Film and Polish Dubbing

Advocates of original-language versions still consider dubbing to be nothing more than an aid or a stopgap measure to increase turnover in the film industry. Critics do see dubbing today as a “bridge between nations and educational classes”, according to the film historian Martin Koerber during a colloquium held on the subject at the Berlin Film Museum in July 2004. But they also see the danger that the content and intention of the original versions may be distorted. Pros and cons of dubbing Dubbed voices may seem detached, inappropriate for the character, or overly expressive – when you are used to the real voice of Johnny Depp, hearing him speak like Cezary Pazura, famous Polish actor, can be very distracting and irritating.

• Some ambient sounds may not be transferred to the dubbed track, creating a less enjoyable viewing experience – it can be the sound of heels thumping on the pavement while a couple walks down a street, engrossed in conversation, etc. • Dubbing may show disregard for the meaning and setting of the movies – it sure seems strange to hear Dr.Quinn Medicine Woman talk to her Wild West townsmen in German, or vice versa – to hear Nazi soldiers speak English to their Russian prisoners. • Dubbing is a hindrance to multilingualism – according to available data, English literacy and comprehension is statistically far higher in countries where subtitling is the preferred option than in countries where television and films are routinely dubbed. • Dubbing may be the opportunity to improve the original film by adding regional phrases, hints or some simple side noises like coughing, laughing, buzzing etc.

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hich would be considered as more natural in another language while such noises are missing in the original. The Polish dubbing of Shrek contained many references to local culture and Polish humor, a fact that won this version of the film much attention and acclaim of moviegoers. – True, but in my opinion it works well only for animated movies.

If I watch a Japanese film, I am equally interested in the plot as in the Japanese setting, culture and ways of communication.And I certainly do not want to hear a Japanese character make a reference to a phrase from a Polish TV commercial, like “ojciec, prac?! ” If you ask me, I say: watch original versions. If you don’t speak the language of the original, choose subtitles.

If you speak it a little, you may want to watch e. g. an English film with English subtitles, it will help your comprehension and will raise your perception of correct pronunciation and intonation patterns. And dubbing? It seems that even children view it as unnatural and strange:

Author: Alfredo Baker


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