Watching a foreign television show or motion picture can be challenging if you don’t know the language, which is why both dubbing and subtitles were developed decades ago. These two forms of translation allow us to enjoy foreign language films that we might not otherwise be able to. Subtitles are written, translated text of the film’s narration or dialogue that typically appear along the bottom edge of the video. Dubbing, on the other hand, involves voice-over translations of the dialogue or narration that requires no reading whatsoever.
There continues to be an ongoing debate among foreign TV and movie fans regarding which is better – subtitles or dubbing. Some viewers get tired of having to read subtitles at the bottom of the screen, complaining that it’s easy to miss what is actually happening onscreen if you’re distracted by the subtitles. Other viewers say that dubbed movies and TV shows don’t always do justice to the original voice and emotional inflections of the actors onscreen. Whichever form of translation you prefer, you can rest assured that there is an abundance of foreign films available for viewing. In fact, recent polls have shown that a few specific dubbed television shows are among the most popular. These include the following:
- “3%” (Brazil) – If you’re a fan of “The Hunger Games,” you might give this Brazilian thriller a try. The basic premise involves a world divided up between the very wealthy (Offshore) and the very poor (Inland). “3%” is currently one of the most popular of all dubbed television shows.
- “The Break” (Belgium) – A drama that tells the story of a detective returning to his hometown and coming across a murder victim includes all the hallmarks of a good mystery thriller. This one happens to be in French, but thanks to expert dubbing, language is not an issue.
- “Dark” (Germany) – “Dark” is the first German original series offered by Netflix, and staying true to its name, it offers viewers a glimpse of a haunting and supernatural combination of backdrops and characters.
- “Atelier” (Japan) – With a storyline that centers on the everyday goings-on of a lingerie store, “Atelier” is a drama with a distinctive soap opera flavor. Although the plot and the dialogue have a tendency to be on the silly side, the characters exhibit traits that the Japanese are known for: a dedication toward hard work and a drive to succeed.
- “Call My Agent!” (France) – A comedy that combines a cast of wacky characters making every effort to salvage their failing business, “Call My Agent!” also provides some touching emotional moments for viewers.
- “Fauda” (Israel) – If you enjoy action thrillers, “Fauda” is for you. The story centers on a group of Israeli commandos in Palestine. Viewers and critics alike classify “Fauda” as one of the best foreign language TV shows available today. It will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.
- “Fallet” (Sweden) – Combining a healthy dose of humor and social commentary, “Fallet” is essentially a spoof involving an incompetent Swedish homicide detective and British inspector who team up to investigate the murder of an Englishman.
If you haven’t watched a dubbed movie or television show recently, it’s definitely worth trying. There are so many excellent foreign shows to choose from now, and although each may follow the formula of a particular genre, the international flavor puts a totally different spin on what may otherwise be a familiar theme. We are fortunate to live in a time when the translation of these films and videos is more accurate and true to the original versions than ever. Thanks to advancements in modern film technology, both dubbing and subtitles are excellent methods of translation, and that opens up an entire world of viewing possibilities!