The Language Barrier

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Sky Alton
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The Language Barrier

Post by Sky Alton » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:32 am

Language subtitles and dubbing into different languages are two ways we can enhance TV shows so that they can be enjoyed by people outside the country they were made. While I can’t personally use anything with subtitles, I do sometimes wonder what amazing stories I’m missing out on simply because I can’t access shows in other languages. I’ve seen a few things that were dubbed into English and didn’t notice much difference; at the same time, I’ve heard horror stories of terrible casting that really ruin the effect.

How about you guys? Do you ever watch shows with alternate language subtitles (whether you’re using them to access stuff in other languages or someone who uses them to help you follow English language TV)? How about dubbing? Do you find that easier to follow or do you find it off putting?
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Gail Allen
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Re: The Language Barrier

Post by Gail Allen » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:31 am

When I watch broadcast tv everything that isn't my native language is subtitled - and if someone has a heavy dialect or slurs their words a lot or something else is judged to be making it hard to understand, it will also be subtitled.
I used to really need these too and I still probably read them just because it's hard not to see the motion and as soon as I look at a word, my brain automatically reads it, but I never notice reading them anymore, at least when the language being subtitled from is English.

I do love subtitles though, because it teaches you language. If you watch hours and hours of English being spoken, while at the same time being given a good translation, it will improve your English-skills and you will become better at understanding English and understanding different meanings of words within different contexts. It will also help you get a proper pronounciation since you will hear native speakers speak the words. If you hear a diverse range of accents you'll even get pretty good at understanding people from different areas. I have experienced this myself and I love being able to seamlessly speak to people with vastly different dialects because I have seen them on TV and learned how they speak and learned how to understand that.

If I had watched dubbed TV and movies, I wouldn't have gotten any foreign language benefits and I would not be nearly as fluent in English as I am today. I can see it with people I know who grew up with dubbing being the norm and they are not nearly as confident English speakers as those people I know who great up with subtitles being the norm.

So that's the main reason why I don't like dubbing.
Secondly, dubbing is often terrible when you can see the face of the person talking, because the lip movements do not properly match up. Often ambient sound is also disturbed by the dubbing process so you do not hear that as much or as well as you normally would.
When you are used to subtitles, dubbing is almost painful to watch, though I've heard that if you are used to dubbing the lip movements being strange are not as likely to be bothering you - my theory is that they actually learn to disregard lip movements because they are used to seeing them not fitting together so they are less likely to associate lip movements with the sounds that follow than if you always watched tv and movies with the original voices.

Also, if you know the actor and their voice and it's dubbed, there's a huge uncanny valley aspect whenever they speak, since you know their voice and expect that when they open their mouth and it makes it feel like an alien is speaking out through their lips when you hear the dubbed version. It at least feels that way to me and I find it rather creepy.

*looks at her own post*
Ok, I did not know I had quite this much to say about this topic XD
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Kathren Johnsun
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Re: The Language Barrier

Post by Kathren Johnsun » Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:17 am

This is probably one of the things that I have been lucky with. Since I am a native English speaker living in the United States, not a lot of our media is subbed/dubbed. The main times that I will watch anything that is, is when I am watching anime and I will watch either version. Some of the decision is often made for me,since it is based off what is available here, but if both versions are available, I will often watch both (not at the same time though). If I am alone, I will often watch subbed first, but if I am around others, or others are watching it with me, I will watch dubbed first. A lot of people who I have watched anime with have not watched subbed anime before (often times this is the first non-mainstream anime they watch) and dubbed is often easier to follow. I also find myself pausing and/or reading aloud the dialogue when I have it on subbed since it helps me keep track of the conversation better. Since it is animated, the voice v. actor does not bother me when I am watching it, though I will tend to try and figure out what the voice actor has also done if I'm watching dubbed (I do the same with multiple other actors as well (Alan Rickman, anyone?)).
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