For many people, the show of the month is “Squid Games.” “Squid Games”is a Korean show available on Netflix, in which people in poverty are invited to play children’s games in order to win money and pay off their debt. The twist is that if you lose any of the games, you die. The show has become popular both due to its exciting plot and its interesting commentary. With so many people watching the show, particularly English-speakers, the question of language barriers come up. Generally, there are two options when it comes to enjoying foreign media: dubbed and subbed.
A dubbed show means that the original audio is replaced with the characters speaking in the desired language, such as English. Many people prefer to watch dubbed shows and movies because it is essentially like watching an English-speaking show. They are able to watch and listen to the media without working too hard. There is a particular group of people who absolutely abhor subtitles—you know who you are—because they feel that having to read takes away from the experience of the movie or TV show. The main issue with dubbed media is that the actors often have different accents, different inflections, and generally give different performances. The dubbed version of a show or movie is almost a completely different experience than the original.
Because dubbing a show or movie changes the experience to such a degree, there is also a large number of people who prefer enjoying the media subbed. Subbed basically means that the movie or show is presented with subtitles in a different language. As I mentioned before, subtitles allow the viewer to enjoy the media in a degree closer to the original and what the creator intended. That really is the main pull of watching a piece of media with subtitles. The voice inflections and acting stays the same as with the original, with just a translation at the bottom. Again, the downside to subtitles is that it is more work for the viewer. Having to read the translation at the bottom of the screen takes attention away from the rest of the screen, so the viewer may miss important visual aspects of the media.
The general conclusion of the dubbed vs subbed is that it comes down to preferences. Would you rather focus on the visual aspects of the film, or enjoy the authentic voice-acting? Do you want to put in the little bit of extra work to experience more of the original media, or do you want to be able to relax and enjoy it? Either way, foreign media is a great way to expand your horizons and get out of your comfort zone!