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Europe is divided on whether films should have subtitles or different audio tracks.
- The boom of international content is fueling the rise of dubbing, or 're-voicing' the movie or series in another language.
- As old as the 'talkies', dubbing and subtitling won out over a competing technique known as 'multiple language versions'.
- As this map shows, Europe is deeply divided between subbing and dubbing – and between different kinds of dubbing.
Which version of 'The Woods'?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0fdf149c7a41b4589ff4233fb525e212"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4RlU1A_AJx4?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>How do you like your foreign-language movies and series: subbed or dubbed? International content is booming on streaming services. So even for English-speaking audiences, long used to their language ruling screens both silver and small, it's an increasingly relevant question.<br></p><p>And one without a definitive answer: both subtitling and dubbing (a.k.a. 're-voicing') have inherent drawbacks. Watching something 'in foreign' means the subtitles subtract from the work's visual integrity; but choose the version dubbed into your own lingo, and you may feel short-changed in the authenticity department.</p><p>Nevertheless, most people have a clear preference one way or the other. Like Harlan Coben, whose 2007 thriller "The Woods" was adapted into a Polish-language Netflix series – and then subbed and dubbed back into English. He recently <a href="https://twitter.com/HarlanCoben/status/12714429766..." target="_blank">tweeted</a>: <em>"Netflix gives you the choice to watch The Woods dubbed or subtitled. I urge you to use subtitles, (but) you do you. Rock on." </em></p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/HarlanCoben/status/1271442976678588417" target="_blank"></a>Coben later <a href="https://twitter.com/HarlanCoben/status/12719074382..." target="_blank">replied</a> to a fan (who said they were watching the subtitled version): <em>"Yes. This is the best way to watch a show or movie – original language setting with your language in subtitles (but) if you want to watch with English dubbing, hey, cool, I'm not in the judging business."</em><br><br>Coben's opinion chimes with that of the 'arthouse' audience, which prefers to sample foreign fare in the original language with subtitles, for authenticity's sake. They're vocal about their preference, but recent data suggests they're the minority. As many as 36 percent of Netflix subscribers in the U.S. watched Spanish smash hit "Money Heist" ("Casa de papel" in the original) in the dubbed version. Only a few percent watched it with subtitles. </p><p>Moreover, there is evidence that good dubs increase audience engagement, and that viewers – American ones at least – are more likely to finish the dubbed version of an episodic drama than the subbed one. </p><p>The arthouse crowd might be unable to support the loss of the near-immersive quality of subtitling, but the obvious reason for the popularity of dubbing is practical: it's easier to use as 'wallpaper'. Just try to do the ironing while keeping up with "The Woods" in Polish with subtitles.<br></p>
Chaplin's "Easy Street" (1917) with live piano (2012)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0f9e6300a5ef2ef367f79daeab754276"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K1p-FRhfPfQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>One major argument for subtitles – besides the 'arthouse' one, that is: it's about 10 times cheaper than dubbing with a full voice cast, not to mention a lot faster. But that seems to be a consideration of the past. The aforementioned boom in international content is generating economies of scale that favor dubbing. Netflix alone works with 165 dubbing studios around the world. </p><p><span></span>The rise of dubbing is symptomatic of the internationalisation of global viewing culture, long dominated by Anglophone productions. What's happening is in fact a re-globalisation. The silent movie ecosystem, which held sway until the late 1920s, was remarkably cosmopolitan. Re-purposing a silent movie for another language market was easy: just translate the title cards, and hey presto – another audience served. By 1927, your typical Hollywood film had its intertitles translated into as many as 36 languages.</p><p><span></span>When the 'talkies' came in, the movie industry stumbled headlong into something it had not yet experienced: a language barrier the size of the Tower of Babel. A spoken movie could reach only one language group. How to reach all those others? Subtitling and dubbing were used from the beginning, but for a few years in the early 1930s, it seemed a third solution would win out: multiple language versions, or MLVs. </p><p>Here's how that went: A movie studio would hire foreign-language directors and actors to re-shoot the same film, taking turns scene by scene. In 1930, for example, William C. de Mille's movie "The Doctor's Secret," originally in English, was simultaneously shot in Spanish, French, Italian, Swedish, Polish, Czech, and Hungarian as well. <br></p>
Dubbed in French, but with an American accent<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="938f0103d0c422df9285cdd21b5a27fc"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vK78xIEMJBs?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Some stars were too famous to be replaced, and had to re-shoot the MLVs themselves, learning their lines in another language. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's own French-language efforts became so familiar to audiences in France, that when they were eventually replaced with French voice-over artists, these had to keep the American accents of the original actors. </p><p><span></span>MLVs were cumbersome and costly, and by the mid-1930s, they had turned out to be an evolutionary dead end. Dubbing and subtitling started to take over and the industry never looked back. MLVs were occasionally revived though, even as late as 1979, when Werner Herzog shot German and English versions of the same vampire movie, using the same cast: "Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht" and "Nosferatu the Vampyre," respectively. </p><p><span></span>In a world dominated by Hollywood, dubbing established itself as the preferred translation method in France, Italy, Germany and Spain. These are Europe's four biggest non-English-speaking markets, so dubbing – more labor-intensive and up to 10 times more expensive than subbing – made more economic sense there than in smaller markets.</p><p><span></span>Subtitling became the go-to solution for most of those smaller markets: Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Balkans. </p><p>Yet some other smaller markets, the Czech and Hungarian ones to name two, also preferred dubbing. That's because economy wasn't the only factor. Cultural pride also played a part. France had always considered its culture and language a bit above the vulgar English tongue, for example. Another factor: politics. Dubbing was an attractive way to censor foreign imports, especially for the fascist regimes in Germany, Italy, and Spain.<br></p>
The Terminator, in German: "Ich komme wieder"<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7e6b185ee9f33ca8d0f1dfd9eda7a76f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/93IYGIzIPRY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Once set, national preferences remained fairly stable after World War II, when the import of mainly English-language movies boomed across Western Europe. Today, Italy even has the <em>Gran Premio Internazionale del Doppiagio</em>, an annual Oscars-like ceremony for excellence in dubbing. </p><p><span></span>In bigger dubbing markets like Germany, voice actors became celebrities in their own right. Recently-retired German voice actor Thomas Danneberg dubbed around 1,500 movies into German, including Arnold Schwarzenegger's entire oeuvre (whose Austrian accent would have disqualified him from doing his own dubbing in High German). </p><p><span></span>Mr. Danneberg dubbed a great number of actors, which could be an issue when several appeared in the same movie. When Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone appeared together in "The Expendables" (2010), Danneberg made sure to say the lines of both at a slightly different pitch. </p><p>In Eastern Europe, meanwhile, another alternative gained prominence, called voice-over translation (VOT). Unlike with dubbing, where the original soundtrack is replaced, VOT adds the translated dialogue over the original, which remains audible. It's a technique familiar to Western audiences from documentaries or news reports, not for fiction. <br></p>
Subbing and dubbing map of Europe<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQxMTc1NS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMDE1MzI4OX0.K3W6_k5mB_oKFxpO0sQNZKe-JxN4fxnHN_g4UGdyIAk/img.png?width=980" id="ea3e7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c7249346ace7c79d05dac24a368acd68" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
In red: dubbing markets. Dark blue: subtitles, please. Yellow: voice-over translation. In green: markets using dubs from another language (i.e. Czech for Slovakia, Russian for Belarus). Light blue: Belgium, where the Dutch-speaking north prefers subbing, the French-speaking south subbing.
Image: MapChart, reproduced with kind permission<p>In Polish and Russian, 'lektors' are a cheap and culturally accepted way to translate foreign movies. In Russia, these are known as Gavrilov translations, after one of the three most prolific voice artists doing these single-voice translations. Each had their specialty. While Andrey Gavrilov went for action movies, Aleksey Mikhalyov gravitated towards comedy and drama, and Leonid Volodarsky is best remembered for his dubbing of "Star Wars." The tradition is continued by a new generation of Gavrllov translators.<br></p><p>But for how long? Because dubbing is improving at a terrific speed. In the near future, the technology behind 'deep fakes' will help produce dubs that perfectly synchronise the 'flaps' (dub-speak for mouth movements) with the words voiced over, while 'voice cloning' will be used to adjust the voice of the re-recording artist to that of the original actor.</p><p>It may convince the Eastern European markets to abandon VOT – which is the poor cousin of dubbing anyway. But it's less certain that it will dislodge subbing from markets where it's become ingrained, and frequently mentioned as a reason for relatively high levels of English proficiency. So it may be a while yet before the Terminator says "I'll be back" in Swedish. <br></p><p><br></p><p><strong>Strange Maps #1035</strong></p><p><em>Got a strange map? Let me know at </em><a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.</p>
In "Douglas," the Australian comedian opens up about her autism diagnosis.
- In her new Netflix special, "Douglas," comedian Hannah Gadsby targets anti-vaxxers.
- Diagnosed with autism four years ago, Gadsby discusses the dangers of believing vaccinations cause autism.
- Some high-profile anti-vax activists use their platform in order to sell supplements and books.
How Hannah Gadsby's High-Functioning Autism Works | Netflix Is A Joke<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b2bb91d719bd25e853753d4ade362893"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5lXbpgU9OWk?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>In a scathing yet hilarious indictment of the anti-vax movement, Gadsby says activists are highly organized and coordinated. They're also prone to "willfully manipulate statistics," as the osteopathic study proves. This doesn't change the fact that anti-vaxxers are woefully outnumbered, however loud social media seems. Tragically, the loudest voice in the room gets taken seriously, sometimes. </p><p>After discussing her autism diagnosis, Gadsby begins the skit. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Do you know what causes autism? No, you f***ing don't. If you honestly think you do, your confidence is making you stupid." </p><p>She's aware anti-vaxxers are likely in the room. Her core demographic is wealthy, entitled white women, which is "a Venn diagram with a lot of crossover." Gadsby holds no hope in changing minds, because that's not how closed minds work: "They don't work; they're closed for business." </p><p>She then pretends vaccines cause autism, although "pretending is not science." She's not upset about being on the spectrum. That doesn't mean having autism is easy; quite the contrary. It's difficult to always be the odd one out. That said, Gadsby brilliantly advocates for autism. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"As difficult as this life is, it's nice to have a life. And it's particularly nice to have this life in a world without polio. Polio is bad, and that is a fact, not a feeling."</p><p>Text on a screen will never compare to Gadsby's delivery: the crescendo of "polio," the playful yet serious expression on her face when delivering this information. Her critique doesn't stop there. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I would rather have autism than be a sociopath like you."</p><p>Tough statement, which she qualifies. Believing your child is more important than all other children means you're not playing for the team. You've wrapped yourself up so tightly in a belief system that self-righteousness has become your creed. Far from being a posture on Twitter, this mindset has real-world consequences. </p><p>First, there's the economic angle. Discredited physician Andrew Wakefield, who was <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5347" target="_blank">paid to falsify data</a> in his infamous measles vaccine-autism study, <a href="http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/epidemiology/hanley/c609/Material/BMJpartII.pdf" target="_blank">filed a patent</a> for a single-jab measles vaccine as the same time he was decrying vaccines. His objective appears to have been financial from day one. </p>
Protesters hold banners against the 5G technology and vaccines as others shout slogans during an anti-government protest in front of the parliament in Sofia on May 14, 2020.
Photo by Nikolay Doychinov/AFP via Getty Images<p>Wakefield isn't the only opportunist. Osteopath Joseph Mercola's net worth has <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2019/10/15/fdc01078-c29c-11e9-b5e4-54aa56d5b7ce_story.html" target="_blank">grown to over $100 million</a> as he promotes his products to anti-vaxxers. Then there's Judy Mikovits, the subject of the discredited film, "<a href="https://bigthink.com/coronavirus/the-plandemic" target="_self">Plandemic</a>," whose book <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/plandemic-judy-mikovits-plague-of-corruption-998224/" target="_blank">became a bestseller</a> after the film's release. Her book was published by a house whose <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9WuTxRZFNQ&t=74s" target="_blank">sole focus</a> is promoting anti-vaccination rhetoric.</p><p>Second, the health consequences. As Gadsby says, anti-vaxxers are coordinated. Two case studies: Samoa and Orthodox Judaism. </p><p>Recently anti-vax rhetoric has <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/samoa-has-become-a-case-study-for-anti-vax-success/2019/12/09/76848830-1ac8-11ea-b4c1-fd0d91b60d9e_story.html" target="_blank">rooted</a> in Samoa. The result: over 4,000 children were infected with measles last fall. At least 70 died. An anti-vax advocate <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50682881" target="_blank">promoted</a> the use of papaya leaf for treating measles; he was later arrested. The situation was so bad, the Samoan government declared a state of emergency and banned children under the age of 17 from gathering publicly. </p><p>Anti-vax rhetoric <a href="https://khn.org/news/why-measles-hits-so-hard-within-n-y-orthodox-jewish-community/" target="_blank">also hit</a> Orthodox Jewish communities hard last year. In March, 2019 over 275 cases of measles were confirmed in New York state. The <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/meet-the-new-york-couple-donating-millions-to-the-anti-vax-movement/2019/06/18/9d791bcc-8e28-11e9-b08e-cfd89bd36d4e_story.html" target="_blank">funding</a> for this effort was provided by a wealthy Manhattan couple that has donated over $3 million to anti-vax organizations. One group is Informed Consent Action Network, an anti-vax organization run by a former television producer that specifically targets Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County. </p><p>"Douglas" is a masterful piece of common sense propaganda. Gadsby is ready for the vitriol certain to come her way for exposing the public to basic science. She snacks on hate. Following that statement, she stares out into the crowd to ask if they understand why she would eat the bluster of haters. Her response is priceless.<br></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It builds immunity; it's called microdosing. Your hate is my vaccine."</p><p>A slight pause. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"What are you going to do? I already have autism."</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
The 57-year-old is teaming up with NASA and SpaceX for the film project, which is to be set aboard the International Space Station.
- NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed the project on Tuesday via Twitter.
- The project — an action-adventure movie — would be the first narrative film shot in space.
- It's unclear how Cruise will get to the space station. Later this May, SpaceX and NASA plan to send American astronauts to the ISS aboard a SpaceX vehicle.
NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 mission will return U.S human spaceflight to the International Space Station from U.S. soil with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on an American rocket and spacecraft for the first time since 2011<p>Here's how <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/specials/dm2/" target="_blank">NASA describes</a> the upcoming Demo-2 flight:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"After successfully docking, [astronauts] Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard [the] station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew," NASA wrote on its website. "They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Upon conclusion of the mission, Crew Dragon will autonomously undock with the two astronauts on board, depart the space station and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. Upon splashdown just off Florida's Atlantic Coast, the crew will be picked up at sea by SpaceX's Go Navigator recovery vessel and return to Cape Canaveral."</p>
Axiom Space<p>In January, NASA and a startup called Axiom Space <a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/space-tourism" target="_blank">announced plans</a> to attach what's essentially a "space hotel" to the ISS, and to sell trips to non-astronauts. It would be a major step in the agency's years-long push to privatize the aging station. </p><p>Axiom has already lined up its first customer. The ticket cost? An estimated <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/05/science/axiom-space-station.html" target="_blank">$55 million</a>, the bulk of which comes from the steep cost of the rocket launch. But it's not much cheaper once you get to the station — a <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/s1701746119060610280_1.pdf" target="_blank">2019 NASA report</a> shows that the cost of life-support equipment alone is about $11,250 per day. </p><p>So, though much remains unclear about Cruise's upcoming film project, what's certain is that shooting it will require an astronomically huge budget.</p>
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