Pick a side: Team dubbing or subbing


Photo courtesy of Unsplash/charlesdeluvio.

A laptop displaying Netflix.

With theaters running at an all-time low due to continuous COVID-19 cases, the popularity of streaming films and TV shows on platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu have been on the rise. To keep up with continuous streaming and demand, Netflix has expanded their selection to include not only locally produced films, but also foreign films.
Consider the rise and popularity of K-dramas, “Narcos’” and how English-speaking audiences are becoming accustomed to subtitles and dubbing as more foreign language films are set to hit theaters in the near future.

After all, choosing between subtitles or dubbed dialogue is a matter of personal preference. If given the choice between watching a non-English language film or television show with dubbing or subtitles, I’d choose subtitles. Meanwhile, those who aspire to voice act one day, can look for opportunities such as fiverr voice acting.

As a perceptive and introspective individual, the option of subtitles allows me to hear the actors’ true voices, adding to the reality rather than the realism of the silver screen. Dubbing, no matter how well done, may lack originality. The absence of synchronization between dubbed dialogues and movement of the actors’ mouths can be distracting.

Dubbed films occasionally feature a handful of actors playing multiple characters, which can make the experience less enjoyable and even a little confusing. However, there are even a few drawbacks to using subtitles. Picture this: you’re watching a comedy show. I highly doubt subtitles will make you laugh as hard. Some amount of humor, quirks, character traits and authenticity are naturally lost in the process of translation.

Having said that, I’ve always noticed that when I try to multitask between watching the screen and reading the subtitles, I frequently miss what’s happening on-screen, sometimes due to the speed at which the actors are speaking, and sometimes because there’s just too much to read. It changes the way I watch movies.

Picture another scene: you are watching a horror film, but your gaze shifts for a fraction of a second to read the subtitles. Have you missed the most amazing part that we all look forward to in a horror film just by reading the subtitles?

However, there are two sides to this coin: subtitles usually require the viewer’s full attention, which may not be a viable option given that binge watching, or any watching, is an act of leisure rather than strain. Users can sit back, munch on popcorn or their favorite movie-time snacks, and still enjoy the movie. As a result, Netflix has set the majority of their foreign films and TV shows (such as “3%” and “Dark”) to be dubbed rather than subtitled by default.

So, let me ask you again to pick a side––are you on team dubbing or team subtitling? Perhaps there will never be a final agreement on this issue.