“Super Dubbed” Films in Japan

Coming from an article over at Wildgrounds

What is this “super dub“? In fact, they’re trying to make the translation sounds more natural in Japanese.

what were you attempting with Super Dubbing to deal with this difference?
For example, Leonardo de Caprio, who plays Teddy, faces a woman working in the hospital and asks, “Were you a nurse?” If you change this to natural Japanese, just saying “Kankoshi?” However, in English when you say “Were you a nurse?” your lips move three times.

You know I have often spoken against “Only-dubbed Films” but considering the distributor in Japan has also distributed a subtitled print, I have no problem with this. But obviously… I have a bias for anything Japanese these days. I often talk about how much personality Japanese voice acting has, over let’s say American voice actors. I tend to attribute this upper-hand to the fact that America doesn’t often get films for dubbing, so their industry is not as developed.

Obviously dubbed films are different, even the trailer above sounds a lot more dramatic than what Shutter Island originally was, so you might actually miss a lot of the acting in this super-dubbed version. According to the distributor, they wanted to “super dub” [do I love the term or not?] the film because there’s a lot going on in Shutter Island that you [as in young people who don’t read much] might miss by reading the subtitles… valid?

As a general rule, no… that’s really not THAT valid. But here we are talking about Japan, and we’re talking about Japanese as a language. Think about having to read Kanji on screen while trying to keep up with the plot — don’t even think about what Chinese subtitles of Foreign films look like… or Chinese fansubs. You only get one mistaken stroke, and you totally missed the point of that bit of dialog.

As a person trying to learn Japanese on my own, that makes complete sense to me. Japanese subs are hard to read. And this is something that had never crossed my mind as a viewer.

Thoughts on Super Dubbing?

10 responses to “Super Dubbed” Films in Japan

  1. Subtitles is the way to go!

  2. i get reading hiragana and katakana, but kanji?
    i don’t know. I’ve never tried…
    I think Dr. Horrible came with Japanese subs xD
    I might try checking it out~~~

  3. Of course, Japanese game shows have big old primary coloured subtitles all over them.

    I know some people think that dubbing films into their language is a way to preserve their culture, and that’s fair enough considering how much US stuff is shown around the world. If you can imagine an evening of The Simpsons, Scrubs, Desperate Housewives and House, that’d be a lot of reading.

  4. Oh yeah, big colorful subtitles with very little kanji!
    I follow those whenever I’m watching… or try to follow anyway xD

    I have noticed that they’ve begun showing dubbed episodes of everything in Latin America. Let me tell you… Dr. House in Spanish non-Hugh-Laurie way. Bizarre.

    But for some reason, The Simpsons has always been broadcast dubbed. I think when it first came so many years ago, it was more common to see dubbed versions… and maybe people thought “cartoons” are for kids? Take that against dubbed AND subbed broadcasts of Family Guy, American Dad and Robot Chicken.

    I think that people who don’t read at all should support subbed version in order to increase their reading quota. By watching a film in a foreign language a day, you could say you read at least 2hrs each day without actually picking up a book. My dad, who doesn’t speak English, has improved his English vocabulary… since, you know… Asian films and shows get English-subbed faster.

  5. I had a Dutch friend who thought the reason people from the Netherlands are so good at English is because all the dramas they have are subbed. And I like to try and convince myself that I am studying Japanese by watching dramas, when I should be doing my homework.

    I once saw a film, Goodbye Lenin, in Italian and since my Italian at the time wasn’t so good, I put the subtitles on too. I soon realised that the person who did the subs had worked from the original German script and not from the Italian one because although the sentences had the same meanings, they were worded in different ways. I found it very distracting and had to turn the subs off.

    Another odd thing about (official) Italian subs – they’re in better Italian than the spoken dialogue. For example, if an actor says “okay”, the subtitler will replace this Americanism with the more Italian “va bene”.

  6. Well, subs are different than captioning. So it makes sense the subtitles in Italian differed from the dubbing. Since one is translating directly from what is said, and the other is translated so it fits the mouth movement. So in the case of “okay” they couldn’t really dub “va bene” since it has 3 sounds instead of 2. It would be like those English-dubbed martial arts films that would keep talking without any lips moving. xD

    I agree with your Dutch friend xD in part. It really does help with talking and listening… but then again, English is a relatively easy language to learn against Japanese, Korean and Chinese… or any other non-Latin alphabet.

    Singing while reading hiragana, kata and kanji really helps too, but doesn’t work with every artist. Miyavi and Shiina Ringo are hell to sing along to. But Salyu is a really good teacher xD

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