language, it isn't an option for 99% of whatever fandom. Then again, some fans watch raw productions because [[TheyJustDidntCare they just don't care]] care if they can or can't understand what's being said.
10th Apr '16 5:42:24 PM DENelson83
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Of course, some fans prefer to stay out of the sub vs. dub debate altogether by choosing to just watch the raw production with the original-language audio and without the subtitles. But since this requires complete fluency in the other language, it isn't an option for 99% of whatever fandom.

to:

Of course, some fans prefer to stay out of the sub vs. dub debate altogether by choosing to just watch the raw production with the original-language audio and without the subtitles. But since this requires complete fluency in the other language, it isn't an option for 99% of whatever fandom. Then again, some fans watch raw productions because [[TheyJustDidntCare they just don't care]] if they can or can't understand what's being said.
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