Have Your Say: Dub or Sub?

Ard Vijn, Associate Editor, Features

To be frank I was tempted to call this article "Remake or Break?" but there is surely no shortage of THAT discussion going on at this here page!

But what does come up every time someone remakes a "foreign" (read: non-English spoken) film is the perceived reluctance of audiences to read subtitles. I say "perceived" because I didn't see subtitles harming "Dances With Wolves" or "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" much. 

Then again, I am from a country with a language SO obscure that we cannot wait to learn foreign languages, primarily English. We hardly do any dubbing whatsoever in The Netherlands bar movies aimed at the youngest of audiences, those who cannot read well yet. As such, I have been trained to read subtitles from an early age and don't even notice them anymore, taking them for granted. Unless they're godawful... in which case they draw attention to themselves in such a way that they can "pull you out" of the movie you're watching.

Which brings me to the subject itself: if a movie is in a language you have no chance of understanding, what do you prefer? A (re-)dub into a language you DO understand, or subtitling?

Both dubbing and subbing can be irritating as hell when done badly, but for both practices you can also find examples where it was done right, with proper respect paid to the source material. With dubs you lose the melody of the original language, while subs sometimes pull your eyes to the wrong corner of the screen.*

So which of these two necessary evils do we prefer (or hate the least), dub or sub?

Have Your Say!  

 

*(Of course there is also that worst-of-both-worlds solution called the "dubtitle" but the less said about that, the better...) 

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