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Dubbed voices on Netflix’s “Dark”

Traditionally, an English-native speaking TV audience does not favour dubbed TV series and so a successful foreign TV series will often be remade for the American and English-speaking markets. An example is how the French series ‘Les Revenants’ was remade as ‘The Returned’ in America. Even the British series of Ricky Gervais ‘The office’ was remade in the USA. Foreign language TV and film has been a niche market, but that niche is expanding.

Subtitles within English speaking productions have been growing in use and that also creates a greater interest for critically acclaimed foreign TV series that have been dubbed. This is great news for the non-English speaking production companies as now productions can flow outside their home audience in their original state rather than just the idea.

One example is the Netflix series ‘Dark’, which has some similarities with the highly successful ‘Stranger Things’. This series is originally in German, but has been translated from German to many other languages and subsequently dubbed.

The process is normally that the subtitle translation. This is often different and shorter than the spoken version to allow for the audiences reading and comprehension time. A German translation will also have been made of the scripts, but this will seek to copy the flow of the action on camera. This can be tricky, as a language may need more or less speech to say the exact same thing. Both translation for subtitles and for film do require experienced and conscientious professional translators who will need to make choices.

However, to further the cause of dubbed productions for the English market (a measure which makes a lot of financial success – see the Spanish series ‘Casa di Carta’ as an example), the English dubbing must be convincing. It is important that the actor’s speech allows the audience to believe that it is the voice of the actor. Although the voiceover artists face is not on camera, they still need to act, but follow the artistic style of the source actor.

We love the first season of the German series ‘Dark’, but we have compared the Italian dubbed version against English and the English version is much less convincing. It’s a pity, but it just shows that progress is still to be made.

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 31st, 2019 at 1:29 pm and is filed under Business Translation, Language 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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