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Difference Between Dubbed and Subbed

Dubbed vs Subbed

In the world of movies and videos, materials often get released from one country to another. In order to communicate to a wider variety of viewers and promote much larger sales from foreign countries, many companies are exporting movies and videos which are either subbed or dubbed.
“Dubbed” and “subbed” are the means of translating another country’s work to fit into a particular foreign country’s audience.

For instance, dubbed is the technique where the actual voice and the original audio of the video is removed and replaced by a voice-over, usually of the adapted country. This results in the characters’ voices being changed and speaking in that particular foreign language. The video is then recorded with the new audio. This is the most preferred method of translation and the easiest way to have foreign material accessible to a local market. However, the audio is not the only part removed from the material. Any scenes of blood, gore, or what pertain to sex is also removed.

Most often, this technique requires the talents of a voice actor or actress to replace the original voice of the character. In this technique, the video caters to the viewer’s local language and eases comprehension of the plot.
The advantages of dubbed materials are the viewers can concentrate on the big picture or the story of the materials. There is no need to rewind a scene if a viewer didn’t understand the story or if a character spoke too fast. Also, it would be less burdensome on the viewer to follow the story since the audio is changed and translated. This results in the viewer’s appreciation of the show.

However, many people find that dubbed materials are also not consistent and inauthentic. For example, a character might not be speaking in the picture, but there is an audio coming out. This concerns the timing of the voice actor. Sometimes there are times when the voice actor’s voice doesn’t match the character being portrayed. Another concern is the quality of the audio and how talented the voice actors are.

As mentioned, some distributing companies edit or remove content from the original material. Some fans don’t approve of this and often ascribe this practice to censorship and conformity to the local market. For these fans, the material is not complete and is “butchered.”

On the other hand, subbed and subtitles is the less mainstream way of doing the translation. In this approach, the original audio and language of the video is retained. Instead, the video has been embedded with new graphics which show up on the video. These graphics are the translated dialogue of the character and act as captions. This translation is referred to as the “subtitle.” The subtitle is often flashed at the same time when a character speaks and often requires undivided attention from the viewer to comprehend the plot. Reading subtitles, for some, is a skill that is learned and acquired.
Though less mainstream, some fans prefer this mode of translation because of the following reasons:

The content is hardly touched, hence it is considered by some fans as “pure.”
The original voice is much more suited to the character and matches the natural way of speaking.
The timing of the voice is perfect.
Subtitled materials are a way for foreigners to learn a new language.

Fans of foreign materials, especially movies and Japanese animation, have been in constant debate upon which is better. Both sides have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is often for a particular viewer’s choice and preference if they want to watch material with subtitles or dubbed. It does not matter much as long as the viewers enjoyed the material and their viewing experience.


1.Dubbed and subtitles are two different methods of providing translation of foreign material to a local market.
2.Dubbed involves editing, voice-acting, and a new recording of the material while subbed only includes inserting graphics as captions.
3.In dubbing, the voice is changed. On the other hand, subbing doesn’t change anything regarding the voice.
4.Dubbing requires no reading skills and only listening skills while subbing includes both skills to understand and appreciate the material.
5.In dubbing, there are instances where the voice quality is compromised. This doesn’t happen in the subbed version.

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