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Growth of Foreign Languages on English Speaking TV

Traditionally, English speaking TV exists with the cast speaking English. The reverse cannot be said when we visit other countries and so many English language series are subtitled or dubbed for the foreign market. In fact, people have grown up associating a voice to a star which is not actually theirs.

In recent times this has changed and here are some recent examples:

NARCOS – This is an American TV production largely based in Colombia about such drug traffickers as Pablo Escobar. In this series Spanish, the language of Colombia, is spoken and given English subtitles. It is a great series that mixes fact with fiction that has been a huge success in the English speaking world.

Vikings – The name already explains the subject matter for this series. In this series the Vikings visit/raid a variety of places (I won’t name them to avoid spoilers) and subtitles are frequently used. The Vikings mainly speak in English, but there are many scenes where they are also subtitled so as to ensure the audience understands that not everyone in that scene understands what is being said.

Going further, the rise of TV-On-Demand provided by such companies as NetFlix is now increasing the volume of subtitled and dubbed English, but also goes further. A hit series in another country would often be translated and reproduced in English, but now an increasing number of non-English series are being subtitled or dubbed and provided directly to English speaking audiences. One example of this is the Spanish series ‘La Casa di Carta’ or ‘Money Heist’ concerning a robbery on the Spanish mint.

Will this trend continue or will there be a backlash followed by a return to full English translation? This depends on the audience and so far the audience does support the trend.


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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 at 1:26 pm and is filed under Business Translation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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