Dubbing Or Subtitles? Take Your Pick!

Typically, there are two ways to bring media from one language to another language. One is to subtitle. The other is dubbing. Do you have a preference?

Subtitling allows the original language (and in turn, mood) to remain in tact, while dubbing allows players to take in the visual elements without having to worry about pesky things like reading.

In recent years, dubbing has vastly improved; however, there have been situations in which dubbing has spoiled the vibe of such games as, most notably, the localisation of SEGA's first Yakuza game.

An article in The Hollywood Reporter (via AnimeNation) points out that film-wise, many younger Japanese prefer subtitles. However, the poor localisation of Modern Warfare 2 into Japanese made many players in The Land of the Rising Sun wishing the game was released with its original English language voice track.

So, what about you? Which do you prefer?


    I can see arguments both ways. I have a preference for English voices in my games UNLESS they have replaced the voices of non-American characters with American accents.

    I am wary of subtitles in games, because often my focus will need to be elsewhere. Happy with subtitles in my Japanese movie imports, though :)

    Even in English games, I genenrally have Subs on anyway. It's probably just more for safety. If there is loud effects and there is something spoken that gets lost in the noise you don't have to miss it.

    In the case of Yakuza 3, much prefer Subs over Dub... the characters are Japanese, so I don't really expect them to be speaking English anyway. Dubbing can appear comical, take the Iron Chef for example.

    The only issue I have with subs though, is that the pacing of them is generally not all that great, at times, most lines can be read before the character has spoken them...

    It depends entirely on the quality of the dub. If the dub is good, then I'll use it, if not, I'll use subtitles.
    Shame is, most dubs aren't very good, especially when it comes to JRPGs.

    For video games I prefer them to be dubbed, but at the same time I'll still buy a game if its only subtitled like Yakuza 3.

    Subs, without a doubt.

    The problem is with the majority of non-english movies and TV, fan made subs from the internet are much better than the official ones on the DVD.

    Dubbing is pretty much universally horrible though, so I will take the gamble on the subs.

    Subtitles for films, always. No excuse. Those who don't want to read can seriously shutup and stick with Hollywood. As for games, can go either way, but in the case of FFXIII... please please please give me the original voices!

    Well, to be picky I like to have the option of both.

    Subtitles retain the original audio track and so you get exactly how the characters were 'meant' to be portrayed. Of course, if the guys who were involved in directing the dialogue for the original game get involved and understand the dubbing language enough, that problem goes away. And it's not like a movie where the film's already been shit and you have to fit english words in japanese mouths, you can change the animation (like in FFXIII, or so I've been led to believe).

    Either way, I will always prefer the option of either, since they really have different advantages and disadvantages. But for the purposes of this article: A really good dubbing job > Subtitles > normal dubbing job.

    Games - Dubbed.
    I like to watch the game instead of missing things on screen because Im reading.

    Movies - Subtiteld
    Because most movie dubs are terrible. Theres some exceptions where the dubbing is amazing, like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Most of the time you could tell it was dubbed. It was lip synced so beautifully.

    Subs all the way, for anything animated inc games.

    Our games nowdays are more complex than ever with teams dedicated to their arts. The speech in games is no different, as the game was developed the voice actors were involved in the process the way they voiced their parts reflected in the inflections of both spoken and facial features. We now film actors performing their parts and transpose both the visual and the audio over to what we see on screen.

    When you get a localised copy you tend to find that the voice actors have been given a script they perform their best but the pacing, the tone and the inflections don't match up to what we are seeing.

    Each person emotes differently and the original voice actor used to voice the original can at best be copied, even if the localised copy does a better job the game has been set it's defined around the original character.

    Unless for each localisation you have the voice actor involved, captured and developed into the game you are going to break the suspension of disbelief that is often spoken of.

    The other point is that you can't just transpose the script from one country to another, there are certain stereotypes of different cultures, when you have a crazy Japanese character that's bouncing off the walls the whole demeanor and cultural stereotyping of a crazy Japanese character just doesn't seem right done with an english voice, the characters appearance movement, facial features, phrasing and actions all reflecting what we expect to see.

    The final point I've got is when you see an old school Japanese guy with all the sagely wisdom the universe has to offer sitting in the middle of a forrest and he has an american voice complete with accent. Until this hit me during an anime movie along time ago I'd never realised how annoying that was, now I can't spot hearing it each time it happens.

    My only solution to this would be hire a voice actor proficient in multiple languages originating from the coutry of the game characters origin. This would allow the voice to match the emotion the inflection and the original accect would at least be present, there's no need for a japanese yukuza to only speak japanese but it's rare for him to lose his japanese accent regardless of the english spoken.

    So for me it's subtitles.

    I prefer subs, but what i would much more prefer is to have a choice between the language. There are plenty of games that include both English and the original audio and let you choose which one you want to use. I understand the lip syncing would almost always be affected, but if we're given the choice then we can just switch back to English or whatever for the lips to be properly synced.

    Subs definately because most of the time DUBS are cheapass quality


    I find it utterly appalling that many japanese PS3 games are still dub-only. So much for the magical giant blu ray discs...

    I prefer subs, but don't mind dubbing if it is done right, like Metal Gear Solid! I think they nailed it perfectly for that game.

    I guess a few rules for dubbing for me would be

    -Sound the way you look. If you look japanese, I cringe when he speaks with an American accent, and vise-versa.

    -Animation should almost always be Japanese.

    -There are certain ways of speaking in Japanese that just dont work in English, and vise versa I suppose. When that happens, they should not just do a direct translation, but change the situation or the joke if they must. Its hard to do I suppose, but its well worth it for the gamer.

    Original dubs, so subs for me. I can't stand when something isn't lip synced.

    i would like to see true subtiltles for deaf... maybe you never know but they can understand more easily. just add voices and subtitles won't be issue.. i want subtitles...

    Subtitles as dubbing rarely portrays the emotion correctly.

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