Subtitling or Dubbing: What’s Best for Film Translation?

Posted by Gummy Tran on November 09, 2022.

Are you debating whether to use subtitling or dubbing for a translated movie? Dubbing modifies the audio whereas subtitles keep the original.

Access to a wide range of video content has increased due to globalization. While some sellers are pleased with an English-only edition, others seek to reach a larger audience by dubbing or subtitling the video or film.

And they are applied in various ways. The dialogue is translated into the audience’s native tongue and printed over the movie as subtitles. Contrarily, dubbing entails replacing one spoken language with another while frequently using various voice actors.

This article compares the advantages and disadvantages of subtitling or dubbing to help you decide which is better for translating movies.

Subtitling or Dubbing: Pros and Cons


subtitling vs dubbing 01

The spoken audio of a show or movie is translated into text that appears on the screen, usually at the bottom. They rarely discuss music or sound effects, unless they are very necessary to the plot.

Subtitles are routinely used by hearing-impaired people to make sure they don’t miss the dialogue. However, subtitles can also be employed in other circumstances, such as when the audio mixing in the video is problematic or a character has a difficult-to-understand accent.

Pros of subtitles

subtitling vs dubbing 02

  • If you want to see the movie or television show in its unaltered, original form, subtitles are your best bet. It implies that you can recognize the original voices and tell what the actors and the director meant in terms of intricacy and tone.
  • Excellent for accessibility are subtitles. If you have hearing loss, a dub is worthless; with subtitles, you may watch media without any issues.
  • Subtitles may be useful for persons learning a foreign language. Both the original dialogue and the subtitles are audible simultaneously. Even subconsciously, your mind will start to link the terms together.
  • They frequently follow the original screenplay more closely. In dubs, scripts are frequently altered to match lip movements with audio. When there are subtitles, you get to experience something that is largely unfiltered.
  • Because no recording or editing is required, turnaround times are sped up when using subtitles. Your video material will reach its intended audience more rapidly if you choose subtitles over dubbing.

Cons of subtitles 

  • However, there are several limitations to subtitles. The major reason is that they could distract you, causing you to lose track of the action as you fixate on the bottom of the screen.
  • You can feel as though you aren’t engaged in the movie or television show after all that reading. Although subtleties in acting or visual storytelling can be missed, it is easy to hear the emotion in the phrase.
  • Especially if you read slowly or are a young person, subtitles can occasionally be difficult to understand. Additionally, to follow subtitles, you must constantly turn your head to the screen. A quick glance aside will cause you to miss parts of the dialogue.


subtitling vs dubbing 03

The originally spoken speech of a movie or television show is usually changed with new dialogue during post-production, usually in a different language. We’re dubbing here. Since the dialogue is nearly often recorded in its own audio track, sound engineers can change the dialogue while maintaining the other sounds.

Pros of dubbing

  • Dubbing is especially effective in animation when there is minimal distinction between spoken words and lip motions. It might be more difficult to distinguish from this in live-action dubbing.
  • Dubs can also aid in familiarity because you hear your own language rather than adjusting to another. It might help you quickly become absorbed in what you’re watching.

Cons of dubbing 

  • Dubs are commonly produced without the participation of the original creators. The voice actors executing the dubbing might not match the original tone and style, which means you might not have a true experience.
  • Voice acting calls very specialized skills. No matter how wonderfully everything else is done, a bad voice actor or poor directing can ruin the entire thing for you and take you out of the moment.
  • If you watch a lot of dubbed videos and notice the same voice frequently, it can be annoying to associate that voice with different characters. This is frequently justified in animation when it is desirable to utilize heightened voices, but it is more challenging in live action.
  • Dubs can also be annoying because you can’t always tell what the artists are saying from what you hear. To circumvent this, the script is often changed to more accurately reflect what is seen on screen; however, this has the disadvantage of producing an altered version of the original. It might drastically change the significance of some scenes.
  • In addition, dubbing is more expensive than subtitling because it involves experienced voice performers, a studio, editors, and post-editors, in addition to the cost of translation (one for each actor in the original version of the video content). However, subtitling requires less labor and is therefore less expensive.


Get the best subtitling or dubbing for your company

Language is essential to all forms of communication. be it in daily life or in art. Whatever best serves your video and audience should be used for dubbing or subtitling.

When subtitles are applied, viewers can hear real voices and understand how people actually communicate.

However, dubbing gives the audience a different take on the same footage. The message might still be understood despite the loss of nonverbal communication. It entirely relies on the nature of your project and the tastes of your target audience.

If you need subtitling vs dubbing services, you can contact GTE Media. As one of the leading media localization companies in the market, we offer professional subtitling vs dubbing services in all major Asian languages at a high quality, a cost-effective rate, and a lifetime warranty.

To get a free quote for your next subtitling or dubbing projects, get in touch with our team today.

If you want to check out other translation services, you may click here.

subtitling vs dubbing 05

Tags: ,

Tags: ,

Your comment