✨ 5 Reasons Subtitled Is Better Than Dubbed ✨

icon-time 16 January 2018
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According to this poll on imdb.com, 86% of respondents prefer foreign films to be subtitled than dubbed. Dubbed films are quite popular in Thailand, especially outside of Bangkok, but we think there are a number of reasons you should try to watch subtitled films instead, especially if you're a student. 😊📚


If you are used to dubbed films you may find it uncomfortable at first to make the switch, but it will be worthwhile once you get used to it. 😊🇬🇧🇺🇸

1. Subtitles are a fun way to learn English or other languages

game of thrones binge GIF by Vidme

One of the most important things when learning anything is to learn it in a fun or interesting way. If it is boring, you won't be focused and you're not going to want to spend time on it. You may give up altogether. Most people like some form of movies or television, so this represents a great opportunity to learn without getting bored. 😒

It also helps you to get used to hearing the original language spoken in a more natural way and in different native accents. This is unlikely something you will experience in language lessons. 🤗

This will be most useful to people who already have an intermediate level of the language, ie you can already understand some bits without reading the subs. You can still get used to accents and learn a few short phrases if you are a beginner, but it won't be an efficient way to learn. Equally, if you are at a level where you understand most of what is being said, you should consider switching to having subtitles in the original language as well. That will help you focus more on what is being said, and if a word crops up that you don't know, you can easily look it up. 😉

2. Reading subtitles improves your reading speed.

speed reading GIF

Subtitles also help your native language reading skills. You will find yourself encouraged to read quickly so you don't miss anything. Being able to read quickly is a really useful skill for students, or anyone who needs to read documents as part of their job. 😊

3. Hearing the source language and accents sets the scene.

Image result for downton abbey accent

For some shows in particular, the setting is a really important part. For example, it just doesn't feel real when you have people who are supposed to be from New York speaking in Thai. You don't get to experience any of the social culture of where the show is set if it is dubbed in to your native language. 

Movies and TV shows are so much better when you feel like you are transported into the world - dubbing just doesn't so that. 😏

4. Dubbed films have worse sound mixing.

Image result for sound engineer

The sound engineers who mix the dubbed soundtrack don't have the same resources as those who make the original soundtrack, so inevitably it is less life-like as a result. Where speech was recorded on-set, the engineer will have to use replacement background sounds, which may not capture the full essence of the setting. 

Sometimes the dubbed actors don't actually sound like they are in the film because the acoustics of the studio the voices were recorded in don't match that of where the actors on-screen are. Again, this all serves to make the show less engaging. 

5. Dubbing simply looks ridiculous.

English dubbing for 1996 Thai film "Hard Gun"

The only time dubbing can be good is in comedies: when timing is important and the ridiculousness of the dubbing doesn't matter, as it's meant to be silly anyway. This is terrible for drama though. Even when the dubbing is well matched to the mouth movements of the actors, it's never going to be perfect. Languages need a different number of syllables to convey a given sentence. 

Sometimes an unusual choice of words is chosen simply to a match the length of sentence said in the original. Some languages are spoken at different speeds per syllable, which could make matching mouth movements result in an unnatural speed of speech. You can't feel fully immersed in serious drama when all this is seeming to make a mockery of it.