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Dubbing, or re-recording, is a post-production process used in filmmaking and video production, in which additional or supplementary recording occurs after the original recording stage. The process includes automated dialogue replacement (ADR), also known as additional dialogue recording, in which the original actors re-record and synchronize audio segments. Music is frequently subject to the dubbing process in the post-editing stage of a film or TV show. The term "dubbing" most commonly refers to the substitution of the voices of the actors shown on the screen with those of different performers speaking another language.


In the past, dubbing was practiced primarily in musicals when the actor had an unsatisfactory singing voice. Today, dubbing enables the screening of audiovisual material to a mass audiences in countries where viewers do not speak the same language as the performers in the original productions.

Films, videos, and sometimes video games are often dubbed into the local language of a foreign market. In foreign distribution, dubbing is common in theatrically released films, television films, television series, cartoons, and anime.


Automated dialogue replacement / post-sync

Automated dialogue replacement, or additional dialogue recording (ADR), is the process of re-recording dialogue by the original actor after the filming process to improve audio quality or reflect dialogue changes (also known as "looping" or a "looping session").[1][2] ADR is also used to change original lines recorded on set to clarify context, improve diction or timing, or to replace an accented vocal performance. In the UK, it is also called "post-synchronisation" or "post-sync".

In conventional film production, a production sound mixer records dialogue during filming. Accompanying noise from the set, equipment, traffic, wind, and the surrounding environment often results in unusable production sound. During post-production, a supervising sound editor, or ADR supervisor, reviews all of the dialogue in the film and decides which lines must be re-recorded.

For animation, such as computer-generated imagery or animated cartoons, dialogue is recorded to match a pre-edited version of the show. Although the characters' voices are recorded in a studio, ADR is necessary whenever members of the cast cannot all be present at once.

ADR is recorded during an ADR session, which takes place in a specialized sound studio. The actor, usually the original actor from the set, views the scene with the original sound, then attempts to recreate the performance. Over the course of multiple takes, the actor performs the lines while watching the scene; the most suitable take becomes the final version.

Sometimes, a different actor than the original actor on set is used during ADR. Two famous examples are the Star Wars characters Darth Vader (portrayed by David Prowse) and Beru Lars, portrayed by Scottish actress Shelagh Fraser. In post-production, James Earl Jones dubbed the voice of Vader and an unknown actress dubbed for Fraser to replace her heavy Scottish accent.

Other examples include:

ADR can also be used to re-dub singing. This technique was used by Billy Boyd and Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of the Rings

The ADR process does not always take place in a post-production studio. The process may be recorded on location, with mobile equipment. ADR can also be recorded without showing the actor the image he must match, but by having him listen to the performance.

Rythmo band

An alternative method to dubbing, called "rythmo band" (or "lip-sync band"), has historically been used in Canada and France. It provides a more precise guide for the actors, directors, and technicians, and can be used to complement the traditional ADR method. The "band" is actually a clear 35 mm film leader on which the dialogue is hand-written in India ink, together with numerous additional indications for the actor—including laughs, cries, length of syllables, mouth sounds, breaths, and mouth openings and closings. The rythmo band is projected in the studio and scrolls in perfect synchronization with the picture.

Studio time is used more efficiently, since with the aid of scrolling text, picture, and audio cues, actors can read more lines per hour than with ADR alone (only picture and audio). With ADR, actors can average 10–12 lines per hour, while rythmo band can facilitate the reading of 35-50 lines per hour.[3]

The preparation of a rythmo band is a time-consuming process involving a series of specialists organized in a production line. This has prevented the technique from being more widely adopted, but software emulations of rythmo band technology overcome the disadvantages of the traditional rythmo band process and significantly reduce the time needed to prepare a dubbing session.

At present, there exist several dubbing software solutions, including dubStudio (developed in United States.

New technology

Technicians have overcome some of the problems associated with dubbing using new technology. An application developed at New York University, known as Video Rewrite, uses computer animation to match lip movements with the new voice track. In a video clip made using this technology, John F. Kennedy appears to be saying "Video Rewrite gives lip-synced movies".[4]

Media Movers, Inc., a dubbing company, has developed a piece of proprietary software that can automatically sync ADR/dubbed tracks with pre-defined algorithms.[5]

TM Systems received Emmy awards in 2002 and 2007 for their dubbing and subtitling software.[6]

Global use

Dubbing is often used to localize a foreign movie. The new voice track is usually spoken by a voice artist, or voice actor. In many countries, actors who regularly perform this duty remain little-known, with the exception of particular circles (such as anime fandom) or when their voices have become synonymous with roles or actors whose voices they usually dub. In the United States, many of these voice artists may employ pseudonyms or go uncredited due to Screen Actors Guild regulations or the desire to dissociate themselves from the role.

Especially in comedies and animated movies, famous local actors may be hired to perform the dubbing, as their names are intended to attract a local audience; the entire cast may be dubbed by a local cast of similar familiarity.


Children's films and programming

In North-West Europe (the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium and the Nordic countries), Portugal and Balkan countries, generally only movies and TV shows intended for children are dubbed, while TV shows and movies for older audiences are subtitled (although animated productions have a tradition of often being dubbed). For movies in cinemas with clear target audiences both below and above 10–11 years of age, both a dubbed and a subtitled version are usually available.


In the Netherlands, for the most part, Dutch versions are only made for children's films. Animated movies are shown in theaters with Dutch dubbing, but usually those cinemas with more screening rooms also provide the original subtitled version, such as movies like Finding Nemo, Shrek the Third and WALL-E.


Since Belgium is a multilingual country, films are shown in Dutch and French. The range of French-dubbed versions is approximately as wide as the German range, where nearly all films and TV series are dubbed. Sometimes, separate versions are recorded in the Netherlands and in Flanders (for instance, several Walt Disney films and Harry Potter films). These dubbed versions only differ from each other in their use of different voice actors and different pronunciation, while the text is almost the same. In general, movies shown by Flemish broadcasters are always shown in their original language with subtitles, with the exception of most movies made for a young audience.

United Kingdom and Ireland

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the vast majority of foreign films are subtitled, although mostly animated films and TV programmes are dubbed in English. These usually originate from North America, as opposed to being dubbed locally. There have, however, been notable examples of films and TV programmes successfully dubbed in the UK, such as the Japanese Monkey and French Magic Roundabout series. When airing films on television, channels in the UK and Ireland often choose subtitling over dubbing, even if a dubbing in English exists. It is also a fairly common practice for animation aimed at preschool children to be re-dubbed with British voice actors replacing the original voices, although this is not done with shows aimed at older audiences.

Some animated films and TV programmes are also dubbed into Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. In Ireland, animated series shown on TG4 are shown dubbed in Irish.


In Portugal, dubbing was banned under a 1948 law as a way of protecting the domestic film industry. Until 1994, animated movies, as well as other TV series for children shown in Portugal, were dubbed in Brazilian Portuguese due to the lack of interest from Portuguese companies in the dubbing industry. This lack of interest was justified, since there were already quality dubbed copies of shows and movies in Portuguese made by Brazilians, despite differences in grammar and pronunciation. The Lion King was the first feature film to be dubbed in European Portuguese rather than strictly Brazilian Portuguese. Currently, all movies for children are dubbed in European Portuguese. Subtitles are preferred in Portugal, used in every foreign-language documentary, TV series and film. The exception to this preference is when children are the target audience.

While on TV, children's shows and movies are always dubbed, in cinemas, films with a clear juvenile target can be found in two versions, one dubbed (identified by the letters V.P. for versão portuguesa - "Portuguese version") and another subtitled version (V.O. for versão original - "original version"). This duality applies only to juvenile films. Others use subtitles only. While the quality of these dubs is recognised (some have already received international recognition and prizes), original versions with subtitles are usually preferred by the adults (Bee Movie, for example). Dubbing cartoons aimed at adults (such as The Simpsons or South Park) is less common. When The Simpsons Movie debuted in Portugal, most cinemas showed both versions (V.O. and V.P.), but in some small cities, cinemas decided to offer only the Portuguese version, a decision that led to public protest. Presently, live action series and movies are always shown in their original language format with Portuguese subtitles. Television programs for young children (such as Power Rangers, Goosebumps, Big Bad Beetleborgs, etc.) are dubbed into European Portuguese. Some video games aimed at adults (such as God of War III, Halo 3, Assassin's Creed III and inFamous 2) are dubbed in European Portuguese, although there they provide an option to select the original language.


In Romania, virtually all programmes intended for children are dubbed in Romanian, including cartoons, live-action movies and TV series on Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Minimax, and Nickelodeon, as well as those shown on general television networks, children-focused series (such as Power Rangers, The New Addams Family, The Planet's Funniest Animals) or movies screened on children's television. Animated movies are shown in theaters with Romanian dubbing. However, those cinemas with more screening rooms usually also provide the original subtitled version. Such was the case for movies like Babe, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Finding Nemo, Cars, Shrek the Third, Ratatouille, Kung Fu Panda and WALL-E. Other foreign TV shows and movies are shown in the original language with Romanian subtitles. Subtitles are usually preferred in the Romanian market, except for programmes intended for children. According to "Special Eurobarometer 243" of the European Commission (research carried out in November and December 2005), 62% of Romanians prefer to watch foreign films and programmes with subtitles (rather than dubbed), 22% prefer dubbing, and 16% declined to answer.[7] This is led by the assumption that watching movies in their original versions is very useful for learning foreign languages. However, according to the same Eurobarometer, virtually no Romanian found this method—watching movies in their original version—to be the most efficient way to learn foreign languages, compared to 53 percent who preferred language lessons at school.[7]

Nordic countries

In the Nordic countries, dubbing is used only in animated features and other films for young audiences. Some theaters in the major cities may also screen the original version, usually as the last showing of the day, or in a smaller auditorium in a multiplex. In Finland, the dubbed version from Sweden may also be available at certain cinemas for children of the 5% Swedish-speaking minority, but only in cities or towns with a significant percentage of Swedish speakers. DVD releases usually only have the original audio, except for children's films, which have both Finnish and Swedish language tracks, in addition to the original audio and subtitles in both languages.

In movie theaters, films for adult audiences have both Finnish and Swedish subtitles, the Finnish printed in basic font and the Swedish printed below the Finnish in a cursive font. In the early ages of television, foreign TV shows and movies were dubbed by one actor in Finland, as in Russian Gavrilov translation. Later, subtitles became a practice on Finnish television. Dubbing of films other than children's films is unpopular in Finland, as in many other countries. A good example is The Simpsons Movie. While the original version was well-received, the Finnish-dubbed version received poor reviews, with some critics even calling it a disaster. On the other hand, many dubs of Disney animated features have been well-received, both critically and by the public.


In Greece, all films are released theatrically in their original versions and contain subtitles. Only cartoon films (for example, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and others) are released in both original and Greek-dubbed versions, for children who cannot yet read quickly or at all. Foreign TV shows are also shown in their original versions, except for most cartoons. For example The Flintstones and The Jetsons were always dubbed, while Family Guy and American Dad! are always subtitled and contain the original English dialogue, since they are mostly for adults rather than children. Only Mexican TV series (like Rubí and La usurpadora) and teen series (like Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody) are dubbed in Greek. Japanese Anime like Dragon Ball, Tokyo Mew Mew, Sonic X, Pokémon and Sailor Moon are shown dubbed in Greek.


In Serbia and most other Serbian-speaking parts of former Yugoslavia, foreign films, TV series and TV news broadcasts are always subtitled, while children's movies and cartoons are dubbed into Serbian. The dubbing of cartoon series during the 1980s had a twist of its own: famous Belgrade actors provided the voices for characters of Disney, Warner Brothers, MGM and other companies, frequently using region-specific phrases and sentences and, thus, adding a dose of local humor to the translation of the original lines. These phrases became immensely popular and are still being used for tongue-in-cheek comments in specific situations. Even though these dubbed classics are seldom aired today, younger generations continue to use these phrases without knowing their true origin.


In Croatia, foreign films and TV series are always subtitled, while most children's programs and animated movies are dubbed into Croatian. Recently, more efforts have been made to introduce dubbing, but public reception has been poor. Regardless of language, Croatian audiences prefer subtitling to dubbing. Some previously popular shows (such as Sailor Moon) lost their appeal completely after the practice of dubbing began, and the dubbing was eventually removed from the programs. This situation is similar with theater movies, with only those intended for children being dubbed (such as Finding Nemo and Shark Tale), but they are also regularly shown subtitled as well. Recently, there has been an effort to impose dubbing by Nova TV, with La Fea Más Bella translated as Ružna ljepotica (literally, "The Ugly Beauty"), a Mexican telenovela, but it failed. In fact, only a quarter of the show had been dubbed, and it was ultimately replaced with the subtitled version due to lack of interest in the dubbed version.


In Slovenia, all foreign films and television programmes are subtitled without exception. Traditionally, children's movies and animated cartoons used to be dubbed. However, subtitling has gradually spread into that genre, as well. Currently, only movies for pre-school children remain dubbed.


Estonian films are shown in the original language with subtitles at cinemas. Subtitles are usually presented in both Estonian and Russian languages. Animated films are commonly shown in both the original language and dubbed into Estonian (or Russian in many cinemas). Most Estonian-language television channels use subtitles for foreign-language films and TV channels. However, Russian language channels tend to use dubbing more often, especially for Russian channels broadcast from Russia (as opposed to Russian channels broadcast from Estonia).

General films and programming

In the Italian, French, German, Spanish, Turkish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Russian and Ukrainian language-speaking markets of Europe, almost all foreign films and television shows are dubbed (the exception being the majority of theatrical releases of adult-audience movies in Czech Republic and Slovakia, and high-profile videos in Russia). There are few opportunities to watch foreign movies in their original versions. In Spain, Italy, Germany and Austria, even in the largest cities, there are few cinemas that screen original versions with subtitles, or without any translation. However, digital pay-TV programming is often available in the original language, including the latest movies. Prior to the rise of DVDs, which in these countries are mostly issued with multi-language audio tracks, original-language films (those in languages other than the country's official language) were rare, whether in theaters, on TV, or on home video, and subtitled versions were considered a product for small niche markets such as intellectual or art films.


In France, movies and TV series are always released dubbed in French for TV airing, although they are increasingly also available in their original language with French subtitles. Films are usually released theatrically in both dubbed and original versions in large cities' main street theaters (except in Paris, where the vast majority of foreign films are shown with subtitles). A theater showing a subtitled movie typically has a sign on the poster advising moviegoers that the film is an original-language version (usually abbreviated VO [version originale] or VOST [version originale sous-titrée], as opposed to VF [version française]). Normally, the availability of films dubbed or subtitled depends on the characteristics of the films. American blockbusters with mainly mixed or negative reviews by critics tend to be only released in dubbed versions, while foreign films with mainly positive reviews are usually available in their original versions. Art house movies are often only available in their original version, due to limited distribution. Some voice talents, such as Alexandre Gillet, Roger Carel, Claire Guyot, Céline Monsarrat, Richard Darbois, Jacques Balutin and Marc Alfos, have achieved significant popularity.


The Germanophone dubbing market is the largest in Europe. Germany has the most foreign-movie-dubbing studios per capita and per given area in the world. In Germany, Austria and the German-speaking part of Switzerland, practically all films, shows, television series and foreign soap operas are shown in dubbed versions created for the German market. However, in Switzerland's largest towns and cities, subtitled versions are common. Dubbing films is a traditional and common practice in German-speaking Europe, since subtitles are not accepted and used as much as in other European countries. According to a European study, Austria is the country with the highest rejection rate (more than 70 percent) of subtitles, followed by Italy, Spain and Germany..

In German-speaking markets, computer and video games feature German text menus and are dubbed into the German language if speaking parts exist. However, in recent years, Swiss-German television stations SRF 1 and SRF zwei have been showing increasing numbers of movies in "dual sound," which means the viewer can choose between the original language (usually English) or German. In addition, Swiss-French television makes many broadcasts available in either the original or local language, as does the Swiss-Italian television channel RSI. Common examples are the American detective series Columbo, and other popular series-based broadcasts, such as Starsky and Hutch.

Although German-speaking voice actors play only a secondary role, they are still notable for providing familiar voices to well-known actors. Famous foreign actors are known and recognized for their German voice, and the German audience is used to them, so dubbing is also a matter of authenticity. However, in larger cities, there are theaters where movies can be seen in their original versions, as English has become somewhat more popular among young educated viewers. On German mainstream television, films are never broadcast with subtitles, but pay-per-view programming is often available in the original language. Subtitled niche and art films are sometimes aired on smaller networks.

German-dubbed versions sometimes diverge greatly from the original, especially in adding humorous elements to the original. In extreme cases, such as The Persuaders!, the dubbed version was more successful than the English original. Often, translation adds sexually explicit gags the U.S. versions might not be allowed to use. For example, in Bewitched, the translators changed "The Do Not Disturb sign will hang on the door tonight" to "The only hanging thing tonight will be the Do Not Disturb sign".

Some movies dubbed before reunification exist in different versions for the east and the west. They use different translations, and often differ in the style of dubbing.


In Italy, dubbing is systematic, with a tradition going back to the 1930s in Rome, Milan and Turin. In Mussolini's fascist Italy, release of foreign languages movies was banned for political reasons. Rome is the principal base of the dubbing industry, where major productions such as movies, drama, documentaries and some cartoons are dubbed. However, dubbing in Milan is mostly of cartoons and some minor productions. Practically every foreign film (mostly American ones) of every genre, for children or adults, as well as TV shows, are dubbed into Italian. In big cities, original-version movies can also be seen in some theaters. Subtitles are usually available on late-night programs on mainstream TV channels, and on pay-TV all movies are available in the original language with Italian subtitles, many shows featuring their original soundtracks. For fans of dubbing, there are some little-known sites on the Internet that offer free streaming of movies with their Italian soundtracks.

Early in their careers, actors such as Alberto Sordi[8] or Nino Manfredi worked extensively as dubbing actors. At one point, common practice in Italian cinema was to shoot scenes MOS (motor only sync or motor only shot) and dub the dialogue in post-production. A notable example of this practice is The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, in which even actors speaking English on screen had to dub in their own voices. Also in Italy, an actor or actress can be identified with his or her dubbing artist's voice. For instance, Ferruccio Amendola is Robert De Niro or Sylvester Stallone, Giuseppe Rinaldi is Paul Newman, Lydia Simoneschi is Bette Davis or Ingrid Bergman, etc.

Czech Republic and Slovakia

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, virtually all foreign films and television programs shown on television are dubbed, often by very well-known actors. In Slovakia, the Czech dub is often shown instead of a locally produced production. Some audiences prefer the Czech dubs because they are considered to be of higher quality. In both countries, dubbing actors often overact, causing audiences to view American films as of low intellectual quality. In cinemas, films are usually shown subtitled, unless they are intended for children of 12 years of age and younger. Slovak law requires that those films be dubbed or rated as MP-12 (roughly equivalent to PG-13, without a cautionary meaning in this case.).

Cinemas sometimes offer both dubbed and subtitled screenings for either major movie releases (for example, the Lord of the Rings trilogy that would have otherwise not been dubbed) or, conversely, for children's or family films that are expected to also attract mature viewers (for example, Shrek), to maximize the potential audience. In the Czech Republic, it is also common that some actors are always dubbed by one individual Czech actor; for instance, Louis de Funès was almost always dubbed by František Filipovský. In Slovakia, state-owned public broadcaster Slovenská televízia dubs programs that it acquires from foreign companies for its channels into Slovak. Markíza and TV JOJ also dub TV series. In the Czech Republic, Minimax, Animax, TV Prima and other Czech-language stations also performs dubbing. For example, Jan Maxián is the official Czech voice dubbing artist for high-profile actor Elijah Wood. However, in the Slovak dubbing markets, Elijah Wood's Slovak voice is provided by Michal Hallon.


In Spain, practically all foreign television programs are shown dubbed in European Spanish, as are most films. Some dubbing actors have achieved popularity for their voices, such as Constantino Romero (who dubs Clint Eastwood, Darth Vader and Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator, among others) and Óscar Muñoz (the official European Spanish dub-over voice artist for Elijah Wood and Hayden Christensen).

In Catalonia, the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands, Galicia and the Basque Country, many or most foreign programs are also dubbed into their own official languages, different from European Spanish. Currently, with the spread of digital terrestrial television, most movies and television series can be viewed in both the original language and dubbed versions.


In the United States and most of Canada outside of Quebec, foreign films shown in theaters (such as Metropolis and Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur 2006) are usually subtitled. The exceptions are tokusatsu and daikaiju films, which are dubbed when imported into the U.S. However, the poor quality of the dubbing of these films has become the subject of mockery. A small number of British films have been dubbed when released in America due to dialects used with which Americans are not familiar (for example, Kes and Trainspotting). In addition, British children's shows (such as Bob the Builder) are re-dubbed with American voice actors, making the series more understandable for American children.

Televised Japanese anime is almost always aired in its dubbed format, regardless of its content or target age group. The exceptions to this practice are either when an English dub has not been produced for the program (usually in the case of feature films) or when the program is being presented by a network that places importance on presenting it in its original format (as was the case when Turner Classic Movies aired several of Hayao Miyazaki's works, which were presented both dubbed and subtitled). Most anime DVDs contain options for original Japanese, Japanese with subtitles, and English-dubbed, except for a handful of series that have been heavily edited or Americanized. In addition, Disney has a policy that makes its directors undergo stages to perfect alignment of certain lip movements so the movie looks believable.

Spanish-speaking countries

For Spanish-speaking countries, all foreign-language programs, films, cartoons and documentaries shown in free aired TV channels are dubbed into Neutral Spanish, while on cable and satellite pan-regional channels, films are either dubbed or subtitled. In theaters, only films made for children are dubbed into Neutral Spanish (sometimes with Mexican pronunciation) and sometimes dubbed into local Spanish. In Argentina, all movies are shown in their original language, in addition to Spanish-dubbed versions of films for children.


In Mexico, by law, films shown in theaters must be shown in their original version. Films in languages other than Spanish are usually subtitled. Only educational documentaries and movies rated for children, as well as some movies that are expected to have a wide audience (for example, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King or The Avengers) may be dubbed, but this is not compulsory, and some animated films are shown in theaters in both dubbed and subtitled versions (for instance, some DreamWorks productions).

Dubbing must be made in Mexico by Mexican nationals or foreigners residing in Mexico.[9] However, several programs that are shown on pay TV are dubbed in other countries like Venezuela, Chile or Colombia.

Most movies released on DVD feature neutral Spanish as a language option, and sometimes feature a specific dub for Mexican audiences (for example, Rio). Foreign programs are dubbed on broadcast TV, while on pay TV most shows and movies are subtitled.

Dubbing became very popular in the 1990s with the rise in popularity of anime in Mexico. Some voice actors have become celebrities and are always identified with specific characters, such as Mario Castañeda (who became popular by dubbing Goku in Dragon Ball Z) or Humberto Vélez (who dubbed Homer Simpson in the first 15 seasons of The Simpsons).

The popularity of pay TV has allowed people to view several series in their original language rather than dubbed. Dubbing has been criticized for the use of TV or movie stars as voice actors (such as Ricky Martin on Disney’s Hercules, or Eugenio Derbez on DreamWorks' Shrek), or for the incorrect use of local popular culture that sometimes creates unintentional jokes or breaks the feeling of the original work (such as translating Sheldon Cooper's "Bazinga!" to "¡Vacilón!").

Several video games have been dubbed into neutral Spanish, rather than European Spanish, in Mexico (such as the Gears of War series, Halo 3, Infamous 2 and others). Sony recently announced that more games (such as God of War: Ascension) will be dubbed into neutral Spanish.


In Brazil, foreign programs are invariably dubbed into Brazilian Portuguese on broadcast TV, with only a few exceptions. Films shown at cinemas are generally offered with both subtitled and dubbed versions, with dubbing frequently being the only choice for children's movies. Subtitling was primarily for adult audience movies until 2012. Since then, dubbed versions also became available for all ages. As a result, in recent years, more cinemas have opened in Brazil, attracting new audiences to the cinema who prefer dubbing.[10] Pay TV commonly offers both dubbed and subtitled movies, with statistics showing that dubbed versions are becoming predominant.[11] When released on DVD or Blu-ray, most movies (with a few exceptions) usually feature both dubbing and subtitling. Video games are being dubbed in Brazilian Portuguese as well, rather than having European Portuguese dubs alone. Games such as Halo 3, God of War: Ascension, inFamous 2, Assassin's Creed III, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, World of Warcraft and others are dubbed in Brazilian Portuguese.


In Québec, Canada, most films and TV programs in English are dubbed into Québec French (with an International French accent for ease of comprehension and regional neutrality). Occasionally, the dubbing of a series or a movie, such as The Simpsons, is made using the more widely spoken joual variety of Québec French, with the advantage of making children's films and TV series more comprehensible to younger audiences. However, many bilingual Québécois prefer subtitling, since they would understand some or all of the original audio. In addition, all films are shown in English, as well in certain theaters (especially in major cities and English-speaking areas such as the West Island), and some theatres, such as the Scotiabank Cinema Montreal, show only movies in English. Most American television series are only available in English on DVD, or on English-language channels, but some of the more popular ones have French dubs shown on mainstream networks, and are released in French on DVD as well, sometimes separately from an English-only version.

Formerly, all French-language dubbed films in Québec were imported from France and some still are. Such a practice was criticized by former politician Mario Dumont after he took his children to see the Parisian French dub of Shrek the Third, which Dumont found incomprehensible. After his complaints and a proposed bill, Bee Movie, the film from DreamWorks Animation, was dubbed in Québec, making it the studio's first animated film to have a Québec French dub, as all DreamWorks Animation films had previously been dubbed in France.[12]

In addition, because Canadian viewers usually find Québec French more comprehensible than other dialects of the language, some older film series that had the French-language versions of previous installments dubbed in France have had later ones dubbed in Québec, often creating inconsistencies within the French version of the series' canon. Lucasfilm's Star Wars and Indiana Jones series are examples. Both series had films released in the 1970s and 1980s, with no Québécois French dubbed versions; instead, the Parisian French versions, with altered character and object names and terms, were distributed in the province. However, later films in both series released 1999 and later were dubbed in Québec, using different voice actors and "reversing" name changes made in France's dubbings due to the change in studio. The French dub of Naruto that airs in Québec is from France, but uses a local opening.



China has a long tradition of dubbing foreign films into Mandarin Chinese, starting in the 1930s. While during the Republic of China era Western motion pictures may have been imported and dubbed into Chinese, since 1950 Soviet movies, dubbed primarily in Shanghai, became the main import.[13] Beginning in the late 1970s, in addition to films, popular TV series from the United States, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico were also dubbed. The Shanghai Film Dubbing Studio has been the most well-known studio in the film dubbing industry in China. In order to generate high-quality products, they divide each film into short segments, each one lasting only a few minutes, and then work on the segments one-by-one. In addition to the correct meaning in translation, they make tremendous effort to match the lips of the actors to the dialogue. As a result, the dubbing in these films generally is not readily detected. The cast of dubbers is acknowledged at the end of a dubbed film. Several dubbing actors and actresses of the Shanghai Film Dubbing Studio have become well-known celebrities, such as Qiu Yuefeng, Bi Ke, Li Zi, and Liu Guangning. In recent years, however, especially in the larger cities on the east and south coasts, it has become increasingly common for movie theaters to show subtitled versions with the original soundtracks intact.

Motion pictures are also dubbed into the languages of some of China's autonomous regions. Notably, the Translation Department of the Tibetan Autonomous Region Movie Company (西藏自治区电影公司译制科) [14] has been dubbing movies into the Tibetan language since the 1960s. In the early decades, it would dub 25 to 30 movies each year, the number rising to 60-75 by the early 2010s.[14][15] Motion pictures are dubbed for China's Mongol- and Uyghur-speaking markets as well.[16]


Taiwan dubs some foreign films and TV series in Mandarin Chinese. Until the mid-1990s, the major national terrestrial channels both dubbed and subtitled all foreign programs and films and, for some popular programs, the original voices were offered in Second audio program. Gradually, however, both terrestrial and cable channels stopped dubbing for prime time U.S. shows and films, while subtitling continued.

In the 2000s, the dubbing practice has differed depending on the nature and origin of the program. Animations, children's shows and some educational programs on PTS are mostly dubbed. English live-action movies and shows are not dubbed in theaters or on television. Japanese TV dramas are no longer dubbed, while Korean dramas, Hong Kong dramas and dramas from other Asian countries are still often dubbed. Korean variety shows are not dubbed. Japanese and Korean films on Asian movie channels are still dubbed. In theaters, most foreign films are not dubbed, while animated films and some films meant for children offer a dubbed version. Hong Kong live-action films have a long tradition of being dubbed into Mandarin, while more famous films offer a Cantonese version.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, foreign television programmes, except for English and Mandarin television programmes, are dubbed in Cantonese, as are Japanese programmes, including anime. English and Mandarin programmes are generally shown in their original language with subtitles. Foreign films, such as most live-action and animated films (such as anime and Disney), are usually dubbed in Cantonese.

For the most part, foreign films and TV programmes, both live-action and animated, are generally dubbed in both Mandarin and Cantonese. For example, in The Lord of the Rings film series, Elijah Wood's character Frodo Baggins was dubbed into Mandarin by Jiang Guangtao for China and Taiwan. For the Cantonese localization, his voice was provided by Bosco Tang for Hong Kong and Macau.


In Israel, only children's movies and TV programming are dubbed in Hebrew. In programs aimed at teenagers and adults, dubbing is rarely considered for translation, not only because of its high costs, but also because the audience is mainly multi-lingual. Most viewers in Israel speak at least one European language in addition to Hebrew, and a large part of the audience also speaks Arabic. Therefore, most viewers prefer to hear the original soundtrack, aided by Hebrew subtitles. Another problem is that dubbing does not allow for translation into two different languages simultaneously, as is often the case of Israeli television channels that use subtitles in Hebrew and another language (like Russian) simultaneously.


In Japan, many television programs appear on Japanese television subtitled or dubbed if they are intended for children. When the American film Morocco was released in Japan in 1931, subtitles became the mainstream method of translating TV programs and films in Japan. Later, around the 1950s, foreign television programs and films began to be shown dubbed in Japanese on television.

Due to the lack of video software for domestic television, video software was imported from abroad. When the television program was shown on television, it was mostly dubbed. There was a character limit for a small TV screen at a lower resolution, and this method was not suitable for the poor elderly and illiterate eye, as was audio dubbing. Presently, TV shows and movies (both those aimed at all ages and adults-only) are shown dubbed with the original language and Japanese subtitles, while providing the original language option when the same film is released on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray.

Adult cartoons such as Family Guy and South Park are shown dubbed in Japanese on the WOWOW TV channel. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut was dubbed in Japanese by different actors instead of the same Japanese dubbing-actors from the cartoon because it was handled by a different Japanese dubbing studio, and it was marketed for the Kansai market. In Japanese theaters, foreign-language movies, except those intended for children, are usually shown in their original version with Japanese subtitles. Foreign films usually contain multiple Japanese-dubbing versions, but with several different original Japanese-dubbing voice actors, depending upon which TV station they are aired. NHK, Nippon TV, Fuji TV, TV Asahi, and TBS usually follow this practice, as do software releases on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray. There are some film theaters in Japan that show both dubbed and subtitled editions of foreign films.

"Japanese dub-over artists" provide the voices for certain performers, such as those listed in the following table:


In Thailand, foreign television programs are dubbed in Thai, but the original soundtrack is often simultaneously carried on a NICAM audio track on terrestrial broadcast, and alternate audio tracks on satellite broadcast. Previously, terrestrial stations simulcasted the original soundtrack on the radio. On pay-TV, many channels carry foreign-language movies and television programs with subtitles. Nearly all movie theaters throughout the country show both the subtitled version and the dubbed version of English-language movies. In Bangkok, the majority of theaters showing English-language movies are subtitled only. In big cities like Bangkok, Thai-language movies have English subtitles. For English-language animated movies, Disney films like The Lion King, Mulan and Tangled are dubbed entirely in Thai.

Chonnai Sukawat has provided the Thai-dubbing voice for the heroine Rapunzel in the film Tangled. In Harry Potter, Hermione Granger was dubbed in Thai by Thai singer and actress Bismillah Nana. Many English-language movies are sold on VCDs in Thailand, with the original English language and Thai subtitles, while also available with the Thai-language-dubbed version, such as Eragon, Avatar, the Harry Potter film series, and The Lord of the Rings film series. Thai lakorns have English subtitles if broadcast on international television channels or are sold as DVD abroad.

South Korea

In South Korea, anime that are imported from Japan are generally shown dubbed in Korean on television. However, some anime is censored, such as Japanese letters or content being edited for a suitable Korean audience. Western cartoons are dubbed in Korean as well, such as Nickelodeon cartoons like SpongeBob SquarePants and Danny Phantom. Several English-language (mostly American) live-action films are dubbed in Korean, but they are not shown in theaters. Instead they are only broadcast on South Korean television networks (KBS, MBC, SBS), while DVD import releases of these films are shown with Korean subtitles. This may be due to the fact that the six American major film studios may not own any rights to the Korean dubs of their live-action films that the Korean television networks have dubbed and aired. Even if they don't own the rights, Korean or non-Korean viewers can record from Korean-dubbed live-action films from television broadcasting onto DVDs with DVRs.

Sometimes, video games are dubbed in Korean. Examples would be the Haloseries, the Jak & Daxter series, and the God of War series. For the Halo games, Lee Jeong Gu provides his Korean voice to the main protagonist Master Chief (replacing Steve Downes's voice), while Kim So Hyeong voices Chieftain Tartarus, one of the main antagonists (replacing Kevin Michael Richardson's voice).

Indonesia and Malaysia

In Indonesia and Malaysia, South American telenovelas are dubbed in Indonesian and Malay, while English-language programs are usually shown in the original language with Indonesian and Malay subtitles, respectively. However, this has recently changed in Malaysia, and South American telenovelas now retain their original language, with Malay subtitles. Most, but not all, of Korean and Japanese dramas are still dubbed in Mandarin with Malay subtitles on terrestrial television channels. Cantonese, Mandarin, Tamil and Hindi programmes are shown in original language, usually with Malay subtitling (and in some cases, multilingual subtitling).

Cartoons and anime are dubbed, as well, such as Kekkaishi, Megas XLR, and Spheres (Korea), dubbed by young soundman Mohamad Nor Aliff Abd Majid, also known as Aliff JJ, and others including Crayon Shin Chan, Doraemon, Bleach, and Naruto. Although English-language cartoons are normally not dubbed, some anime do retain their original Japanese language. However, Malay-dubbed English-language cartoons are much more frequently occurring on television, . such as Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network series. In most cases, on pay TV channels, usually Nickelodeon use a separate audio track on top of the original track. In Indonesia, most English-language daytime cartoons are dubbed. However, on some pay-TV channels, such as Nickelodeon, cartoons are not dubbed and do not have subtitles. Feature animations are either dubbed or subtitled, depending upon which television channel it appears.

Malaysian news programs are broadcast in several languages for 20 minutes each language for minor languages and international languages, including dialects of Chinese. The languages of news to broadcast by law is Malay, English, Mandarin Chinese, Min Nan and Thai.


In the Philippines, Japanese anime are usually dubbed in Tagalog or another Philippine regional language. The channel HERO TV, which focuses on anime and tokusatsu shows, dubs all its foreign programs into Tagalog. Animax, meanwhile, has their anime programs dubbed in English. Also popular in the Philippines are Chinese, Korean, and Mexican dramas, which are called Chinovelas, Koreanovelas, and Mexicanovelas, respectively. All of these dramas are dubbed in Tagalog or another Philippine regional language, with its unique set of Filipino-speaking voice actors.

The prevalence of media needing to be dubbed has resulted in a talent pool that is very capable of syncing voice to lip, especially for shows broadcast by the country's three largest networks. It is not uncommon in the Filipino dub industry to have most of the voices in a series dubbed by only a handful of voice talents. Normally, English-language programs are usually not dubbed, because most Filipinos can understand English. Notable exceptions are a number of Nickelodeon cartoons shown on TV5, which are dubbed in Tagalog or another Philippine regional language. TV5 and GMA7 are also the only television channels in the country that air English-language movies dubbed in Tagalog. Cinema One, ABS-CBN's cable movie channel, shows movies mostly in Korea and Thailand dubbed in Tagalog. NatGeo Wild airs most programs dubbed in Tagalog for Philippine audiences, one of the few cable channels to do so.


In Mongolia, most television dubbing uses the Russian method, with only a few voice actors and the original language audible underneath. In movie theaters, foreign films are shown in their original language with Mongolian subtitles.


In India, where "foreign films" are synonymous with "Hollywood films," dubbing is done mostly in three major Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Dubbing of foreign languages is rarely done with the other major Indian languages, namely Malayalam and Bengali, due to the high literacy rate among the population who speak the languages. The finished works are released into the towns and lower tier settlements of the respective states (where English penetration is low), often with the English-language originals released in the metropolitan areas. In all other states, the English originals are released along with the dubbed versions, where often the dubbed version collections are more outstanding than the originals. The most recent dubbing of Spider-Man 3 was also done in the Bhojpuri language, a language popular in eastern India. A Good Day to Die Hard, the most recent installment in the Die Hard franchise, was the first ever Hollywood film to receive a Punjabi language dub as well.

Most TV channels mention neither the Indian-language dubbing credits, nor its staff, at the end of the original ending credits, since changing the credits casting for the original actors or voice actors involves a huge budget for modifying, making it somewhat difficult to find information for the dubbed versions. The same situation is encountered for films. Information for the Hindi, Tamil and Telugu voice actors who have done the voices for specific actors and for their roles on foreign films and television programs are published in local Indian data magazines, for those that are involved in the dubbing industry in India. But on a few occasions, there are some foreign productions that do credit the dubbing cast, such as animated films like the Barbie films, and some Disney films. Disney Channel original series released on DVD with their Hindi dubs show a list of the artists in the Hindi dub credits, after the original ending credits. Theatrical releases and VCD releases of foreign films do not credit the dubbing cast or staff. The DVD releases, however, do have credits for the dubbing staff, if they are released multilingual. For a list of Indian voice-dubbing artists, click here. A few Indian dubbing artists are listed in the table below.


In Pakistan, almost 60% of the population speaks Punjabi as their mother tongue. Therefore, Punjabi films generate more business than Urdu films. The film companies produced Punjabi films and re-record all films in Urdu, releasing the result as a "double version" film.

Also in Pakistan, where "foreign films" are synonymous with Hollywood films, dubbing is done mostly in Urdu , which is the national language, and the finished works are released in the major cities throughout country.


In Vietnam, foreign-language films and programs are subtitled on television in Vietnamese. They are not dubbed until 1985, but are briefly translated with a speaker before commercial breaks. Rio was considered to be the very first American Hollywood film to be entirely dubbed in Vietnamese. Since then, children's films that came out afterwards have been released dubbed in theaters. HTV3 has dubbed television programs for children, including Ben 10, and Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, by using various voice actors to dub over the character roles.[17][18]


In multilingual Singapore, English-language programs on the free-to-air terrestrial channels are usually subtitled in Chinese or Malay, while Chinese, Malay and Tamil programs are almost always subtitled in English. Dual sound programs, such as Korean and Japanese dramas, offer sound in the original languages with subtitles, Mandarin-dubbed and subtitled, or English-dubbed. The deliberate policy to encourage Mandarin among citizens made it required by law for programs in other Chinese dialects (Hokkien, Cantonese and Teochew) to be dubbed into Mandarin, with the exception of traditional operas. Cantonese and Hokkien shows from Hong Kong and Taiwan, respectively, are available on VCD and DVD. In a recent development, news bulletins are subtitled.

Middle East

In Egypt and Saudi Arabia, many Turkish soap operas and Indian films are dubbed in Arabic, and are distributed around Arabic speaking countries.

In Iran, foreign films and television programs are dubbed in Persian. Dubbing began in 1946 with the advent of movies and cinemas in the country. Since then, foreign movies have always been dubbed for the cinema and TV. Using various voice actors and adding local hints and witticisms to the original contents, dubbing played a major role in attracting people to the cinemas and developing an interest in other cultures. The dubbing art in Iran reached its apex during the 1960s and 1970s with the inflow of American, European and Hindi movies.

The most famous musicals of the time, such as My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music, were translated, adjusted and performed in Persian by the voice artists. Since the 1990s, for political reasons and under pressure from the state, the dubbing industry has declined, with movies dubbed only for the state TV channels. During recent years, DVDs with Persian subtitles have found a market among viewers for the same reason, but most people still prefer the Persian-speaking dubbed versions. Recently, privately operated companies started dubbing TV series by hiring famous dubbers.


The Maghreb

In Algeria and Morocco, most foreign movies (especially Hollywood productions) are shown dubbed in French. These movies are usually imported directly from French film distributors. The choice of movies dubbed into French can be explained by the history of colonization of these countries by France and the widespread use of the French language (among the intellectual elite), in addition to the marginalization of one national language. Another important factor is that local theaters and private media companies do not dub in local languages in order to avoid high costs, but also because of the lack of both expertise and demand.

Beginning in the 1980s, dubbed series and movies for children in Modern Standard Arabic became a popular choice among most TV channels, cinemas and VHS/DVD stores. However, dubbed films are still imported, and dubbing is performed in Arab countries with a strong tradition of dubbing and subtitling (mainly Syria, Lebanon and Jordan). The evolution of movies targeting the adult audience was different. After the satellite boom in the Arab world and the emergence of Pan-Arab channels, the use of subtitles, which was already popular in the Middle East, was highly popular among local viewers in Algeria and Morocco.

In the Arab world (member states in North Africa, Western Asia and others), only children's films and TV series were dubbed in Arabic. Many different anime titles are dubbed in the Arabic language, as well. Everything else is usually shown in its original language with Arabic subtitles. Recently, The Arabic dubbing industry has boomed, and channels such as MBC Max, are now offering famous older action films aimed at an older audience dubbed in Arabic to be broadcast on television. Action movies such as Braveheart, The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and Troy have become some of the first foreign action titles to be dubbed in Arabic, rather than using subtitles, on the MBC Max channel. However, they can still be watched in their original language with subtitles.[19]

In Tunisia, theaters usually show French-dubbed movies, but cinema attendance in the country for such movies is in continuous decline compared to Tunisian and Arab movies. This decline can be traced to the huge popularity of free-to-air Pan-Arab movie channels offering primarily subtitled content, and the government's reduced efforts to limit piracy. Tunisia National Television (TNT), the public broadcaster of Tunisia, is not allowed to show any content in any language other than Arabic, which forces it to broadcast only dubbed content (this restriction was recently removed for commercials). During the 1970s and 1980s, TNT (known as ERTT at the time) started dubbing famous cartoons in Tunisian and Standard Arabic. This move was highly successful locally, but was not able to compete with mainstream dubbing companies (especially in the Middle East). In the private sector, television channels are not subject to the language rule and sometimes broadcast foreign content dubbed into French (excluding children content), although some of them, such as Hannibal TV, started adopting subtitling in Arabic instead, which proved to be more popular than simply importing French-dubbed content.

South Africa

In South Africa, many television programmes were dubbed in Afrikaans, with the original soundtrack (usually in English, but sometimes Dutch or German) "simulcast" in FM stereo on Radio 2000. These included The Six Million Dollar Man, (Steve Austin: Die Man van Staal)[20] and Miami Vice (Misdaad in Miami).[21]

This practice has declined as a result of the reduction of airtime for the language on SABC TV, and the increase of locally produced material in Afrikaans on other channels like KykNet and MK.

Similarly, many programmes, such as The Jeffersons, were dubbed into Zulu,[22] but this has also declined as local drama production has increased.

As a result of the boycott by the British actors' union Equity, which banned the sale of most British television programmes, the puppet series The Adventures of Rupert Bear was dubbed into South African English, as the original voices had been recorded by Equity voice artists.[23]


In common with other English-speaking countries, there has traditionally been little dubbing in Australia, with foreign-language television programmes and films being shown (usually on SBS) with subtitles. This has also been the case in New Zealand, but the Maori Television Service, launched in 2004, has dubbed animated films into Maori.[24] However, some TV commercials from foreign countries are dubbed, even if the original commercial came from another English-speaking country.



Main article: Subtitle (captioning)

Subtitles can be used instead of dubbing, as different countries have different traditions regarding the choice between dubbing and subtitling. On DVDs with higher translation budgets, the option for both types will often be provided to account for individual preferences; purists often demand subtitles. For small markets (small language area or films for a select audience), subtitling is more suitable, because it is cheaper. In the case of films for small children who cannot yet read, or do not read fast enough, dubbing is necessary.

In most English-speaking countries, dubbing is comparatively rare. In Israel, some programmes need to be comprehensible to speakers of both Hebrew and Russian. This cannot be accomplished with dubbing, so subtitling is much more commonplace—sometimes even with subtitles in multiple languages, with the soundtrack remaining in the original language, usually English. The same applies to certain television shows in Finland, where Finnish and Swedish are both official languages.

In the Netherlands, Flanders, Nordic countries and Estonia, films and television programmes are shown in the original language (usually English) with subtitles, and only cartoons and children's movies and programs are dubbed, such as the Harry Potter series, Finding Nemo, Shrek, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and others. Cinemas usually show both a dubbed version and one with subtitles for this kind of movie, with the subtitled version shown later in the evening.

In Portugal, this has traditionally been the case (at least for live-action material), but one terrestrial channel, TVI, dubs U.S. series like Dawson's Creek into Portuguese. RTP also transmitted Friends in a dubbed version, but it was poorly received and later re-aired in a subtitled version. Cartoons, on the other hand, are usually dubbed, sometimes by well-known actors, even on TV. Animated movies are usually released to the cinemas in both subtitled and dubbed versions.

In Argentina and Venezuela, terrestrial channels air films and TV series in a dubbed version, as demanded by law. However, those same series can be seen on cable channels at more accessible time-slots in their subtitled version, and usually before they are shown on open TV. In contrast, the series The Simpsons is aired in its Mexican-dubbed version both on terrestrial television and on the cable station Fox, which broadcasts the series for the area. Although the first season of the series appeared with subtitles, this was not continued for the following seasons.

Apart from airing dubbed TV series (for example, Lost, ER and House), the Argentinian open TV station Canal 13 (Argentina) has bought the rights to produce and air a "ported version" of Desperate Housewives in Argentina, with local actors and actresses.

Dubbing and subtitling

In Bulgaria, television series are dubbed, but most television channels use subtitles for action and drama movies. AXN uses subtitles for its series, but as of 2008 emphasizes dubbing. Only Diema channels dub all programs. Movies in theaters, with the exception of films for children, use subtitles. Dubbing of television programs is usually done using voiceovers, but usually with at least four or five actors reading the lines, while trying to give each character a different voice by using appropriate intonations. Dubbing with synchronized voices is rarely used, mostly for animated films. Mrs. Doubtfire is a rare example of a feature film dubbed this way on BNT Channel 1, though a subtitled version is currently shown on other channels.

Walt Disney Television's animated series (such as DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, and Timon and Pumbaa) were only aired with synchronized Bulgarian voices on BNT Channel 1 until 2005, but then the Disney shows were canceled. When airing of Disney series resumed on Nova Television and Jetix in 2008, voiceovers were used, but Disney animated-movie translations still use synchronized voices. Voiceover dubbing is not used in theatrical releases. The Bulgarian film industry law requires all children's films to be dubbed, not subtitled. Nova Television dubbed and aired the Pokémon anime with synchronized voices. Now, the show is airing on Disney Channel, also in a synchronized form.

In Hungary, practically all television programs are dubbed, as are about 50 percent of movies in theaters. In the socialist era, every film was dubbed with professional and mostly popular actors. Care was taken to make sure the same voice actor would lend his voice to the same original actor. In the early 1990s, as cinemas tried to keep up with showing newly released films, subtitling became dominant in the cinema. This, in turn, forced TV channels to make their own cheap versions of dubbed soundtracks for the movies they presented, resulting in a constant degrading of dubbing quality. Once this became customary, cinema distributors resumed the habit of dubbing for popular productions, presenting them in a quality varying from very poor to average. However, every feature is presented with the original soundtrack in at least one cinema in large towns and cities.

However, in Hungary, most documentary films and series (for example, those on Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel) are made with voiceover. Some old movies and series, or ones that provide non-translatable jokes and conversations (for example, the Mr. Bean television series), are shown only with subtitles.

There is a more recent problem arising from dubbing included on DVD releases. Many generations have grown up with an original (and, by current technological standards, outdated) soundtrack, which is either technologically (mono or bad quality stereo sound) or legally (expired soundtrack license) unsuitable for a DVD release. Many original features are released on DVD with a new soundtrack, which in some cases proves to be extremely unpopular, thus forcing DVD producers to include the original soundtrack. In some rare cases, the Hungarian soundtrack is left out altogether. This happens notably with Warner Home Video Hungary, which ignored the existence of Hungarian soundtracks completely, as they did not want to pay the licensees for the soundtracks to be included on their new DVD releases, which appear with improved picture quality, but very poor subtitling.



In Georgia, original soundtracks are kept in TV series, and Georgian text is spoken by a lector. Films are always subtitled besides films broadcast on Global Media Group channels.


In Poland, cinema releases for general audiences are almost exclusively subtitled, with the exception of children's movies, and television screenings of movies, as well as made-for-TV shows. These are usually shown with voice-over, where a voice talent reads a translation over the original soundtrack. This method, called "juxtareading," is similar to the so-called Gavrilov translation in Russia, with one difference—all dialogues are translated with only one acute, and usually male voice, preferably deep and neutral, that does not interfere with the pitch of voice of the original speakers in the background. To some extent, it resembles live translation. Certain highly qualified lectors are traditionally assigned to a particular kind of production, such as action or drama. Standard dubbing is not widely popular with most audiences, with the exception of cartoons and children's shows, which are dubbed also for TV releases.

Poland's dubbing traditions began between the two world wars. In 1931, among the first movies dubbed into Polish were Dangerous Curves (1929), The Dance of Life (1929), Paramount on Parade (1930), and Darling of the Gods (1930). In 1949, the first dubbing studio opened in Łódź. The first film dubbed that year was Russkiy Vopros (filmed 1948).

The Polish dubbing in the first post-war years suffered from poor synchronization. The Polish dialogues were unclear, so people could not understand them. Cinemas had an old aperture that sometimes made a film more unclear than it was. In the 1950s, the Polish publicist discussed the quality of Polish versions of foreign movies.

The number of dubbed movies and the quality improved. Polish dubbing had a golden age in the 1960s-1980s. Approximately one-third of foreign movies were dubbed in the cinemas. The "Polish dubbing school" was known for its high quality. In that time, Poland had some of the best dubbing in the world. The most important person who initiated high quality dubbing versions was director Zofia Dybowska-Aleksandrowicz. Her works were as good as the originals and sometimes even better. In that time, dubbing in Poland was very popular. The Polish television dubbed popular films and TV series such as Rich Man, Poor Man, Fawlty Towers, Forsyte Saga, Elizabeth R, I, Claudius, I'll Take Manhattan, and Peter the Great.

In the 1980s, due to budget cuts, television did not have money for tapes, so they used the actual recordings. After the first emission, dubbing was cancelled. In the era of communism, almost 1,000 films were dubbed. In the 1990s, after democratic transformation, Polish television TVP was still dubbing films and TV series. Unfortunately, as in the 1980s, it was a dubbing only for one emission.

In 1995, Canal+ was launched. In its first years, it dubbed 30% of the schedule. They dubbed very ambitious films and popular TV series. One of the most well-known and popular dubbings was the Polish dub of Friends. Unfortunately, they stopped dubbing Friends in 2001, and stopped dubbing films in 1999, although many people supported the idea of dubbing and bought the access only for dubbing versions of foreign productions. In the 1990s, dubbing was done by the television channel known as Wizja Jeden. They mainly dubbed BBC productions such as The League of Gentlemen, Absolutely Fabulous and Men Behaving Badly. Wizja Jeden was closed in 2001. In the same year, TVP stopped dubbing the TV series Frasier, although that dubbing was very popular.

Currently, dubbing of films and TV series for teenagers is made by Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. One of the major breakthroughs in dubbing was the Polish release of Shrek, which contained many references to local culture and Polish humor. Since then, people seem to have grown to like dubbed versions more, and pay more attention to the dubbing actors. However, this seems to be the case only with animated films, as live-action dubbing is still considered a bad practice. In the case of DVD releases, most discs contain both the original soundtrack and subtitles, and either lector or dubbed Polish track. The dubbed version is, in most cases, the one from the theater release, while voice-over is provided for movies that were only subtitled in theaters.

Since theatrical release of The Avengers in May 2012, The Walt Disney Company Polska dubs all films for theater releases. Also in 2012, United International Pictures Polska dubbed The Amazing Spider-Man, while Forum Film Polska – former distributor of Disney’s films – decided to dub The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.


Russian television is generally dubbed with only a couple of voice actors, with the original speech still audible underneath. In the Soviet Union, most foreign movies to be officially released were dubbed. However, with the fall of the regime, many popular foreign movies, previously forbidden, or at least questionable under communist rule, started to flood in, in the form of low-quality home-copied videos. Being unofficial releases, they were dubbed in a very primitive way. For example, the translator spoke the text directly over the audio of a video being copied, using primitive equipment. The quality of the resulting dub was very low, the translated phrases were off-sync, interfering with the original voices, background sounds leaked into the track, translation was inaccurate and, most importantly, all dub voices were made by a single person who usually lacked the intonation of the original, making comprehension of some scenes quite difficult. This method of translation exerted a strong influence on Russian pop culture. Voices of translators became recognizable for generations. In modern Russia, the overdubbing technique is still used in many cases, although with vastly improved quality, and now with multiple voice actors dubbing different original voices.


In the Ukraine, television and cinema is usually dubbed with the overdubbing technique, with multiple voice actors dubbing different original voices. But for Russian films, subtitles are possible. Russian-language TV programs are usually not dubbed.

Latvia and Lithuania

In Latvia and Lithuania, voice-over dubbing is hugely popular on television. Almost all shows are voice-over dubbed. This dubbing method is similar to the Polish method—one person reads the whole translated text, while the original sound plays at a low volume in the background. In cinemas, only children's animated films (such as The Tale of Despereaux) and children's live-action films (such as Charlotte's Web) are dubbed in Latvian and Lithuanian languages. But some other kids shows, like SpongeBob SquarePants, use the voiceover dub.

General use

Dubbing is also used in applications and genres other than traditional film, including video games, television, and pornographic films.

Video games

Many video games originally produced in North America, Japan, and PAL countries are dubbed into foreign languages for release in areas such as Europe and Australia, especially for video games that place a heavy emphasis on dialogue. Because characters' mouth movements can be part of the game's code, lip sync is sometimes achieved by re-coding the mouth movements to match the dialogue in the new language. The source engine automatically generates lip-sync data, making it easier for games to be localized.

To achieve synchronization when animations are intended only for the source language, localized content is mostly recorded using techniques borrowed from movie dubbing (such as rythmo band) or, when images are not available, localized dubbing is done using source audios as a reference. Sound-synch is a method where localized audios are recorded matching the length and internal pauses of the source content.

For the European version of a video game, the on-screen text of the game is available in various languages and, in many cases, the dialogue is dubbed into each respective language, as well.

The North American version of any game is always available in English, with translated text and dubbed dialogue, if necessary, in other languages, especially if the North American version of the game contains the same data as the European version. Because the English dubbing voice casts of many Japanese games are perceived negatively, some Japanese games, such as those in the Sonic the Hedgehog, Dynasty Warriors, and Soul Calibur series, include the original Japanese audio, as well as a version dubbed in English.


Dubbing is occasionally used on network television broadcasts of films that contain dialogue that the network executives or censors have decided to replace. This is usually done to remove profanity. In most cases, the original actor does not perform this duty, but an actor with a similar voice reads the changes. The results are sometimes seamless, but, in many cases, the voice of the replacement actor sounds nothing like the original performer, which becomes particularly noticeable when extensive dialogue must be replaced. Also, often easy to notice, is the sudden absence of background sounds in the movie during the dubbed dialogue. Among the films considered notorious for using substitute actors that sound very different from their theatrical counterparts are the Smokey and the Bandit and the Die Hard film series, as shown on broadcasters such as TBS. In the case of Smokey and the Bandit, extensive dubbing was done for the first network airing on ABC Television in 1978, especially for Jackie Gleason's character, Buford T. Justice. The dubbing of his phrase "sombitch" (son of a bitch) became the more palatable (and memorable) "scum bum," which became a catchphrase of the time.

Dubbing is commonly used in science fiction television, as well. Sound generated by effects equipment such as animatronic puppets or by actors' movements on elaborate multi-level plywood sets (for example, starship bridges or other command centers) will quite often make the original character dialogue unusable. Stargate and Farscape are two prime examples where ADR is used heavily to produce usable audio.

Since some anime series contain profanity, the studios recording the English dubs often re-record certain lines if a series or movie is going to be broadcast on Cartoon Network, removing references to death and hell as well. Some companies will offer both an edited and an uncut version of the series on DVD, so that there is an edited script available in case the series is broadcast. Other companies also edit the full-length version of a series, meaning that even on the uncut DVD characters say things like "Blast!" and "Darn!" in place of the original dialogue's profanity. Bandai Entertainment's English dub of G Gundam is infamous for this, among many other things, with such lines as "Bartender, more milk".

Dubbing has also been used for comedic purposes, replacing lines of dialogue to create comedies from footage that was originally another genre. Examples include the Australian shows The Olden Days and Bargearse, re-dubbed from 1970s Australian drama and action series, respectively, and the Irish show Soupy Norman, re-dubbed from Pierwsza miłość, a Polish soap opera.

Dubbing into a foreign language does not always entail the deletion of the original language. In some countries, a performer may read the translated dialogue as a voice-over. This often occurs in Russia and Poland, where "lektories" or "lektors" read the translated dialogue into Russian and Polish. In Poland, a single person reads all parts of the performance, both male and female. However, this is done almost exclusively for the television and home video markets, while theatrical releases are usually subtitled. Recently, however, the number of high-quality, fully dubbed films has increased, especially for children's movies. If a quality dubbed version exists for a film, it is shown in theaters. However, some films, such as Harry Potter or Star Wars, are shown in both dubbed and subtitled versions, varying with the time of the show. Such films are also shown on TV (although some channels drop them and do standard one-narrator translation) and VHS/DVD. In other countries, like Vietnam, the voice-over technique is also used for theatrical releases.

In Russia, the reading of all lines by a single person is referred to as a Gavrilov translation, and is generally found only in illegal copies of films and on cable television. Professional copies always include at least two actors of opposite gender translating the dialogue. Some titles in Poland have been dubbed this way, too, but this method lacks public appeal, so it is very rare now.

On special occasions, such as film festivals, live interpreting is often done by professionals. See also dubtitle.


As budgets for pornographic films are often small, compared to films made by major studios, and there is an inherent need to film without interrupting filming, it is common for sex scenes to be over-dubbed. The audio for such over-dubbing is generally refereed to as the Ms and Gs, or the moans and groans.

Dubbing into dialects

In the case of languages with large communities (such as English, Chinese, Portuguese, German, Spanish, or French), a single translation may sound foreign to native speakers in a given region. Therefore, a film may be translated into a dialect of a certain language. For example, the animated movie The Incredibles was translated to European Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Neutral Spanish (which used the Mexican voice cast), and Rioplatense Spanish (although people from Chile and Uruguay noticed a strong porteño accent from most of the characters of the Rioplatense Spanish translation). In Spanish-speaking regions, most media is dubbed only twice into Spanish (Spain) and Neutral Spanish (which is Mexican Spanish but avoids colloquialisms).

Another example is the French dialect dubbing of The Simpsons, which is entirely different in Quebec and France, the humor being very different for each audience (see Non-English versions of The Simpsons). Audiences in Quebec are generally critical of France's dubbing of The Simpsons, which they often do not find amusing. The French-language Télétoon network once aired the Quebec dub for The Simpsons, as well as Parisian French dubs of Futurama and Family Guy, which were both similar to the Parisian dub for The Simpsons. The two latter shows have since been taken off the network, while The Simpsons continues its run on Télétoon.

The Quebec French dubbing of films, while generally made in accent-free Standard French, may sound peculiar to audiences in France because of the persistence of some regionally neutral expression and because Quebec French performers pronounce Anglo-Saxon names with an American accent, while French performers do not. Occasionally, for reasons of cost, American direct-to-video films, such as the 1995 film When the Bullet Hits the Bone, are released in France with a Quebec French dubbing, sometimes resulting in what some members of French audiences perceive as unintentional humor.

Portugal and Brazil also use different versions of dubbed films and series. Because dubbing has never been very popular in Portugal, for decades, children's films and television series were distributed using the higher-quality Brazilian dub. Only in the 1990s did dubbing begin to gain importance in Portugal, thanks to the popularity of dubbed series like Dragon Ball. The Lion King became the first Disney feature film to be completely dubbed into European Portuguese and, subsequently, all major animation films and series gained European Portuguese versions. In recent DVD releases, most of these Brazilian-dubbed classics were released with new Portuguese dubs, eliminating the predominance of Brazilian Portuguese dubs in Portugal.

The German-speaking region, which includes Germany, Austria, the German-speaking part of Switzerland, and Liechtenstein share a common German-dubbed version. Although there are some differences in German dialects, all films, shows, and series are dubbed into a single standard German version that avoids regional variations in the German-speaking audience. Most voice actors are primarily Germans and Austrians, since there has been a long tradition of dubbing films. Switzerland, which has four official languages (German, French, Italian, Romansh), generally uses dubbed versions made in each respective country (except for Romansh). Liechtenstein uses German-dubbed versions only.

Sometimes, films are also dubbed into several German dialects (Berlinerisch, Kölsch, Saxonian, Austro-Bavarian or Swiss German), which especially concerns animated films and Disney films. These are made for amusement and as an additional "special feature" to entice the audience into buying it. Popular animated films dubbed into German dialects include Asterix films (in addition to its standard German version, every film has a particular dialect version), The Little Mermaid, Shrek 2, Cars, (+ Austrian German) and Up[25] (+ Austrian German).

Some live-action films or TV-series have an additional German dialect dubbing: Babe and its sequel, Babe: Pig in the City (Germany German, Austrian German, Swiss German); and Rehearsal for Murder, Framed[26] (+ Austrian German); The Munsters, Serpico, Rumpole (+ Austrian German), and The Thorn Birds[27] (only Austrian German dubbing).

Before the German reunification, East Germany also made its own particular German version. For example, Olsen Gang and the Hungarian animated series The Mézga Family were dubbed twice.


The many martial arts movies from Hong Kong that were imported under the unofficial banner Kung Fu Theater were notorious for seemingly careless dubbing that included poor lip sync and awkward dialogue. Since the results were frequently unintentionally hilarious, this has become one of the hallmarks that endear these films to part of the 1980s culture.

While the voice actors involved usually bear the brunt of criticisms towards poor dubbing, other factors may include inaccurate script translation and poor audio mixing. A literal translation of dialogue typically contains speech patterns and sentence structure that are native to the foreign language but would appear awkward if translated literally. English dubs of Japanese animation, for example, must rewrite the dialogue so that it flows smoothly and follows the natural pattern of English speech. Voice actors in a dubbing capacity typically do not have the luxury of viewing the original film with the original voice actor and, thus, have little idea regarding how to perform the role. On some occasions, voice actors record their dialogue separately, which can lack the dynamics gained from performing as a group.


Further reading

  • Di Fortunato E. e Paolinelli M. (a cura di), "La Questione Doppiaggio - barriere linguistiche e circolazione delle opere audiovisive", Roma, AIDAC, 1996 - (available on website:
  • Castellano A. (a cura di), "Il Doppiaggio, profilo, storia e analisi di un'arte negata", Roma, AIDAC-ARLEM, 2001
  • Di Fortunato E. e Paolinelli M., "Tradurre per il doppiaggio - la trasposizione linguistica dell'audiovisivo: teoria e pratica di un'arte imperfetta", Milano, Hoepli, 2005
  • ASINC online magazine on criticism of the art of dubbing
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