No Right Answer: Subbing Vs. Dubbing

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Subbing Vs. Dubbing

The world is a pretty great place, with tons of creative people pumping out fantastic work. Problem is, it's not always in the language you speak. What's the best solution?

Watch Video

Subtitles all the way. Maybe its because I grew in a place that forced me to make that choice for 90% of everything I consumed (which make me suffer through a LOT of bad dubs over the years), but I have no problem with subtitles. I am a decently fast reader, and can keep up with the action and the dialogue; and a lot of content can be lost in the translation.

This won't get contentious at all...NOPE!

Dubbed. I don't really get the "anime/JRPG dubs suck 100%" argument. Actors and directors might be sketchy, but on a whole, there's a reason LA/Texas actors tend to dub nearly hundreds of shows or games. They are good at it. I dare anyone to listen to Steve Blum and go, "BAD! NOT GONNA WATCH" Crispin Freeman, "BAD! NOT GONNA WATCH!" They are extreme examples, but you have people who are just as good out there. You miss a ton of good acting performances closing yourself off to the 80s/90s mindset of "**** DUB RAAHH!." Pioneer and Funimation have had a good 10-15 year stretch of solid dubbing. 9 out of 10, the concept of the show is preserved, and the ambience (as Kyle mentioned) wasn't skewed by the process.

Besides, without dubbing, you won't have the rare Shin Chan/Ghost Stories scenario where the English version turns into a gold mine of comedy. They were given license to write the show FOR American audiences.

Subtitles obviously require less resources to make.
That's why there are more fansubs than fandubs.
You can also watch a subbed episode of something muted on your phone on a loud ass busdrive and don't have to blast your eardrums out of your skull with earplugs to counteract the loud ambience.

Dubs are also only good if they're good y'know.
A bad dub can ruin the entire experience. See: most early anime.

Of course a good dub that stays faithful to the original watched under normal movie watching conditions always beats the sub.

When it comes to my taste.

If its Animated, Dubbed.

If its Live Action, Subbed.

The Star Wars Crawl? You get Backstroke of the West:

Anyway, I acknowledge that dubbing has a place(a friend of mine is dyslexic), but I can't stand them personally. I've yet to watch one that was both performed well and true to the original tone and meaning.

Also, good subs take work. See any number of bad translations for proof.

I prefer subs assuming the dub is nothing to write home about. However, if the dub was really well done (usually because those in charge were passionate about the localization) I'll always give it a shot. Most anime I watch will be subbed, but there are a few gems out there I would NEVER watch in anything but English (Cowboy Bebop and FLCL to name two).

Okay first off we need to get something clear here. There can and have been subs that were absolutely horribly done, just like there have been horrible dubs. Just because something is subtitled does not not automatically make it better translated. In fact it they can be just as all over the place if the people doing the subs only have some understanding of the language. We saw this a lot in the early sub days because internet subbing was just starting and so people were trying to figure out how to do it. The only saving grace for subs is that they are generally done by fans so someone can go back and redo them down the line where as dubs are usually licensed and done once and very rarely will they be redone.

Dubbed if I can get it and it's not bad, I can keep up with subtitles no problem but depending on the language I find listening to the original to be painful a lot of the time (mainly Japanese, I can't do squeaky voice and I dislike a lot of there VA's in terms of how they sound compared to the character on the screen doubly so when they do "foreign" characters (looking at you Black Lagoon))

The only exception I can think of is Ayako Kawasumi as Saber, I much prefer her in Fate/Zero over Kari Wahlgren

All so inb4 "watch it native" purists join the conversation

Subbed gives me headaches sometimes if I'm watching a lot of episodes in a row. But you'd think that since I've been watching Naruto subbed from the beginning I"d have learned the language by now..

I do collect the dubbed versions, and I find I enjoy the episodes more because .. I'm actually watching the episode.

CaptainMidlands:
Dubbed if I can get it and it's not bad, I can keep up with subtitles no problem but depending on the language I find listening to the original to be painful a lot of the time (mainly Japanese, I can't do squeaky voice and I dislike a lot of there VA's in terms of how they sound compared to the character on the screen doubly so when they do "foreign" characters (looking at you Black Lagoon))

The only exception I can think of is Ayako Kawasumi as Saber, I much prefer her in Fate/Zero over Kari Wahlgren

All so inb4 "watch it native" purists join the conversation

That being said, I will take an attempt at a foreign accent in some shows. It struck me dumb trying to watch Emma (Victorian Era England) in full Japanese. I guess Emma wasn't near as popular as Hellsing, RoD, or Black Butler. It was still weird having to go through subtitled only.

This may seem slightly off topic, but Warner released the first few episodes of the latest JoJo anime in English a few months ago. And while the voices were decent, it irks me for an entirely different reason; they picked the wrong season to start with.

Phantom Blood took place mostly in England and Eastern Europe. English would make sense there.

In Battle Tendency, we see the USA, Mexico, Italy and Switzerland. Again, English makes sense.

Stardust Crusaders, on the other hand, starts in Japan and moves across most of southern Asia before ending up in Africa.

This is the one season for which a dub makes no sense to me. >.>

I generally prefer subs, although there are a couple of good dubs floating around out there. One thing that bugs me about dubs is the limited number of people that get cast repeatedly from show to show; it really breaks it for me to hear iconic characters sound identical. There's also the issue of lip-syncing in relation to translation accuracy, but that's just another edge of the issues inherent in going from one language to another.

The thing that actually pushed me over the edge from dub to sub (used to be a big dub fan) was how they changed the background music for the dub of Castle in the Sky: no other content should be changed unless absolutely necessary. I've noticed the odd anime or japanese film coming to the states without subtitled versions and it always makes me suspicious of what was changed and why.

Got a funny anecdode about this topic.

Years ago i was on a visit at a dubbing studio in france, the guys where dubbing star wars episode two at the time, and guess what ? To avoid any chance of leaking the movie, the only thing you could saw on screen was the mouths of the actors on a black background ...

Just imagine how awful the dubbing can be with those methods, and i doubt it was the only movie to be treated like this.

Personally, i watch everything subbed, unless the actors themselves are dubbing it.

I think it just depends on the quality of the dub or the subs even, if the dub is horrible, it can be funny, or just plain bad, at the same time, subs can be horribly translated. It just depends on the quality, and even that we can argue.

For me, can't beat dubbed.

It's my language, and it's a passive experience. Watching something is passive, and I want it to stay that way. I don't want to read text while trying to watch something, and chance missing anything. But let's be real here... does anything ever even happen in most anime??? No? Yea. (I kid... kinda)

Purists, or people who just appreciate the original are able to enjoy keeping it in the original. In regards to anime, I just can't. There is no "bad dub" for me, because the subbed version will always be second tier. I don't like the way the Seiyu record. I especially don't like it combined with the writing style of a large portion of anime. It's WAY too OTT for half of whats going on at any given time. It's not natural, it's different than spoken Japanese. I also find anime dialogue repetitive far too often. How many times do characters state what happened in an action scene, only to have it regurgitated back by another character for the sake of confirmation? It's cringeworthy, even when dubbed. The too-the-point nature of the Japanese language doesn't help either. It sounds robotic when all these things are put together.

Black Lagoon will always be my favorite dub of any anime. Ocean Studios knew what they were doing when casting the characters, and even let the VA's change a few lines of dialogue to make it sound better. Something I approve of, but a purist would likely hate.

Different strokes for different folks and all that.

its very simple for me. If the dub is good ill watch it in dub(cowboy bebop, bleach, gundam, ect.) if its bad ill watch the sub.(familiar of zero, Infinite stratoes, naruto, one piece, any humor related anime not made by the folks who did cowboy bebop)

now as someone mentioned there are bad subs but the difference is there usually are like eight different subs out at any one time and as such you can easily go find one that good were as dubs tend to have maybe 3 and they tend to have all the same problems if they're bad.

Live action movies need to be subed if their in another language due to the fact that no matter how good you edit youll never be able to get a seamless transition into English.

Subbed? Dubbed? Both are wrong. The right answer is "Read the manga."

In general I prefer dubbed, but my preference has a lot more to do with the quality of the VA's and translation than anything else. Some series are just better in Japanese, either because they cast actors for roles their voices don't fit, outright bad voice actors, or because a lot was lost in translation.

subbed. International media loses a bit of its character when dubbed.

Hahahahaha, your 3 starter point texts were hilarious ^^

Subbing. Its not even a discussion. At all.

Take Anime. To date I have NEVER seen a good dub. Japanese speech is different from western speech. And if you hear it out loud it sounds awful.

Take language jokes. A lot of them you cant translate and it ends up either not making sense or not being funny at all.

Take dubs of RL movies. NO NO NO NO! How the fuck people can live in germany and italy (they dub everything I think) I will never understand. It does not work. EVER.

Subbing. Yes.

100% dubbed.

I'm a slow reader. It's exceedingly rare that I'll have time to read everything when subbed. I also can't take the time to appreciate the visual aspects of the movie. If you told me that I could either watch Avengers 2 subbed or not at all...I'd probably watch it subbed. But most other movies I'd skip out on altogether :P

Subs forever!

A good sub is easier to do than a good dub. As a result dubs are frequently bad in Anime.
Look at what Sentai Filmworks just did with Log Horizon. No really, LOOK AT IT It's actually laughable; as in I watched it busting my sides laughing at how hilariously horrible it is.

What's the best the anime industry really has? Steve Blum? He's honestly not the golden boy of voice acting everyone points to. He's better than most, but I still feel there's lots of voice actors that are better but are simply too costly for the anime industry.

Though it's not like Japan doesn't make shitty VOs either.

Just learn the damned language, already you fat, lazy, American slob! XD

No, but seriously, I prefer the dub, if it has a good voice cast and direction. This is especially true when watching something like a Miyazaki film. I want to look at the beautiful art, not read the dialogue.

Now, I have nothing against a sub, if it's all that's available. Bear in mind, of course, that subs can be every bit as badly done as dubs can be. (Although sometimes reading a bad sub can be comedy gold!)

Another sub in the mix.

Again, if we're just talking about Anime, Asians as a whole seem to voice sounds more than Westerners do. We might go 'Oh' really quickly or something, but there are a lot of live-action Japanese shows where I hear long drawn out sounds or words.

Like here, in the beginning

The Ahhh sound, their ooohs. Things that we as native english speakers don't drag out as much as them. Or incorporate in our native speech.

It makes it really weird when I her a Dubbed voice try to replicate the sheer amount of unintelligible noises in english, but might have a mores meaning to a native Japanese speaker.

Also, the pauses between to Matrix up the Japanese mouth movement with English, but it usually throws off natural English Cadence... that messes me up big time.

Fappy:
I prefer subs assuming the dub is nothing to write home about. However, if the dub was really well done (usually because those in charge were passionate about the localization) I'll always give it a shot. Most anime I watch will be subbed, but there are a few gems out there I would NEVER watch in anything but English (Cowboy Bebop and FLCL to name two).

I second this notion.

I'm a sub person because there are subtle prefixes, suffixes, statements and sentence structure in Japanese that is harder to transfer to American dubbing. An example is something like how a character would say "nya" at the end of a sentence; typically it's for comedic characters. There is also the classic kanji homophone puns (which i'm still trying to learn) and there is also precedent of misinterpreting what a voice actually means for a character (see Other M).

Dubs to me requires someone to know a significant amount of Japanese culture, learn how to translate those intricacies into normal american speech, and then pick actors that can convey it.

Also, I am much more familiar with Japanese Seiyuus than American VAs so that puts a bias on my preferences

Edit: I want to address the "subs distract from the action" comment. While that is a valid concern in the very beginning, once you watch subs enough, you tend to have your eyes focus more whole screen instead of more pinpoint locations. In other words, you begin to watch both the show and the subtitles.

CaptainMidlands:
Dubbed if I can get it and it's not bad, I can keep up with subtitles no problem but depending on the language I find listening to the original to be painful a lot of the time (mainly Japanese, I can't do squeaky voice and I dislike a lot of there VA's in terms of how they sound compared to the character on the screen doubly so when they do "foreign" characters (looking at you Black Lagoon))

The only exception I can think of is Ayako Kawasumi as Saber, I much prefer her in Fate/Zero over Kari Wahlgren

All so inb4 "watch it native" purists join the conversation

Yeah, Saber does sound quite good in Japanese but Luvia and the times that the Einzbern use German can be a bit off

I often prefer subs because there can be some really annoying Western voice actors that get on my wick (no doubt being able to understand what they say is a part of it, whereas for foreign voices I can tune them out a bit). That said, there are some perfectly good dubs out there (Slayers, for example).

Speaking as someone, to whom the Engligh language is the foreign one: I prefer subtitles. If it's in different language than English, I choose English subtitles rather than Polish if possible. Heck, even if it's in English, I still prefer original subtitles. Why? Because it's the product of the culture other than mine, and for me, seeing words in my own language just throws me off the experience. I can't really explain this feeling, but probably "uncanny" is the closest word to describe it.

With dubbing, it's even worse. I'm fine with it, if it's a western cartoon I've never seen before in original language (seeing Spongebob in Engligh first totally ruined it for me when later aired in Polish TV), but anything other just goes full "Uncanny Valley". I already have a mindset "anime character - Japanese". Even if story-wise he is from a different country, anime-drawing style makes me thinking that guy/gal is Japanese, and anything else is weird. And in live action? Oh boy... Seeing an obviously British/American/Russian/Spanish/Japanese/Whatever guy speaking in my language with perfect accent just makes me cringe. Those people are not real. They must be some reptilians or robots, get me out of here!

There are only 2 things, that I want to hear in Polish in a non-Polish audience based fiction:

1) Pixar cartoons, because those are REALLY popular in here, therefore they always hire the best translator and an all-star cast for them.

2) The Witcher games. The game is obviously made to appeal to every audience, but still - it's a game made by Poles (until now at least, Witcher 3 team is 10x times more multi-cultural), based on a series of Polish fantasy books, set in a world that by itself has a lot of Polish culture accents, so in this particular case, Polish is the only way to go for me.

I usually prefer subs. As a native English speaker I can easily tell when the English voice acting is bad, but can't with the Japanese voice acting. If the dub is good enough I'll watch it instead, but very very few are. Off the top of my head Dragonball, Hellsing, and Baccano are the only examples of shows I prefer dubbed.

Dubbed for 2 reasons.

First is so that I can pay attention to what's happening on the screen instead of what's happening at the bottom of it.

Second is because I can tell the difference between a good Japanese VA job and a bad one (and the ratio of good to bad is about on par for both).

Good dubs are great! But they are also incredibly scarce. I come from Holland, and we don't tend to dub anything. Subtitles come naturally to us and actually teach us different languages. Most kids here are bilingual just from watching movies with subs. Once you are used to them, you won't see them... and you won't be "reading" the show. It will not feel any different from watching a dub, except that you listen to the sound as intended.
It's funny that Kung Pow got brought up in DEFENSE of dubs, while the whole movie is basically an assault on dubs. The movie is funny as hell, especially when stoned or drunk... but remember that it is a caricature of something that is SUPPOSED to be taken seriously but due to horrible dubbing cannot be taken seriously and thus loses a lot of artistic value.
tl;dr: Subs are awesome. Stop watching poorly fitting dubs and join the original audio master race.

Dubbed if I can, subbed if I must.

I have several friends in the voice acting industry, so I give them respect when I get the chance.

Subs (if i don't know the language), because it's first available. There are not many shows i watch a second time, but then i do try the Dub (hellsing ultimate was better for it). But i don't really have a need for authenticity about the language, because my memory works better with picture then sound. And language itself is a rather minor issue with the "message" of it for me, my household speaks Russian, i live (since age 5) in Germany and most of my free-time is spent with English.
Maybe it is a bit of a mono-lingo issue. I saw some what of a culture-shock when English started in school, with how different grammar is and proverbs.

A tip for slow readers: don't read, just look at it and understand.
It is proven that people slow themself down by pronouncing the text with the inner voice, sometimes even with tongue moving.

Easy Answer Dubbing is better. Here's why:

Good dubbing is always better than good subtitles. You get the language and the verbal emphasis and tonal stresses where they should be and you get the best communication of intent. In short, when dubbing is done well.. you can't really tell it was dubbed.

So in the good scenarios.. dubbing wins. When dubbing is done badly it can make an otherwise mediocre film hilarious and memorable. Face it... there's a reason people always remember badly dubbed kunfu movies and not the better dubbed ones (those do exist). It's because the badness makes it memorable and hilarious.

Bad subtitling can make a good film bad and a bad film worse....

And no.. subtitling is not purer... you're still reading translated text so really the quality is again based on how much work the translators did. Lazy translation exists in both dubs and subs.. The reason subs get a rep is because the listener reads the text and basically transposes the sounds of the words they're reading with the vocal rhythms they are hearing. So it can give the illusion of understanding though as I was hilariously told by a chinese classmate... in one anime that the voice acting tends to be quite bad in some of those as in the reading of the lines is done poorly like WIll Shatner phoning it in bad. Of course you'd have to know the language to know when someone is speaking it badly.

FInally there is one thing that gets done in dubbing that you can't do in subtitles....accents. It's whuy anime relies on so many visual cues to convey a person's nationality because really the japanese can't really understand the difference between a french, english or spanish accent.. Much the same way we can't tell the difference betwen a chinese accent and a japanese accent or a korean accent.

SO the dub can actually convey more information than the subtitle.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here