Dubbed audio can make or break a show or movie. So, it’s important to get it right the first time around.
Where a lot of companies go wrong is in the delivery of their dub. Poor quality dubbing can impact how people view, enjoy or even decide to watch your movie or TV show.
Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have started to bring shows and movies from abroad into our homes, which is great for the foreign film enthusiast, but if the translation is poor, then people will stop watching.
A lot of people can and will watch in the show’s native language with subtitles on, however not all people can get on with subtitles and prefer watching a dubbed version.
Dubbed shows allow others to access and enjoy a whole new world and often learn more about other cultures through foreign film and TV.
With modern technology making it easy for foreign films and TV to expand past their region, it’s important that if you are going to dub your media, that it is more than just a translation.
In this article, we go into detail about what dubbing is, why it needs to be professionally done and what can go wrong when it isn’t.
What is dubbing?
Dubbing is the skill of lip-sync combined with mixing and matching a voice over to a video in post-production. This could be used for a film, TV or animation.
Often this consists of voice over for characters in animation or as a translation of a show into another language for foreign audiences.
Dubbing is used so that a show or movie can be viewed in other countries in their native language, saving people from having to read subtitles alongside watching the media.
Foreign TV and movies have for years been popular, but with streaming services making them easier to access, the quality of their dubbing is an important part of them succeeding overseas.
Animation is another big area where you will find dubbing, especially with popular series created in Japan that are moving over to the West.
Dubbing is the key to unlocking geographical media, and not only allows a glimpse into another country’s way of life but connects fans of the show or film on online forums.
Why is it important to do it right?
When a film or show is going to be distributed to other countries and you want it dubbed into their own language, what you are really trying to do is make it easier for the audience to connect with the material.
If an audience doesn’t connect with the show or film, then often the dubbing and voice over is to blame, and it becomes a missed opportunity.
A great example of good dubbing is the Netflix series Money Heist. The Spanish production has been highly praised for its dubbing, making it easy to follow the story and allowing audiences to relax and enjoy the show.
Another example where good dubbing has brought about success is with the AOT English dubbed anime (Attack on Titan). This anime show became a massive hit, resulting in the success of the show and the massive amount of merchandise created from its success.
By making sure the dubbing resonates with the audience, it allows a mass of opportunities for international appreciation, award nominations and industry respect. All of which can help with creating new projects later down the line.
When does it go wrong?
A dubbed voice over that is not accurate to the story and has a delay or does not match the video, will leave people disappointed and make it hard for them to follow the story.
Dubbing is often an afterthought that becomes a discussion when a show or film has been successful, but this doesn’t mean that the translation into other languages should be poor.
Squid Game is a good example of dubbing gone wrong. The popular show has been criticised for its poor quality English dub.
People who have watched the show have either given up watching, often within the first episode, because the voice over doesn’t match well with the people talking, as well as the translation not making much sense.
Others have also complained that the story between the original language and the English dub differ drastically and are missing key plot points, so much so that it has become a running gag on TikTok.
When a dub is poorly executed, then there is a big disconnect between the viewer and the medium, which then prevents people from enjoying a show to the max.
A like for like translation doesn’t really work for movies and TV shows but making sure you stick to the story is also an important factor.
Localisation is vital to successfully engageing the viewer and keeping them watching.
Overall, we recommend that if you are looking to dub your project, make sure you look at making the translation relatable to the target audience with localisation. Also, keeping the main plot points of the story the same as the original medium will avoid a disconnect, especially for those who are happy to watch both subs and dubbed.
Here at Chatterbox Voices, we have a vast array of talented voice actors that are highly skilled in dubbing. Help break down global barriers of your show or film with one of our voice over artists.
Get in touch today to discuss your dubbing project on 0203 744 3558 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.