Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dubs n' Subs

                                                                 Dubs n' Subs
                                                                             Jay Agan

    I grew up on dubs. When I started being cognizant of movies in the late 50s, I noticed lip movement in some wasn't consistant with the heard dialogue. It was explained some flicks weren't made in the U.S. & came from where English wasn't spoken much if at all. The actors' voice was substituted with that of someone who could speak English. As a kid, I was somewhat fascinated by that. If a foriegn flick I might like was on tv, I would ignore the lip/voice inconsistancy & enjoy the show. Getting older, I likened it to the "universal translation device" on Star Trek (tos).

    Then as now, there were good dubs & bad ones. I'm not as stringent as some. If the length of dialogue matches that of mouth movement, I'm ok with it. I've seen really bad ones (long spaces of heard dialogue/no lip movement or lots of lip movement/no sound.) Some were even funny.

     I accept the fact sound is in English & lip movement is in Japanese, Italian, etc. The main thing for me is to enjoy the show. If the dialogue stays within original intent & meaning, things are fine by me (A Film like, Woody Allens' What's Up Tiger Lilly, being a hilarious exception!).

     At times I've found subtitles necessary. A foriegn film with no English track, obviously. There have been times a film has a mush mouthed actor who shouldn't be in movies. Subs have helped there as well.

     As can be seen, I pretty much prefer dubs over subs in general. Other reasons:

     1. I've spoken English all my life thus most comfortable with it. (I've studied Spanish & Japanese in the past. Those are stories for another day.)

     2. Continuity concerns. I find shifting eyes from viewing to reading & back to be somewhat discombobulating. I prefer to do one thing at a time. At times I miss something & have to back up the film to re-view/reread.

     3. Some say if you want to get full meaning & nuance, subs are the way to go. Doesn't seem that way to me. At times they come across as rather "flat". There's a difference between "transliterated to English" & spoken English.

    4. Some anime "should" be in English from the get-go. Black Lagoon, Lady Georgie, & Steamboy come to mind.

    5. There are animes "crude" enough the mouth movement doesn't match Japanese. Why complain if it doesn't match English?

    6. Most anime characters look so "European", they might as well be speaking English. Or Icelandic for that matter.

                                                        Article copyright © Jay Agan

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