The film translation industry is changing (but the dubbing vs subtitles battle rages on)
Updated: Mar 18
Nowadays, streaming platforms like Netflix make it easy for people around the world to watch content from other countries and in other languages, often in both dubbed and subtitled versions.
But which is better: subtitles or dubbing? And why are some films or shows only available in one format?
Although there are strong arguments on both sides of the dubbing vs subtitles argument, according to Chris Carey, of film translation company Iyuno Studios, it comes down to what audiences expect. For instance, viewers in countries like France and Italy have grown up watching dubbed content and tend to prefer it on the whole, while viewers in Scandinavian countries prefer subtitles.
But other factors also influence the way we watch foreign-language content. A big one is cost. Carey reports that dubbing costs at least 10 times as much as subtitling.
These are the facts currently, but Carey is seeing some exciting shifts in the market, including an increase in non-English-language films being purchased by all markets, and a possible new standard of providing both dubbed and subtitled versions of every show or movie on streaming services.
Read on to learn more about the changing world of film translation.
Contact Our Writer – Alysa Salzberg