Dubbing vs. Subtitling Services: Which is the Right Choice for Your Audiovisual Products?

Posted by Anne Quach on December 06, 2021.

Subtitles and dubbing are two types of audiovisual localization that assist viewers in comprehending the content of a foreign video and allow your company to expand its reach to international audiences. Choosing subtitling services or dubbing services for your audiovisual translation projects, however, is a challenging task. Each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks and many factors such as budget, target audience, and visual and auditory consistency should be taken into consideration when you decide whether dubbing or subtitling services are your right choice.

In today’s post, let’s dig deeper into these two services and find out which is your right choice.


What is Dubbing?

Dubbing refers to the process of adding or replacing spoken lines and sound effects of the source video with new audio in a different language. Ideally, the dubbed voices should be in sync with the images and the lips’ movements of speakers in the video. There are different levels of dubbing services. With voice-over services, the focus is on conveying the right meanings of the video content in the new language while in lip-sync, the lips’ movements and dialogues must match. That means it is necessary to rewrite some parts or the whole scripts.

Dubbing Services vs. Subtitling Services


  • Dubbing brings an authentic viewing experience. Your audiences do not have to read a lot of text on screen, which makes it feel more immersive. 
  • Dubbing is particularly useful in animation since there is little difference between lip movements and the spoken words of two languages. In live-action dubbing, this can be more difficult to separate from.
  • Dubbing is more commonly employed for programs in which target audiences are unable to read or cannot read as quickly as the subtitles’ speed (e.g. blind people or children).


  • Dubbing services take much more time to complete compared to subtitling services. This is because to make sure the dialogues and characters’ lip movements match, translators sometimes have to rewrite parts of the scripts without changing their meanings.
  • Even when the performers’ lip movements are in rhythm with the voice in the translated version, dubbing cannot create perfect synchronization.


What is Subtitling?

Subtitling is the method of translating dialogue in audiovisual products into new languages. It allows viewers to understand the content of videos even if they do not speak the language used in the video. Moreover, subtitles are also an effective tool for reaching out to global markets by making your video content easily accessible to people in many countries. 

Subtitles only convey the dialogues of characters in the video and do not include the other sound effects that make them different from closed captions.  

English subtitles for a Korean movie

An example of English subtitles for a Korean movie


  • Subtitles are a great way to make a film more accessible to the global audience if you want them to appreciate a movie or show it in its original form. It means your audience can listen to the original voices and detect the performers’ and director’s intended tone and nuance. 
  • Subtitling services are less expensive compared to dubbing services. In both services, skilled translators are required to produce a good translation of the original script. However, in dubbing, the involvement of professional voiceovers, editors, and post-edit specialists is needed. The more people get involved, the more cost you have to pay. 
  • Some audiences prefer watching audiovisual content with subtitles so they can improve their language skills.


  • Subtitles can be distracting to audiences. If your audiences have their eyes fixed to the bottom of the screen to read subtitles, they might miss out on the action and vice versa. While they can enjoy all the actions and emotions of the actors in the video, they might not be able to read all the text to understand the dialogues. 
  • Slow readers may find subtitles difficult to follow. If they look away or are distracted for a few seconds, they might miss out on some important information.


What is Your Right Choice: Dubbing Services or Subtitling Services?

Both dubbing and subtitling services have their own advantages and disadvantages. Thus, it is impossible to tell which one is more vital and superior to the other. To decide which services are more suitable for your media localization projects, you should carefully consider the following factors:

  • Budget – Dubbing services are usually more expensive than subtitling services. This is because dubbing involves professional voiceovers, editors, and post-production experts. Thus, if your budget is limited, then subtitle services might be a more practical choice.
  • Audience preferences in target markets – You must take into account the preference of the audiences that your company is targeting. In general, subtitles are usually appropriate for young audiences while dubbing is appropriate for feature films shown on television, children’s television programs, etc. In addition, many people in English-speaking countries are not familiar with watching subtitles and prefer dubbing. In contrast, many audiences in Vietnam like reading subtitles to enjoy the original sounds and character voice emotions. In other words, the tastes of each country and audience group are different, so do not assume anything. Make sure you do the proper research beforehand.
  • Turnaround time – Dubbing tasks usually take more time to perform than subtitling projects. In case you need your audiovisual products available in a new market in a short period of time, subtitling services will be a better choice. 


GTE Media’s Dubbing and Subtitling Services

GTE Media has supplied high-quality, accurate dubbing and subtitling services to hundreds of customers globally. We provide video localization services in many languages, with flexible workflows and excellent customer services.

At GTE Media, all subtitling projects are completed by skilled subtitlers who understand both language and cultures of both source and target languages while fluently using subtitle maker tools, guaranteeing the best quality subtitles in the shortest turnaround time. Our comprehensive subtitling services include Subtitle Translation, Subtitle for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH), Video Timecoding, Subtitle Encoding, and Subtitle Review.

When it comes to dubbing services, we work with a team of experienced voice talents around the world who bring you the best dubbed and adapted videos. Our dubbing solutions are comprehensive, including Voice-Over, Voice Replacement, Lip-Sync, Script Adaption, Audio-Video Mixing, and Dubbing Quality Control Services.

Talk to our media localization and get your audiovisual products localized today.

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