Friday, January 1, 2016

To Dub or not to Dub…

It was suggested recently by the President of Spain that TV should stop dubbing films and series into Spanish, as this would help improve the level of English of young Spaniards.

Even though this is almost certainly true, and the experience over many decades in countries like Sweden, Norway, Holland and Germany is that exposure to English in TV programmes from a very early age is one of the reasons for the extremely high depth and breadth of competence in English, the government is obviously not “mulling” a ban on dubbing, nor would it be right to do so.

I doubt it has any authority to do it, for a start, but there are other reasons it’s a bad idea.

There is a very good dubbing industry in Spain, and many of the voice actors are better than the Hollywood people they replace. (For some reason Hollywood doesn’t require its stars to be able to communicate like normal human beings, let alone like performers). I often prefer to watch in Spanish because they do it better, and they turn down the background noise, too. “Let’s annoy the luvvies by stopping them working” is not usually seen as good politics, especially when they are actually doing a good job.

Also, although it might benefit, undoubtedly would benefit, suitably motivated youngsters, older people would probably be a little miffed at suddenly not being able to watch the TV because the government has said so.

Another point is that the key is motivation. If you don’t find a way to motivate the young to want to learn, playing around with what’s on the telly is only going to annoy people, and achieve nothing. That motivation is one of the major failings of government in regard to Education.

And another important point is that they are far too late. With digital television and polychannel platforms it has been possible for at least 13 years to watch hundreds of different series on dozens of different channels, in the original version- which almost invariably means English- if you so choose. Some choose to, some don’t. I encourage them to do so if they find they can still enjoy the programme that way, and explain why. Government meddling would cause a lot of harm and would, in practice, change nothing.

The fact that they are thinking about such things, however, and understand something about how the desired results might be achieved, is a step in the right direction.

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