Dubbing or Subtitling? ‘Parasite’ reopens the debate on how to watch foreign films

Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho’s South Korean drama, is the first non-English movie in 92 years to win Best Picture at the Oscars. This dark comedy is about an impoverished family who plans to seek employment from a wealthy family by infiltrating their household and posing as highly qualified individuals. Since its debut in 2019, ‘Parasite’ has also picked up awards at the Golden Globe Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and BAFTA.

The movie’s unprecedented success at the box office left the whole of Hollywood surprised and shocked. But at the same time, it has fueled the debate on whether to watch foreign films dubbed in the local language or with subtitles.

So, what is superior between subtitling and dubbing? Let us find out.

Subtitles are the text version of the dialogues spoken on the screen and appear at the bottom in sync with the audio. Movies or series with subtitles do not gain a lot of traction all over the world. But, being a foreign language film with subtitles, ‘Parasite’ has not only managed to sweep several awards at various events but also won over both audiences and critics. Below are the advantages of subtitles that can explain the same.

• First and foremost, subtitles allow deaf and hard-of-hearing population viewers to access and enjoy the video content that they would not have otherwise.
• While creating subtitles, you don’t have to worry about the lip flap sync.
• With subtitles, you can also watch movies or series in sound-sensitive environments, like libraries or public transports.
• It has a low production cost as no recording studio, voice artists, or engineers are required to create subtitles.
• Further, subtitles allow a more accurate translation of the foreign words and phrases to suit the target audience’s language.
• Also, they do not impact the original audio files, and the viewers get to hear the original dialogues of the actors.
• Last but not least, it is a better option if you want to learn a new language.

Sometimes subtitling can distract the viewers from what is happening on the screen. This is where dubbing is useful. Many people argue that dubbed films do commercially better and reach a wider audience. In addition to this, here are some of its merits.

• Dubbing allows viewers to consume the content in their native language and that too, without any distractions.
• Since you can use different dubbing artists, it works well in case of videos having multiple speakers.
• Being an audio enhancement, the dubbing does not clutter the visual space.
• It enables them to learn about a variety of cultures, beliefs, and traditions from all over the world, thus eliminating cultural barriers.
• People go after dubbed content not because it makes them feel more comfortable, and they can relate more to their local languages and draw parallels to their cultural traditions.

Bottom line
On the whole, subtitling and dubbing have their benefits and drawbacks. Hence, how you watch a foreign language film is a personal preference.

Look no further. Find the best partner for your all your dubbing/subtitling requirements – DUBnSUB. We are a post-production company based in Gurgaon, India with branch offices in Germany, France, USA and Myanmar. We offer high-quality dubbing/subtitling services at competitive costs in around 100 languages through a mix of our own and extensive partner network of 200 recording studios and with our pool of more than 3,200 native voice artists.

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