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The Difference Between Subtitles and Dubbing and their Pros

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

The Difference Between Subtitles and Dubbing and their Pros
Photo credit: Wix

In a world of international digital connections, there’s a need for making video and audio more accessible to all viewers. Mostly considered in the filmmaking sense, subtitles and dubbing are two ways to receive audio and video in a different language. The usefulness of these tools transcends more than just movies and TV shows.

They can be used for any video and audio files used in international communication between two parties who speak different languages. Which technique you opt for depends on your needs and other factors like the size of your budget.

Subtitles vs Dubbing: What are these?

The basic difference between the two is that one is visual and one is audio. Subtitles are lines of written text translating the audio into the target language. They should sync up to be read with the audio as it plays. They can appear anywhere on a screen but are generally found along the bottom in clear, readable text.

Dubbing substitutes the original audio with completely new audio in the intended language. The previous material is never heard. Instead, only the voice actor or translator’s audio is heard. Usually, dubs try to follow the intonation and style of the source material. There are instances called voiceovers that do allow the original audio to be heard in the background. This is generally used for things like documentaries, to make it clear that they are translating from a different language.

Subtitles vs Dubbing: Pros

There are pros to either translation tool, making them useful for different situations. Some advantages of subtitling are:

  • Affordability- Subtitles tend to be the cheaper option.

  • Accuracy- Subtitles go through a complex translation process that goes through several layers of editing. They are scrutinized in detail to check for accuracy.

  • Less Time-Consuming- There is a shorter turnaround when creating subtitles.

  • Eases Visual Learning- For those watching a foreign video to learn the nuance of the target language, subtitles help connect the two languages.

The advantages of dubbing are:

  • Clearer Portrayal- Dubbing, when done well, portrays complex dialogue and emotions more clearly.

  • Authenticity- Using a voice dubbing can better capture the intent with the rise and fall of tone.

  • More Inclusive- Voice translation into the target language better includes those who aren’t able to read yet or have visual impairments.

Lingua Franca Translation Services

Contact us today for your dubbing and subtitling needs.

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