Should You Use Dubbing or Subtitling Services in the Japanese Market?

Posted by Anne Quach on December 28, 2021.

When it comes to watching their favourite foreign language films, many audiences have to pick between subtitled and dubbed versions. As a producer and developer of foreign language video content, regardless of where you stand on the dubbing or subtitling services, it’s critical to grasp not just the differences between the two, but also how they fit into your translation workflow.

Today’s blog post will describe the distinctions between subtitling and dubbing to give you an informed conclusion about the best option for the Japanese market. 

What is Subtitling?

Subtitling is the process of converting a video’s original audio into a different language. Subtitles are written representations of audio that are designed for viewers who can hear but not comprehend the language. Unlike closed captions, they only transmit the spoken words and not the sound effects.

A typical example is applying subtitling services in music videos or movies.

Subtitled Videos

Japanese subtitles for a cooking video on Youtube

The Benefits Subtitles Bring

Subtitles are the flexible approach if you want to appreciate the movie or show in its original form because nothing from the voice has been changed. It means you can listen to the original voices and detect the performers’ and director’s intended tone and subtlety. Moreover, if using dubs to match the audio to the lip movements, the script hardly stays the same. However, you’re getting a mostly unfiltered experience with subtitles. Subtitling services maintain the true version of the original script.

The subtitle also is a great way to make a film more accessible. If you have trouble hearing, a dub is useless. Meanwhile, subtitles allow you to experience the material without difficulty.

Another advantage is the subtitles may be quite useful when studying a foreign language. You may listen to the original conversation while also reading the subtitles. Your brain will begin to link the words together, even if you aren’t aware of them.

The Drawbacks of Subtitles

The main disadvantage of subtitles is that they may be distracting. Viewers might find themselves staring at the bottom of the screen, missing out on the action. When the major activity is reading the captions, the audiences seem to feel like they are not completely engrossed in the movie or program. But paying more attention to the scenes or emotion of the words might cause disconnection with the storyline flow.

Subtitles can sometimes be difficult to follow if you’re a slow reader or young. You can’t look away for more than a few seconds without losing some of the discussion.


What is Dubbing?

Dubbing is the practice of recording a video’s spoken audio track in a foreign language and then overlaying it over the original video to substitute the original speaker’s voice.

Though dubbed content is uncommon in the United States, it is widespread in many other nations. For example, the majority of the globe did not see Avengers: Endgame in English; and thanks to the magic of dubbed material, non-English speakers were able to enjoy the whole experience.

Dubbing Services

The Pros of Dubbing

The fundamental benefit of dubbing is that you don’t have to read anything, which makes the experience more relaxing. You are free to sit back and enjoy the film or show as you would any other.

Dubbing is particularly useful in animation since there is little difference between mouth motions and spoken words. In live-action dubbing, this can be more difficult to separate.

Because you’re hearing your original tongue and don’t have to adjust to another language, dubs can help with familiarity. It can assist you in fast becoming absorbed in what you’re seeing.

The Cons of Dubbing

Dubs are frequently made without the participation of the original creators. It implies that the dubbing voice actors may not match the desired tone and style, resulting in a less than realistic experience. Separate from physical acting, voice acting needs a distinct skill. Regardless matter how excellent everything else is, if the voice actor is awful or badly directed, it can completely spoil what you’re seeing and take you out of the moment.

Moreover, if you watch a lot of dubbed videos, you may notice that the same voice actors appear often; this can be annoying because the same voice might be associated with various persons. While this case is generally acceptable in animation due to the use of exaggerated voices, it is more difficult in live-action.

And different from subtitling services, dubs might be irritating since what you’re hearing doesn’t match the performers’ lip movements. To get around this, the script is frequently modified to reflect what’s on-screen; however, this has the drawback of resulting in a filtered version of the original. It has the potential to completely alter the meaning of scenes.


What is the Right Choice for Japanese Audiences – Dubbing or Subtitling Services?

Japanese is a figurative language, so to choose the best option for your project, you have to consider several factors.

#1. Preference of the audiences in the Japanese market

Speaking about Western games in Japan, they used to be subtitled without voiceover. However, a survey conducted from 2007 to 2009 in Japan has revealed that games with English subtitles in this country won over dubbed with just a close margin. This pattern is beginning to shift. That means today Japanese people can blend in with both dubbing and subtitling services.

Should You Use Dubbing or Subtitling Services in the Japanese Market?


#2. Your Budget 

The process of dubbing may be fairly costly. A basic video might cost as much as $75 per minute, according to Bunny Studio. You might expect to spend extra if your video material is more complicated. Because dubbing is such a complex procedure, the charges are reasonable – especially if you use high-quality pros.

Meanwhile, the cost of translations might vary, but it is often less expensive. Depending on the language, it might cost anything from $10 to $26 each minute. When working with a translation business, be sure they place high importance on quality. Although some suppliers are less expensive, they may be compromising precision, which can cost you more money in the long run.


#3. Project’s Urgency

Dubbing involves professional voiceovers (one for each actor in the original version of the video material), a studio, editors, and post-edit specialists, in addition to the translation expenditures. 

However, subtitles provide for speedier turnarounds since they eliminate the necessity for recording and editing. When you choose subtitles over dubbing, your video material will reach its intended audience faster.


Let’s Summarize

Whether your firm chooses subtitling, dubbing, or a mix of the two, we feel it’s critical to arm you with the knowledge you need to make an educated decision.

Thousands of our customers have benefited from GTE Media’s high-quality, precise subtitling services. We provide video subtitles services in Southeast Asian and CCJK languages, with flexible workflows and excellent customer service. Furthermore, our expert team knows where to obtain the best suitable resources for your projects at a fair rate and commits to offering complete media localization services from start to finish.

Dubbing and Subtitling Services

So, if you want to learn more about our services, connect with us immediately to develop your products in the long run.



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