No, just no

Sure, an interesting reason and a policy of the state:

Spain is planning to ban dubbing on foreign television programmes in an effort to boost the nation’s English proficiency.
Spaniards lag far behind their Scandinavian, German and Dutch cousins when it comes to speaking English, but they could soon be shooting up the EU English league tables with the new proposal.
Virtually all foreign films or series shown by Spanish channels are dubbed by local actors, which has hindered language skills.
The conservative Popular Party (PP) led by Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy wants to boost children’s knowledge of English, along with other proposed measures such as an increase in the number of native-speaker conversation teachers in school classrooms.

And also you can bugger off matey. if people want to have dubbed programs then they should have dubbed programs. If they don’t, or would prefer subtitles, then they can have those instead. This is one of those problems that the market, pure and unadorned, can deal with.

39 thoughts on “No, just no”

  1. Based on extensive consumption of German cinema, I’ve got a pretty good idea what “schwanz” means, but it’s not much use when finding my way to the railway station.

  2. “but they could soon be shooting up the EU English league tables with the new proposal.”

    The Progressive Mind. Good things will always result from any action. Ban something? The problem will go away.

  3. As a country on the periphery of the Spanish speaking world, why would the Spanish speak English any more than the English, on the periphery of the English speaking world, speak Spanish?

  4. Tim, whilst I don’t disagree with you entirely: if the TV stations (led by a state broadcaster? I dunno) have elected in the past to force dubbing on folks, how is forcing a lack of dubbing worse? At least subtitles can be turned on/off to suit tastes?

  5. All the foreign language films I’ve watched in Spain always seem to use the same four people voicing the entire cast. It can be incredibly confusing.

    Still, at least there won’t be many redundancies…

  6. Should have added that, as someone trying to learn Spanish, having the films dubbed is actually quite helpful.

  7. @john2
    Having to constantly puzzle at attempts at written Spanish, I’m inclined to wonder how many Spanish can read.

  8. I am not sure that the market in this case is so big that people really have a choice.
    In Poland in the past rather than dubbing or subtitles they had a narrator – which was the worst of all worlds!
    You could still hear the original but not understand it.

  9. agreed with john square. Best solution would be for the state to bugger out of the broadcasting / TV business altogether. I mean the market failure that they used as an excuse to get into it surely doesn’t apply any longer today, plenty of competing private / commercial stuff around.

  10. john square/Emil,

    That said, based on where there is a market, in French cinema, dubbing is more popular. And if you look at the most successful foreign language film of all time, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, that was mostly shown dubbed.

  11. @Anon
    “In Poland in the past rather than dubbing or subtitles they had a narrator – which was the worst of all worlds!”

    Except for the Poles who seem to prefer it.

  12. Germans subtitle English language films? Not the ones that come through on the German TV channels on my TV they don’t.

    Dubbing all the way, and with the same limited circle of voice actors (who are very good at their chosen profession, but can get wierd when you channel surf and you’ve got the same voices on each channel 🙂 )

  13. The Russian dubbing method is interesting. They dub Russian over the original at just slightly higher volume and after a slight delay. So you can just about, but not quite, follow the original language, as I discovered when watching a 3 hour English film in a Russian cinema, which my friend had assured me I would understand. Probably the worst of all methods.

  14. “I am not sure that the market in this case is so big that people really have a choice.”
    There’s around a half billion people in the world speak Spanish. A slightly bigger market than Polish?

  15. English/American films about the World Wars dubbed into German must be a bit of a laugh.

    Do the Allies speak German with a really crap accent?

  16. The dubbing/subtitle thing is purely a cost issue. Getting a translator to subtitle is cheaper than getting a translator to work together with a scriptwriter to produce a full translation and then hiring actors to spend several days in a studio. So dubbing only happens in large markets where the costs can be recouped.

    Into Spanish is by some distance the biggest such market – bigger than English because relatively few non-English films are subbed or dubbed into English, whereas practically everything made in English is dubbed into Spanish.

    Spain itself isn’t a significant part of the Spanish market either. So once they realise that they’re going to have to pay for subs and throw out the already freely-available dubs, they’ll change their mind.

  17. “I am not sure that the market in this case is so big that people really have a choice.”
    There’s around a half billion people in the world speak Spanish. A slightly bigger market than Polish?

    But how many TV channels were there until recently?

    “Spain itself isn’t a significant part of the Spanish market either. So once they realise that they’re going to have to pay for subs and throw out the already freely-available dubs, they’ll change their mind.”
    Actually there are quite few programmes that are subtitled. In South America they often have them subtitled sadly it hasn’t caused a very high standard of English. The translations are not always perfect.

  18. “Do the Allies speak German with a really crap accent?”

    unfortunately, not. Both sides typically speak impeccable German.

    I watched a bit of 80’s Bond dubbed into German, and it totally lost the subtelty of the distinction and interplay between CIA people and British people since they all had the same neutral German accent.

  19. “But how many TV channels were there until recently?”
    Thousands, I should imagine. Our relatively small resort city’s had its own channel ever since I’ve lived there. Seems to be mainly a bunch of dagos sitting around, shouting at each other.
    Of course, that’d need dubbing into Spanish or subtitleing because they’re speaking Andalus. Which the rest of Spain reckons is a bunch of incomprehensible Gitano peasants.

  20. That said, based on where there is a market, in French cinema, dubbing is more popular.

    So is the VOSF (Version orirginale, subtitles Francais), they seem to be able to watch one of the other without much difference.

  21. The only episode of Taggart (the original one with the eponymous central character) I ever understood was a dubbed one I watched in France.

    Cowboy films dubbed into German are quite a surreal treat.

  22. They dub Russian over the original at just slightly higher volume and after a slight delay. So you can just about, but not quite, follow the original language, as I discovered when watching a 3 hour English film in a Russian cinema, which my friend had assured me I would understand. Probably the worst of all methods.

    Indeed, that used to drive me nuts. You can neither concentrate on the Russian nor understand the English.

  23. On canalsat, you have the choice between VOSF or dubbed. Pleases everyone.

    Personally, I never watch a movies that has beed dubbed. Subtitle all the way.

  24. Nowadays it is indeed technically possible to provide multiple audio / subtitling choices regardless whether delivered over DTT, satellite, cable or IPTV. And there are private companies who do so (Sky, Netflix, etc)

  25. @anon, translation is rarely perfect (and if it is we tend to argue about what perfection in translation actually means) especially as it is (definitely into English given that every Indian schoolboy claims to be a native English speaker and will do 50,000 words for free to get their foot in the door) a highly price-sensitive market.

    Subtitling is an art form in its own right. You have to lose upwards of 50% of the word count because most people can’t read as fast as they hear. Look at subtitles on Chinese news channels if you ever get the chance – they do that lossless but how anyone follows it is beyond me.

  26. Bloke in Costa Rica

    SAP should be standard. My cable company keeps arseing about with which channels have it. They took it off Cartoon Network recently, whereas any fule kno that the one type of programming that is absolutely diabolical dubbed is animation (for animated features such as Pixar movies they lay the voice tracks down first and then the animators get to work). When I was first learning Spanish, having subtitled movies was very helpful. I could listen to the English and work out how the Spanish was constructed,. The only problem is now I’m fluent I realise how bad most of the translations actually are. The one thing you can say about the subtitles is they’re grammatically correct, which is very useful for learning irregular verbs etc.. In this part of the world most things are either dubbed in Miami or L.A., which means Cuban Spanish or Mexican Spanish respectively. Costa Ricans tend to be a bit derisive of Cuban Spanish as being lower class, which is fun.

    Thirty-plus years ago I was in Austria on holiday. We had a quick shufti at the TV in the room and found Dallas. The guy who was dubbing J.R. had a squeaky, fey voice that led us to posit some kind of Teutonic piss-take. It was a riot.

  27. If they ban dubbing by local actors, they’ll just put them out of work and the dubbing will be done by foreign actors, like half of South America. And what then, they’ll arrest someone for downloading a film with dubbing?

    This comes from the same place with the idea of killing all the sparrows.

  28. A ban, no, the option to watch with subtitles, certainly.

    I was surprised when I first went to Croatia to find that those who did speak English at all tended to speak it very well and very idiomatically. I asked if their English language TV was dubbed or shown with subtitles. It was shown with subtitles.

    Similar situation in Holland.

    Compare with, say, Germany, where English is more widespread but most Germans I know who speak it well still speak it less fluently than the Croats I was working with. TV is dubbed. The difference is always very noticeable.

    Great way to learn a language ‘accidentally’.

    Chris

  29. I watched crouching tiger subtitled first then later dubbed, much preferred the subtitled version. Dubbing I find breaks with the actors expression/timing so that it jars with some of the non verbal aspects of communication.
    I watched one of the matrix films that had some subtitled French with a French speaker and he was the only person to laugh at one point, said the joke didn’t translate, though he also complained it was québécois French

  30. So Much For Subtlety

    Spain dubbed rather than subtitles because of Franco. In order to keep the subversive influences of Communists, Jews and Freemasons out of the country, he ordered all foreign films dubbed. So if there was a bit the Vatican did not like, it could be ignored.

    You know, that sounded like a dumber idea when I started.

    John miller – “Do the Allies speak German with a really crap accent?”

    Only if they are played by Sean Connery.

    bloke in spain – “Of course, that’d need dubbing into Spanish or subtitleing because they’re speaking Andalus. Which the rest of Spain reckons is a bunch of incomprehensible Gitano peasants.”

    Rumour has it that Faulty Towers in Catalonia dubbed Manuel as being from Andalusia. No idea if this is true.

  31. So Much For Subtlety

    The Stigler – “Based on extensive consumption of German cinema, I’ve got a pretty good idea what “schwanz” means, but it’s not much use when finding my way to the railway station.”

    I have no idea what schwanz means although I could take a guess. In which case you may be wrong:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3349303/Sorry-ladies-Men-really-better-sense-direction-Males-use-different-brain-navigate-giving-testosterone-women-boosts-ability.html

    Meantime, while we mock Vietnamese nail bars, it is worth bearing in mind that the Leftists have given us a real slavery problem. The NHS and immigration policies in this case:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3349801/NHS-doctor-nurse-wife-kept-houseboy-slave-nearly-quarter-century-smuggling-UK-jailed-six-years.html

    The court was told that Mr Inuk had gone to the Metropolitan Police for help and also spoke to his local Labour MP Steve Pound and Ealing social services in 2004. But without his passport he was offered little help other than being told to go to his embassy.

    As an exercise for the reader I will ask you to imagine what sort of questions the media would be asking Mr Pound about now had he been a Tory.

  32. Isn’t it funny that such a British focused eurosceptic blog has so many blokes living everywhere else but Britain?

  33. Bloke in Costa Rica

    It’s been remarked upon before. I was one of those who said in ’97 that if Labour won the election I was emigrating, and I did. This blog helps to remind a lot of us why that decision was wise. There are many sound Blokes in X about these parts, and Arnald.

  34. It takes an SMFS to come on a forum full of fluent German speakers and give German lessons, while pointedly not looking a word up on the source of all his wisdom (the internet).

  35. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “It takes an SMFS to come on a forum full of fluent German speakers and give German lessons, while pointedly not looking a word up on the source of all his wisdom (the internet).”

    You know, it is a bit sad you need to follow everything I write in the hope of making some snide little childish comment.

    Especially as, you know, this one is not true. Nowhere do I give anyone a lesson in German.

    You need to get a life son.

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