Spanish dubs, particularly Buffy: La Cazavampiros

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Rudolph, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    I just checked the Spanish dubs on a few episodes of Buffy, and what I found wasn't great. First, a little background. I'm hardly fluent in Spanish, but I took it for three years in highschool and can get by. I apologize for the lack of proper accent marks/punctuation below, but I have no idea how to do this and make it show up properly on the web. Any tips would be appreciated.

    The scoobies all sound far too old. In fact, the voices aren't even close on pretty much all the characters. Jonathan is probably the furthest off as he comes across gruff.

    The acting seems wrong for many characters as well. The worst is probably the Mayor, who's lost his friendly veneer.

    There's no distinction, accent-wise, between British and American characters. Or Bostians and Californians for that matter.

    It seems that the dubbers in many cases think they're doing a radio play or something. They feel the need to do all the acting with their voices when half of it has already been done physically. The end result is many things that were communicated through facial expressions and body language originally now have all sorts of grunts and gasps dubbed in. Cordelia and Willow are the worst offenders here. Witness Homecoming when Xander tries to Cordelia she hasn't been elected yet, or when Willow is having her picture taken.

    The subtitles and dub appear to be completely seperate translations. As far as I can tell, the subs are much more accurate. Anyonme know why they did this?

    I don't speak a lick of French, so my ability to check the French dub was limited, but it seems to be better from an acting/voice standpoint.

    In Band Candy, they attempt to literally translate the "KISS rocks!" joke, which doesn't work in pretty much anything other than English. In the Spanish dub, the graffiti is translated as "KISS manda!" This means "KISS commands!" which is the closest you'll get in Spanish to what the graffitist meant. Willow says "Besa las rocas? Por que alguien..." Which is a pretty literal translation of what Willow meant. In the subtitles, Willow's line is translated as "KISS manda? Por que alguien querria..." In French, this graffiti is "KISS balance!" Willow actually says "KISS rocks" here. The joke makes no sense in any of these. They really should have come up with a new joke or found a way to skip over this as there really isn't any way to make it work as written in English.

    There are many things that are mistranslated. For instance, in Lover's Walk, when Oz gives Willow the Pez witch he describes it as a small present rather than a theme present. There are lots of instances of this sort of thing. But Buffy probably is one of the harder shows to translate.

    In the same episode, when Spike first walks into the mansion, he's singing "My Way" in Spanish. When he leaves town at the end, it's playing on the car stereo in English. In the dub, he doesn't even sing along. This ruins the connection.

    In summary, tell your Spanish-speaking friends to watch with subtitles. Anyone who speaks Spanish somewhat fluently want to weigh in on this? I'm also curious if any of the other dubs are any better.

    On a related note, does anyone know why Fox (as well as several other studios) often won't include subs for all dubbed languages. Since they already have the translation and subpictures take up so little discspace, I would think it costs very little to do this. Because dubs are often problematic, I'm sure there are many French and Spanish-speaking people who'd rathe watch thing subtitles. Fox seems to usually do French dubs, but never subtitles.
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    No, they're not. They're all badly acted and done on the cheap. Reason #874 why you shouldn't dub anything

    The reason why they include French dubs but no subs is because (at least from what I am told) the French Canadians(specifically Quebec) people won't pollute their ears with English if they can possibly avoid it, and prefer to listen to dubs no matter how bad they are. They even have days when they extoll the virtues of French dubs over OSL
     
  3. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Anyoe know how much it costs to do dubs well? Disney seems to be good at this and Fox's localizations of the Star Wars movies are pretty strong, too.
     
  4. Martin Fontaine

    Martin Fontaine Supporting Actor

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    What sickens me the most is that they not only try to find "Clever" ways of making people choose the french version when a choice exists (By choice I also include the fact that the person understands english) but they try to prevent people from knowing what is the original language of the movie. It's like, unless you read english language newspaper, watch english language TV or visit english language websites (Such as HTF) then technically, you are not even supposed to know (Or even care) what the original title is.

    Add to that the whole "Who cares" mentality. My sister is Trilingual, her first language is french, she also understands english and spanish. But she will always go see movies in french no matter whar. She bought into this whole PQ Propaganda that the english version of a movie is for and only for those who do not understand french. Yet she has no problems with watching That 70s Show in english.

    I still don't understand why movies like Formula 51 even have a french track on them! I mean most of the jokes in the movie involve the differences between american english and british english.

    And people call me all sorts of names when I tell them that I watch movies that were originally made in french with english subtitles. I mean, how different is it for someone who also understands french to watch a movie originally made in french with english subs because he is more confortable with that than someone who also understands english and watches movies originally made in english in french. At least I watch them OSL!
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Dan, not that much more than to do them badly

    And frankly, there is no such thing as a "good" dub. There is tolerable at best. Basically you can't slap things together like they usually do, and actually direct people. Look at how horrible the dubs usually look, they don't even correct the reverb half the time making it sound like eaxactly what it is: A dub
     
  6. Joseph_mx

    Joseph_mx Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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  8. Juan C

    Juan C Second Unit

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  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  10. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Lew, of course they can be picked up. It's called liner notes.
     
  11. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    [​IMG]

    Very true Jeff. Of course it’s the difference between intellectual knowledge and experience. [​IMG]
     
  12. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    I had a German friend who tried to claim the German Eddie Murphy voice was better.

    I have seen a few dubs that preserved accent. Warner's Batman: The Animated series and Disney's Lilo and Stitch both did in Spanish at least.

    Is this sloppy dub work something associated with Fox tv shows? The Japanese X-Files is laughable. Pretty much all the international versions of the Simpsons aare horrible as well. Though, in that case, both Marge and Homer are very difficult to do.
     
  13. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  14. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    That was my objection as well. The Japanese seem to have a different philosophy about voice-acting techniques than Americans (less focus on realism), but the voice still seems entirely the wrong type for Mulder.
     
  15. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  16. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Come to think of it, there's little focus on realism in American cartoons of late either. I think it's a matter of dubs shouldn't be treated like cartoon voice-overs.
     
  17. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    Real Name:
    Christian Preischl
     
  18. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    I just watched more Buffy in Spanish and my opinion has changed somewhat. The people who dub Buffy, Angel, Xander and Giles all do a great job, though their voices seem wrong for the parts. Willow, Cordelia and Oz as well as most of the secondary characters are awful. For instance, the weather guy in Amends. Do Spanish-speakers have rather different expectations as to how weathermen talk, or is this just done very poorly?

    I would encourage anyone who can who check out The Wish in Spanish. The R1 DVD has this, as do some of the R2s. The Master's voice is unbelievable. It blows away everything else I've described here. The characterization could best be described as an evil Grover.

    Does anyone know why the French dub seems to be so much better?
    • Does it just seem that way because I don't speak French?
    • Is it just luck of the draw as far as director and cast?
    • Is the French dub better funded because it's a bigger/more important market?
    • Is there just a well-established dubbing industry for French, but not so much Spanish, so there's more talent to chose from?
     
  19. Juan C Toro

    Juan C Toro Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I guess I consider myself an expert on this matter, so take my word for it.

    I grew up in a Spanish speaking country, watching all the shows on TV you also did, from Gilligan’s Island to Three is Company, and form Mission Impossible to the Six Million Dollar Man. And all the cartoons you can imagine.

    Obviously, all this shows had to be dubbed, but when you grow up watching dubs, you become accustomed, and will never question a joke that makes no sense, or the lack of synchronism between the words and the movements of the lips.

    When it came to movies at the cinema, you had to watch them in their original language with subtitles, with the benefit that we learn to appreciate as much the Hollywood movies (the good ones and the bad ones), but also world cinema: French, German, Russian, Japanese, you name it. It made no difference since regardless of the language of the film, we had to read subtitles. The only exception would be animated or children movies. For these kind of movies, the studios had to ante the money for a dub if you want small children who do not know how to read, or can’t read to fast, to enjoy the movie. They are the target audience, and makes sense they should be able to follow the story.

    But I always knew I was missing something by reading subtitles, so I learned English and French, so I could understand movies (and obviously books and music) in these languages.

    Later on I moved to Canada, and after a few years, I went back home for a visit. I had seen The Simpson for the first time in North America, in English of course, and by the time of my visit, it was being broadcast back at home. I watch and episode, and I didn’t laugh one single time. The reason: the voices were wrong, but most important, all the nuances were gone. Specially when it comes to humor, the delivery is half of the joke. Have you ever watched Life is Beautiful in English? It sounds silly. But if you watch it in the original Italian language (which I also understand), it is a joy.

    Movies are to be watched in the original language! The worst offenders are children voices. They ALWAYS use adult actors to do children voices, and they sound simply ridiculous.

    I watch 99% of the movies in the original language. I must admit that Cantonese is hard on my ears, and if there is a Mandarin dub on the DVD, this is the one I would chose. That is my sin, and I will have to learn to live with it!

    JC
     

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