Scenarios To Opt For Either Dubbed Or Subtitled Films


The DubbingKing Software - A Comprehensive Audio-Visual Translation (AVT) Software For Windows

The Dubbing King software caters for various Audio-Visual Translation (AVT) modes. It is used for subtitling, translation and the dubbing processes.


I’m sure this is a very interesting topic, and that is the reason you might have clicked on it. I have come across a lot of articles speaking about the advantages and disadvantages of these two processes and I thought of comparing how these two will fair when put head to head in different scenarios. Since I have seen none of these articles anywhere, I thought it would be fun to look into that and see the outcomes.

For those who might not know, these two are types of film translation processes.

Dubbing is having the film audio translated into another language to localize the film to reach a wider audience.

Subtitling is the process in which we do the translation of a film in text format known as subtitles, which are placed at the bottom of the screen to localize a film to reach a wider audience.

With that said, we will jump into the different scenarios that I came up with:

Dub Vs Sub: Which Is better?
  1. When you want to watch a film, in an area where there is background noise and you have no earphones. 
    • Dubbing. For dubbing, this scenario would be a tricky one, because one, you do not have earphones, and two, you are in a noisy place. You might try raising the volume of the film to the maximum, but this will only make the place even louder and noisier, bringing even more attention to you. Definitely, you wouldn’t want that to happen, would you? The best place to watch a dubbed film is in a quiet environment. Or better yet, just get yourself some goddamn earphones!
    • Subtitling. In this scenario, a film with subtitles will be the best option for you. You might wonder why this is the case. Well, subtitling is a process that provides film content in the form of translated texts. You can therefore literally mute a film and watch it while following through on the subtitles. It might not be the best way to watch a film, but it is definitely the best option for someone in such a position.
  2. When you want to watch a film without distracting others (e.g. in an office environment).
    • Dubbing. In this scenario, it is possible to watch a dubbed film as long as you have earphones. However, we all know that in an office environment, unnecessary noise prohibited. Chances are, even watching a film in your office restrained. Therefore, if by any chance you do not have earphones, and are not in a position to borrow a pair, then watching a dubbed film while in the office is not plausible.
    • Subtitling. A film with subtitles will be perfect for such a scenario. For one, having subtitles makes it easy for someone to follow through the film, without having to increase or alter the volume of the film, or even having to use earphones. With that said, I can confidently say, if you are in such a quagmire, subtitles will not disappoint you. God forbid, your earphones stop working in the middle of a film, or you are in a quiet office setup, you can continue watching your film in peace, and follow it to the letter.
  3. When your speakers or headphones are not loud enough (e.g. on an Airplane).
    • Dubbing. As we have already established from the previous two scenarios, dubbed films are all about the sound. Not just any sound, but good-quality, audible sound. Therefore, anything that might affect the quality of a dubbed film’s sound is not worthwhile. In case your speakers or headphones get broken, or if they are inaudible, you will enjoy nothing. You better get your headphones fixed, or just stay watching nothing. If not, I guarantee you that your movie experience will be a total nightmare.
    • Subtitling. A subtitled film would come in handy is such a scenario. First, you are in the air so finding another pair of earphones, or getting your speakers fixed not possible. With a subtitled film, you can still follow the film by reading the subtitle texts even with no or poor audio. You won’t be making any noise for the other passengers, and you continue to enjoy your film peacefully. That said, aren’t you killing two birds with one stone?
  4. When the volume of the media is inconsistent (quiet speech vs loud background music).
    • Dubbing. Have you ever tried watching a film, and the sound gets distorted or keeps on changing from time to time? How annoying is that? I have, and I can tell you for sure, it is the worst thing that can happen to a film viewer. In such a scenario, a dubbed film should be your last option. You will end up getting extremely agitated and frustrated.
    • Subtitling. Subtitled films are the best for such a scenario. I know many people might not appreciate subtitled films but in a scenario where the film you want to watch has super inconsistent audio-quality, and you are a person who gets pissed off quickly, then you’d better stick to a subtitled film. Watching a film with inconsistent sound is the most annoying thing that I can imagine. To make it worse, not just a film, but a dubbed film with poor sound, will undoubtedly drive you nuts!
  5. When watching media in a foreign language (to learn it).
    • Dubbing. Well, we all now know what dubbing is, from the description I gave above. If you are trying to watch a film in a foreign language that you do not understand, then dubbing is a superb option. However, a dubbed film may not be appropriate for someone who wants to learn a new (or the foreign) language.
    • Subtitling. Subtitled films offer the best case for such a scenario. I’m sure you have seen in different articles mentioning that subtitled films help people who are trying to learn a particular foreign language. This is because it is easier to learn a foreign language while reading, rather than while listening. Subtitled films have a line to line synchrony of the audible sound, with the displayed subtitles. This makes it super simple to follow through, helping you decipher meanings of the foreign language’s words by following the subtitles, which are in the language you are more knowledgeable in.
  6. When taking notes from educational or resource videos with fast dialogue. 
    • Dubbing. If you have a dubbed film, that has a fast dialogue, and you are planning to take notes, the amount of pausing, rewinding, and forwarding may become annoying and laborious. Dubbed films are not appropriate in such a case.
    • Subtitling. Subtitled films are the best in this scenario. This is because they provide you with the information on the audio you want to take notes for. Regardless of how fast the dialogue is, with the availability of subtitles, you can take your notes easily.

What this comparison has brought to light, is that when dealing with dubbed films, ensure that you are in a quiet environment where the film is audible enough, but not an inconvenience to others. Subtitled films, however, can apply anywhere, under most circumstances.

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