Dubbing (film)

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In film production, synchronization , dubbing or dubbing is the term used to describe the creation of a temporal synchronization between image and sound. Is in post-production , the linguistic level of the soundtrack reworked, so made a subsequent intake of dialogue fragments or all dialogues and then brought the text with the image back into compliance, we referred to this process as Automatic Dialogue Recording (ADR) or dubbing.

The most common meaning of film synchronization in everyday language use is the subsequent replacement of all speaking parts with dialogues in another language that are coordinated with the mouth movements and gestures of the original actors. The result is a dubbed version that has been made accessible to another language area. Almost all foreign language films are dubbed in Germany. In many other countries, on the other hand, subtitles or voice-overs are preferred for reasons of cost (or out of respect for the other language and culture) . B. in news broadcasts.



The first synchronization in film history took place in 1929: The film Blackmail by Alfred Hitchcock was initially started as a silent film . In the course of production, however, it was decided to make it the first English sound film . Since the English of the Czech actress Anny Ondra was not good enough, but Hitchcock did not want to do without her as an actress, he had her part dubbed by the British actress Joan Barry . Thus Joan Barry became the first dubbing actress and Anny Ondra became the first actress in film history to be dubbed in a foreign language, with the dubbing taking place during the shoot: Ondra moved her lips, Barry spoke the text outside the picture.

The subsequent synchronization of foreign language films was not possible in the early years of the sound film for technical reasons. If sound films were to be distributed in foreign-language countries, sections of the film or the entire film also had to be shot in the respective language. Some films were shot twice, such as the Austrian film from 1933, Leise vorlehen Meine Lieder, which was re-produced a year later in the English version and under the title Unfinished Symphony with a slightly different cast. Other films were shot at the time of their production with different actors who played the scenes one after the other in one setting, such as the German Hans Albers film FP1 does not answer (1932), that by director Karl Hartl with different main actors in German, English and French Language was rotated.

It was not taken for granted that viewers would adopt the relatively new technology of dubbing. The film and television scholar Joseph Grancarz summarized this in the DLF Kultur, as "a cultural learning process in which the audience has to be able to forget in a certain sense that the person who speaks is not identical with the person who is speaking See canvas ".

After 1945

In the period after the Second World War , the German-speaking film market increasingly opened up to foreign films. Several dubbing studios were founded within a short period of time in order to compensate for the only rudimentary knowledge of foreign languages ​​in the population and to develop the market better. The most famous were in Berlin , Munich , Hamburg and Remagen . In order to appeal to as large an audience as possible in German-speaking countries, the films were often not only translated, but also "content adapted" (i.e. censored). The reasons for the censorship were usually not official requirements, but rather the desire of the companies involved to maximize profit by adapting to the supposed public taste.

Technical basics and development

Light tone

Film image with optical soundtrack

At the beginning of the sound film era sparked the newly developed optical sound the Nadelton (sound of vinyl records from). In the subsequent sound post-processing, a so-called sound track was photographed between the individual images and the perforation holes directly on the film strip and thus enabled synchronous image / sound presentation. The direct processing of the film material, however, also meant that the components of mixed soundtracks could not be separated because the sound could only be recorded as a "mix". Therefore, entire settings had to be re-dubbed in the studio.

As early as the mid-1920s, the German inventor Carl Robert Blum was developing apparatuses that were initially supposed to put together image and music (so-called “music chronometers”) and later image and sound (so-called “rhythmography”). On behalf of Deutsche Universal, the films Captain of the Guard and Nothing New in the West were dubbed with the help of Blum's new patent, while the dialogues were read out on treadmills that dictated the speaking speed. However, it took just under two years until the technology of the sound mixing and editing process was sufficiently mature to establish itself as a production method. In Germany, rhythmography was mainly used for dubbing, and this was even used in some cases after the Second World War.

Magnetic tape

Wire recorder

The most important invention for dubbing was the magnetic tape , which was further developed by the German company BASF in the mid-1930s . This initially consisted of magnetizable wires (jokingly called "shoelaces" by the technicians who work with them), and after the development of a more flexible carrier material, the wires then developed into what are known as audio tapes .

In the 1940s, this technology prevailed against the noise-prone light tone. Initially, the dialogues, noises and music were mixed together on these tapes; for the synchronization, the entire film sound had to be re-recorded for a foreign-language film. The “stereo” recording did not mean breaking down the individual sound sources; the sound was only on a two-channel tape and thus served to optimize the sound, which led to better spatial resolution (“locatability”). Well-known examples of this are the films Westward pulls the wind ( Paint Your Wagon , 1969) and the old Romans drove it mad ( A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum , 1966), whose German dubbed version was also only released on DVD Mono sound is available - in contrast to the stereo sound of the English original. In the case of prestige films, on the other hand, attention was usually paid to a separate dialogue track when mixing the music and sounds in stereo, so that this could also be replaced separately abroad, for example with Ben Hur from 1959.

After the development of multi-track recorders , dialogues, noises and music were recorded separately on individual tracks and mixed to the finished film sound. In the international distribution of films, only the original dialogue track on the tapes made available is replaced by the national language dialogue recorded in the studio. Other tracks are included in the delivery and are used to create the “mix”, which is still known today as the international sound track or “IT band” ( international track ).

Since the 1980s, the technical term Automatic Dialogue Recording (ADR) has spread to describe the dubbing of a film, regardless of whether it is to replace bad original sound recordings or to translate it into another language. For the recordings, the dialog scenes of the film were divided into several seconds long sequences, so-called takes , and glued together to form an endless loop. The voice actors could speak their text to the loops until the dialogue was in sync with the picture.

Digital technology

Digital mixer

Even after the advent of electronically controlled video technology in the mid-1990s, which gradually replaced tape recordings with digital media storage, the loop technology was retained. The digital sound recording process has simplified and accelerated the work process, so that almost twice as many "takes" are processed per day (previously 120 to 170, now between 200 and 250).

Sometimes no noises have to be imported, as large archives with a wide variety of noises and corresponding sound effects can be stored on the fully computerized mixing consoles .

Steps in the production of a synchronized socket

Preliminary work

In addition to the original version, the film producer also produces an international sound version ( IT , or English M&E for "Music & Effects") of a film, which contains all sound elements with the exception of language. Corresponding passages in the original must be filled with atmosphere and noises during this process , so that no original language (also in the background) is audible. In the case of highly budgeted film productions, individual original language parts of the image (signs, filmed fictional texts, etc.) are sometimes translated into the target language in the image.

In the meantime, a so-called optional track is usually included with feature films , which contains parts of the original voice-over that appear dramatically opportune. With the synchronization there is the possibility of either synchronizing certain parts of the dialogue or leaving them in the original. This is particularly useful when third languages ​​come into play, for example when parts of the plot take place in a foreign country and the protagonists themselves do not understand the language there.

Clients such as film distributors or television broadcasters then buy a film with the associated IT version from the film producer. Then they usually get offers from various dubbing companies by means of a tender . Mostly not only the favorable cost factor is relevant, often a decision is made based on the proposed cast, especially with well-known actors nowadays more emphasis is placed on continuity, so that so-called regular speakers are used.

Translation into the target language

At the beginning of the synchronization, a raw translator , who mostly works externally, is commissioned to translate the original dialogues accurately into the national language. This is tantamount to a literary translation, but it also contains detailed comments on technical terminology, puns, idioms and allusions to cultural or historical events, because "the finished rough translation provides the content basis for the dubbing author" . Its task is to lay out all text passages as dialogues in such a way that they match the length of the speech phases, the lip movements and the facial expressions of the actors. The dialogue book author not only has to pay attention to the lip-synchronicity, but also to decide at the same time how the country-specific peculiarities of the other culture are to be made understandable to the target audience. In the finished dialogue book, all text passages are divided into short speaking phases with respective comments as to whether the speaking person can be seen in the picture or not. These three to ten seconds long short sections, so-called takes , are later numbered in the studio and prepared for the recordings so that they can be played back over and over again.

In France and Spain, for example, the responsibility for the entire translation often lies in one hand, i.e. the rough translation and the dialogue book are created together. In Germany, on the other hand, a raw translator is usually commissioned externally as a freelancer to produce this. On the other hand, it is again common here that the dubbing writer is also responsible for the voice recordings as dubbing director, or at least has extensive experience in this field of activity.


The planning of the synchronization process is the responsibility of the production manager. Using the numbered takes, he determines the scope of each individual speaker in so-called “excerpts” and schedules the timing of the voice recordings, which are therefore usually not recorded chronologically. In order to be able to make this particularly economical, the individual roles are recorded separately in many cinema films these days, which is referred to as X-en in the industry . Only on so-called crowd days are many speakers, mostly also inexperienced, dispatched at the same time when background noise is required by many people (crowd / people) .

The line manager and the director usually determine the cast of the dubbing actors together, sometimes a test meeting is held in order to be able to make several suggestions to the customers. During the voice recordings, the unit manager checks the ongoing work and compliance with the schedule.

Voice recordings

The dialogue director is responsible for the quality of the dubbed version. In advance, he prepares the dubbing actors for their respective roles, who, in contrast to film work, do not yet know the text and, due to increased protective measures against black copies, are usually not familiar with the film (see interview with Nana Spier on the work on “Drei Engel for Charlie ”). During the recordings, the individual dialogue sequences are spoken directly take by take by the voice actor, so he only has to quickly memorize the text sentence by sentence.

In the soundproofed recording room, the dubbing actor looks at the original film excerpt to be spoken and then speaks the text according to the dialogue book into a microphone until the recording is as lip-synchronized and noiseless as possible (= clean). The sound engineer , who works alongside the dubbing director in the control box, is responsible for the second guarantee .

Sound mixing

The final step in synchronization is the sound mixing. The German voice band is merged with the IT band ( international track ), which contains all the sounds and music from the original film with the exception of the dialogues. In the case of new dubbing or first dubbing of older films, such a tape is usually of poor quality or does not exist at all, then all atmospheres and noises ( Foleys ) have to be reproduced. Today's digital recording systems offer the possibility of creating extensive sound archives, which can be accessed easily, so that subsequent sound recordings are increasingly no longer necessary.


One advantage of synchronization is that voice actors can be selected with voices that better match the type of actor, the role and / or the listening habits of the audience in the target language than the actor's original voice. In such cases, the dubbing voice deviates considerably from the original.


Various foreign actors had / have a German standard voice, for example Georg Thomalla for Jack Lemmon and Peter Sellers , Siegmar Schneider for James Stewart , Margot Leonard for Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot , Arnold Marquis for John Wayne , Friedrich Schütter for Lorne Greene ( Bonanza ), Gert Günther Hoffmann for Sean Connery , Paul Newman , Rock Hudson , Lex Barker and William Shatner , Thomas Danneberg for Sylvester Stallone , Arnold Schwarzenegger , Dan Aykroyd and John Cleese , Christian Brückner for Robert De Niro or Manfred Lehmann for Bruce Willis and Gérard Depardieu .

The aim is to always cast the same voice actors in order to ensure recognition value in German cinema as well.

Failure to cast the standard voice

The reasons for not casting the standard voice can be very different:

  • If a speaker is currently prevented by an ongoing project, the film production company rates the replacement of a standard voice less than the loss of interest caused by the delayed film start (longer amortization period for production costs). This factor primarily affects expensive large-scale productions with globally synchronized start dates.
  • The filmmakers (director, producer, original actor, etc.) decide against the standard voice for artistic reasons. This was the case, among other things, with the dubbing of Pirates of the Caribbean , when it was decided that Johnny Depp would not be dubbed by David Nathan , as usual , but by Marcus Off , in order to come closer to the "tune" diction of the original.
  • The film features two actors whose dubbing voices are from the same voice in other films. Examples are: The Watcher with James Spader and Keanu Reeves (standard dubbing voices: Benjamin Völz ), Mission to Mars with Tim Robbins and Gary Sinise (standard dubbing voices: Tobias Meister ) or Public Enemies with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale (standard dubbing voices : David Nathan ). The standard voice was retained for the first named person in the film, the other actor received a replacement voice.
  • The voice actor demands a fee for the synchronization that the production company or the dubbing studio do not want to pay. An example of this is the movie The X-Files - Beyond Truth . Here, the voice actors demanded Benjamin Völz too high a salary, so here David Duchovny of John Berenz is spoken.
  • The voice actor has died. For example, there has been no fixed voice for the synchronization of Sean Connery since the death of Gert Günther Hoffmann.
  • The actor starred in a sequel, in the original of which he was not spoken by his standard speaker.

Double use of the dubbing voice

In rare cases it can happen that two actors have the same speaker within a film or a series. Usually this happens because one or both actors are very well known and you don't want to unsettle the audience with another voice. As a rule, the voice actor tries to make this easier to distinguish by using different accents or different pitches. This has happened with the two films The Expendables 2 and The Expendables 3 , because the two actors Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have usually been spoken by Thomas Danneberg for years . In addition, the two actors were previously seen together in Escape Plan . For Escape Plan, however, Arnold Schwarzenegger was voiced by Ralph Schicha . This was discussed by some moviegoers in Internet forums and sometimes viewed negatively. The spokesman Thomas Danneberg also expressed himself negatively in a radio interview.

This is also the case in the series Mike & Molly and The Big Bang Theory . In Mike & Molly, for example, the spokeswoman Kerstin Sanders-Dornseif synchronizes the actress Rondi Reed , who is part of the regular cast . Kerstin Sanders-Dornseif has also been the regular spokeswoman for actress Susan Sarandon for years . Since Susan Sarandon has a few guest appearances on the series, she has been dubbed with the same voice actress.

The voice of Sonja Spuhl was also used again for the actress Kaley Cuoco in The Big Bang Theory , as it was already synchronized with it in Meine wilden Töchter . The same voice was used for Summer Glau on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles . When Summer Glau made a guest appearance as herself in The Big Bang Theory - with reference to her role in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - the same dubbing voice can therefore be heard in this episode with both actresses.

Dubbing of productions that are not in a foreign language

Post-dubbing is mostly necessary for films that are not in a foreign language if the original sound cannot be used for technical reasons. When shooting outdoors, there is often a lot of traffic noise on the recording, which can be very annoying not only with historical films. Occasional noises such as a strong creaking of the floorboard can also make individual sentences incomprehensible. Occasionally, a director insists on partial post-dubbing for artistic reasons, for example in the case of incorrect emphasis or unsuccessful emotional voice posture.

In the sound post-processing, the actors used usually speak their roles themselves. However, it can happen that another actor is used for the dubbing, as was the case with the German actor Raimund Harmstorf during the adaptation of the ZDF four-parter Der Seewolf , when he was replaced as speaker by Kurt E. Ludwig or Uschi Glas , who would not have passed through as an "Indian" with a Bavarian tongue in the Karl May film Winnetou and the Half-Blood Apanatschi (1966) and replaced her voice with Marion Hartmann's has been.

Since Werner Herzog found the voice of Klaus Kinski unsuitable for two joint projects, he had him dub it for Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (1972) by Gerd Martienzen and for Cobra Verde (1987) by Fred Maire .

Translation of foreign language films

First and foremost, synchronization is the lip-synchronous dubbing of a foreign film in a different language by voice actors. In Germany and Austria almost all foreign language films and series are dubbed. Linguistic changes, however, are not always translation errors and are often wanted in order to adapt the content to our culture and our understanding or simply to the lip movement of the actress or the actor.

Interpretation and sources of error

In principle, all aspects that also pose a problem for literary translation apply to film synchronization . These include in particular the so-called double bond , i.e. the conflict between the language used by the original and that of the target group, as well as the subjectivity of the translator. Word games, connotations and cultural contexts such as celebrities who are only known in the film's country of origin are added and are tightened by the temporal and rhythmic corset. The synchronization therefore always represents an interpretation .

In addition, a revision, whether dubbing or subtitling, always means a new possible source of error; careless mistakes or translation errors can creep in; for example the typical “ false friends ” like “ silicon ” instead of correctly “ silicon ” for the English silicon or the term “geniality” is translated as “geniality” instead of correctly translated as “friendliness”. Specific English names for terms or objects are often incorrectly synchronized, for example a chemical element "sodium" is created that does not exist in German instead of using the correct translation " sodium ". If the synchronizations are performed without an original script and the acoustics are used as a reference, this can lead to misunderstandings and ambiguities. For example, instead of suns “suns”, sons “sons”. Furthermore, in some dubbed versions there are significant qualitative deficiencies that not only distort the meaning, but also seem ridiculous to some viewers.

Furthermore, the synchronization can Anglicisms promote, for example, when words English words such as lunch ( lunch ) or dinner ( dinner ) is not translated into German, but simply maintained. In addition, wrong friends occasionally lead to wrong translations. In many cases, untranslatable ambiguities and linguistic subtleties from the original language are lost in the course of the translation. Inaccuracies and errors are more or less to be found in every dubbed film. Concrete examples are:

  • Blade Runner : "Make me a hard copy of this". The English hard copy means paper printout .
  • Hunt for Red October : The captain performs a daring maneuver that could cause the submarine to tilt or a collision. To prepare the team for this, he gives the order: “Sound collision!” The German translation here would be “Warning signal for collision!” In fact, the translation was: “Anticipate noise!”, Which seems illogical.
  • At Austin Powers there is a short dialogue which in the original is “Sex?” - “Yes, please!” . This is playing with the ambiguity of the word sex in the English language, which can mean both sex and intercourse . The person asked interprets the question of gender as an invitation to have sex and would like to comply with it. In the German version, the dialogue reads “Gender?” - “Yes, please!”, Whereby the pun with the ambiguity in English is lost, also because of the time restrictions that have to be observed when synchronizing.

Some examples of translation problems are also found in the film One, two, three of Billy Wilder . The film is about a manager and employee of the Coca-Cola branch in what was then West Berlin and plays with the differences between German and English in some dialogues. Due to the German synchronization, however, there are some inconsistencies:

  • After the daughter of the Coca-Cola boss McNamara became pregnant, the German doctor can't think of the English word pregnant in the original (“Schwanger… you know… such a stupid I am!”). In the German translation, it was difficult to show that a doctor does not know what "pregnant" means. So they made do with the fact that he is embarrassed about the situation and that he tries to help himself with paraphrases ("In expectation ... you know ... oh God, how uncomfortable!"). McNamara's little daughter then says in the German dubbing literally translated from the English original: “Scarlett will get young!” (“Scarlett's going to have puppies!”). Now Mrs. McNamara pronounces the word “pregnant”, the doctor is relieved and sings to the tune of the Valkyries ride when going out instead of “Pregnant is pregnant, pregnant is pregnant!” In the German version “Pregnant is splendid, pregnant is splendid!”, because “pregnant” and “magnificent” sound very similar phonetically.
  • In the English original, Schlemmer greets his former superior from the SS with "Herr Oberleutnant". In the German dubbing it became "Herr Obersturmführer", because the SS did not have the rank of first lieutenant and that was assumed to be known to the German audience, unlike the American audience. Then McNamara says to Schlemmer: “You are back in the SS! 'S'maller' S'alary! " (Literally:" You are back in the SS! Lower salary! ") In the German version, it was resolved with" You are back in the Hitler Youth ! " H onorar J abbreviated ”.
  • Another example is the scene with the contract negotiations between the Soviet commissioners and McNamara, when McNamara demands "royalties" (license fees) in the original version . The resulting play on words is not given in German, which is why the translation is then "princely dividend". In accordance with the original, the commissioner replies in the dubbed version that there has been no nobility in the Soviet Union since the tsar was liquidated.
  • A strange misunderstanding at the appearance of the jeweler remains untranslatable. This announces itself with the exclamation “Jewelry!”. Without having seen him and his goods, McNamara feels insulted as " Schmock ". In the German version, it remains unclear why he reacts so gruffly.

Zeitgeist and censorship

Synchronization and film editing were deliberately used repeatedly in order to falsify, sometimes censor, and adapt the content to the current zeitgeist .

In the first heavily abridged version of the film Casablanca published in German in 1952, the Nazis turned themselves into disdainful crooks . All scenes with Major Strasser and other Nazis have been cut out. Victor László became Victor Larsen, a Norwegian nuclear physicist who discovered the enigmatic delta rays. The sales opportunities on the German market were increased. It was not until 1975 that the restored film was re-released with a new translation and uncut.

In the Hitchcock film Notorious (1946), too, the whole film was translated with alienated meaning and brought to German cinemas under the title White Poison and a Drug Story . Again, so shortly after the war, the German audience did not want to present a film with Nazis. It was not until 1969 that it came on television in Germany with the title Notorious in a correct translation, but still not completely. Various scenes that allude to IG Farben were still missing.

In the film Die Hard with Bruce Willis, in the original English version, the terrorists are a group of Europeans, mostly Germans; In the German dubbing you can only recognize the Italian crook by his accent, since everyone speaks German. This leads mainly to confusion because the terrorists sometimes discuss their plans in front of the assembled hostages. In the original they do it in German, so the hostages don't understand it. That doesn't work in the German dubbed version. It is the same with The Third Man , in which the protagonist does not understand the German-speaking population in destroyed Vienna , but speaks German himself in the synchronization.

Similar problems crop up in many of the films set in World War II , such as the final episode of the Band of Brothers series . Here, after the surrender, a German general gives a final speech to his soldiers in German, which is simultaneously translated into English by an American. In the German dubbed version you understand the original text, which is why the said American only makes highly distorting comments on the speech. The German dubbing in Der Gute Hirte was even more difficult . In the German version of the film, an interpreter gives additional comments during a conversation between a former SS major and a US secret service agent, as if she had already spoken to the major beforehand.

While John Wayne pursues communists as Big Jim McLain in the original for the committee for un-American activities , he chases a marijuana smuggling ring in the German-language dubbed version .

Thanks to the increasing spread of DVD and Blu-ray Discs , lovers of the original version and supporters of dubbing can now be served equally, since most foreign films contain both the original sound as well as the German and other foreign language dubbings and often also offer subtitling for the foreign language sound.

Synchronization worldwide

When it comes to film and television , different habits have developed in the various language regions. Basically, programs for children are synchronized.


  • Synchronization only common for child-related films, otherwise only subtitles are used.
  • Countries with different handling: countries that occasionally fully synchronize films, but mostly use subtitles.
  • Off-Voice: Countries that use either one or more voice actors, with the original sound being heard in the background. However, children's and youth films as well as cartoons are completely synchronized.
  • General dubbing: countries that only use full dubbing, both for films and for TV series.
  • Belgium: Flemish-speaking regions occasionally produce their own dubbed dialect versions for children's films, otherwise only subtitles are used. The French-speaking region of Wallonia uses full synchronization in French, in which films as well as television series are synchronized.
  • Countries with their own official language, which occasionally produce their own dubbed versions, but otherwise use a dubbed version in another language, as these languages ​​are very similar.
  • On the German, Italian, Spanish and French cinema and television markets, the comprehensive synchronization of almost all international productions has established itself. In these countries, films and series with subtitles are only accepted for so-called “art house” films, that is, films with a high artistic standard. However, there are theaters that also Hollywood - blockbusters in OmU show, sockets.

    The handling in the GDR was essentially identical to that in West Germany. The dubbing was carried out by state film studios and also by film schools. For some international films, two different German-language synchronizations are available today, for example for the Olsen Gang film series or for the Hungarian cartoon series Adolar , which gave the opportunity to compare quality.

    Germany , Austria and German-speaking Switzerland largely use a common German-language synchronization. But there are exceptions. In the end, the Disney film Arielle, the Mermaid even appeared twice in Austrian German . When the film was re-released in 1998, there was a special theatrical version in Viennese , in which Ursula, the sea witch was dubbed by Jazz Gitti . This version was never available on VHS cassette or DVD and has nothing to do with the actual Austrian version, which was released on DVD. For films that are shown on television or released as DVD, there are, if only very rarely, their own Austrian dubbed versions, which are mainly limited to children's films or Disney films . There are separate Austrian dubbed versions of various children's and cartoons, such as Shrek 2 - The daring hero returns , Cars or Oben , whereby only some characters were dubbed in Austrian and the remaining characters were taken from the German version. There is a version dubbed entirely in Austrian of A Pig called Babe and its sequel Piggy Babe in the Big City .

    Some films that were dubbed in Austria differ from the German standard dubbed version. This applies in particular to the pronunciation and use of individual different words. In addition, English forms of address such as Mr. and Mrs. are translated as “Herr” and “Frau”, which is mostly not translated in the German standard dubbed version in order to be as authentic and lip-synchronic as possible. On the other hand, words and names pronounced in English are also translated and pronounced “German”: German pronunciation of the letter “R” (suppository-R or rolled-R - no English R) and sometimes first names are also translated. An example of this was that the English first name “Bert” became “Bertl” in the Austrian version.

    Since the ORF also dubbed films in the past, there are other Austrian versions of Eine Probe für den Mörder , Framed , Serpico and Die Dornenvögel as well as TV series such as The Munsters and Rumpole of the Bailey . These synchronized versions date from the 1960s to 1990s.

    For a long time, all films were shown in the original version with German and mostly French subtitles in urban cinemas in German-speaking Switzerland. Since the films are often programmed in several cinemas in a city, the German dubbed version was usually also shown. For some years now, however, there has been an increasing trend towards screenings of exclusively synchronized film versions. Leo Baumgartner from Warner Switzerland sees one reason for this tendency in the younger audience with a migration background . On Swiss television channels , dubbed versions in the language of the respective part of the country are common. Most foreign-language films and series, however, are offered with two-channel sound , with a choice between the original and dubbed versions.

    In most European countries with a small population, dubbing was initially hardly profitable because the national television market or the number of subscribers was too small. The majority of the population in these countries also reject synchronizations. For example, in Scandinavia and the Netherlands, 90 to 95 percent of the population are against dubbing films. Therefore - with the exception of a few children's programs - the original is always broadcast with subtitles. Exceptions to this are Hungary , the Czech Republic and Slovakia , although Slovakia only creates its own dubbed versions from time to time; this applies above all to cartoons, Walt Disney and fantasy films such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings . TV series and standard feature films - if available - are shown in Czech , as Czechs and Slovaks get along well and in most cases it is not worthwhile to have your own dubbed version.

    Here, the synchronization on television has largely prevailed, albeit with more modest means. This also applies to many films. Due to their particularly long tradition, Hungarian dubbing has a very high level and very good quality. Between 1998 and 2006, however, for reasons of cost, many films in the cinema were only shown with subtitles (however, those films were set to Hungarian in later TV broadcasts). Since 2006, however, the films have all been shown synchronized again in the cinema. This is not least due to the advent of digital technology and the associated falling distribution costs for audio copies. Subtitled cinema also met with strong rejection among broad masses of the population, which had previously led to a decrease in the number of visitors.

    In Northern Europe, as well as in the Netherlands , Great Britain , Belgium and Portugal , foreign language productions are generally broadcast with subtitles. Programs for children who can not yet read, however, are usually offered in a synchronized version. Since Belgium is multilingual, films are shown here in French and Dutch . The offer in French is similar to that of the German dubbing, where almost all films and TV series are dubbed. In most cases, Dutch versions are only available for films related to children or young people. There are also some Walt Disney films and Harry Potter films in Flemish , which is also known as Belgian Dutch . These dubbed versions usually only differ in terms of different voice actors and different emphasis, with the text being taken almost word for word from the Dutch version.

    On Bulgarian television, many programs are shown in a Bulgarian dubbed version, but many programs are also broadcast with subtitles for cost reasons. In Greece only children's films and series are dubbed, subtitles are widespread.

    In Turkey , the dialect taught at the state film schools and spoken on television is dubbed frequently and carefully, which is comparable to a standard language , but is not spoken in this pure form by most Turks, which is why such films have a decent, make a slightly higher, but also artificial impression.

    In Russia and Poland, as well as in Latvia and Lithuania , synchronized interpreting is sometimes still placed over the original soundtrack ( voice-over ), which can still be heard in the background. But the trend is sharply decreasing. New films, especially Blu-ray productions, have professional dubbing.

    Eastern bloc before the turning point

    The copyright was in Eastern Bloc handled differently. As a rule, the film exploiters did not acquire master tapes with separate audio tracks from the rights holder, but imported simple cinema copies and adapted them to the national market as cheaply as possible with modest means. A few or even a single voice actor was used, and the soundtrack was broadcast in addition to the original soundtrack, which had been turned down. In between there was no synchronization, but simply translated in the third person with a narrative or commentary. This, the often uninvolved speaking voices and the mixing with the original soundtrack take a lot of getting used to and represent a relic. In the GDR and ČSSR , in contrast to the rest of the Eastern Bloc, complete synchronization was always common. A cheap dubbing, such as with speakers, subtitles and the like, was just as unusual there as in the FRG.

    North America

    In the USA and Canada , dubbed versions are extremely rare because almost all productions are in English and foreign language versions are shown with subtitles. In French-speaking Québec, on the other hand, the television stations broadcast almost all programs in the French dubbed version, some of them are dubbed on site, and some of the soundtracks created in France are taken over.

    Latin America

    Of all Spanish-speaking countries around the world, synchronization is only standard in Spain; In Latin America , the original versions with subtitles are preferred for cinema films (with the exception of children's films). On television, however, films, series and documentaries are often broadcast with Spanish dubbing, in "Neutral Spanish" (mostly with a Mexican accent).

    In Brazil , television productions are generally dubbed due to the high rate of illiteracy.


    Dubbed versions are common in India . Due to the diversity of languages ​​on the Indian subcontinent, national productions are also dubbed because there are many languages ​​in the country that are not understood in other parts of the country (including Hindi , Malayalam , Tamil and Telugu ). In Nepal , Indian productions are always shown in Hindi, and English-language films are always shown with English subtitles for better understanding.

    In Japan and also in the People's Republic of China , international film and television productions are increasingly being dubbed, and own productions are dubbed in English for the international market.

    Even purely Chinese-language films are often provided with Chinese subtitles so that speakers of different dialects can follow the action. This is possible because the individual Chinese dialects all use the same characters. Likewise, Japanese-language television programs are usually subtitled in Japan.

    In Iran, the state TV stations broadcast foreign films exclusively in dubbed versions. However, satellite channels for the Iranian audience broadcast from abroad also sometimes broadcast films with Persian subtitles. Films that are officially banned in Iran in particular usually have no dubbing. In the case of films that were (initially) only shown in the cut version in Iran, there are uncut versions in which the added scenes have been supplemented with subtitles, so that the film switches between dubbing and original. In the legal and illegal DVD market, dubbed versions are preferred, if available. In addition, Iran operates two television stations, "iFilm" and "iFilm English", which broadcast exclusively Arabic and English dubbed versions of Iranian films and series that were created especially for the stations.


    Currently, international productions are not dubbed in most African countries. Exceptions are mainly Egypt and other Arabic-speaking countries (Arabic) and South Africa (English). In countries where French is also spoken (e.g. Algeria, Morocco), some French dubbed versions are broadcast if no Arabic version is available.

    Parodistic resynchronization

    Parodic re-dubbing of films

    In Internet video portals like YouTube delight of amateurs made Neusynchronisationen (also "Fandubs" or "Fundubs" ) made available by successful Hollywood - blockbusters and music videos popular. The most prominent examples of this genre are Pointless in Space , a parody of various episodes of the Star Trek series Spaceship Enterprise - The Next Century and Lord of the Weed , in which the first twenty minutes of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring are re- dubbed and partially edited form. The joke arises above all from the fact that the film offers space for completely new interpretations by cutting away the sound. Certain movements and expressions can be ridiculed in this way, not infrequently because the acting characters describe their activities themselves ("I pretend I am playing the piano", "I run against a wall"). The figures are exaggerated into the grotesque and are commented on with scorn from the off. Often references are made to errors that occurred during the shooting of the film, for example cameras and microphones protruding into the picture or inconsistencies in the plot.

    Parodic resynchronization in music videos

    Literal Music Video, Literal Video Version, or Literal Video Clip is the name commonly used on the Internet for parodies of music videos in which the lyrics have been exchanged for another that describes what happened in the associated video. It is noticeable that mostly videos from the 1980s and 1990s are parodied. Well-known examples of this genre are Take On Me by a-ha , Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler, and You're Beautiful by James Blunt , all of which have received more than four million views on YouTube .

    The Austrian sound designer Mario Wienerroither describes his parodic adaptations of music videos as musicless music videos. He removes the music from the clip, only individual words and vocal parts can be heard. The numerous noises and sounds that are placed in the mouths of the musicians create a new context in which the singers' dance and performance appear strange or involuntarily funny. The format has meanwhile found numerous imitators and established a new genre of re-synchronization.

    Parodistic re-synchronization in satirical TV formats

    The montage and re-synchronization of news images and current TV excerpts was repeatedly used satirically in German-speaking television. For example, in the 1980s at Rudi's Tagesshow with Rudi Carrell or at One Will Win with Hans-Joachim Kulenkampff . The cabaret group maschek has been producing satirical re-dubbing for ORF since 2005, initially for Dorfers Donnerstalk , later for Willkommen Österreich . In her eponymous program on einsfestival, the German network artist Coldmirror also works on television images through satirical re-synchronization.

    See also

    Individual evidence

    1. Jörg Udo Lensing : Sound design, sound assembly, soundtrack composition: about the design of film sound . 2nd Edition. Schiele & Schön, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-7949-0793-9 , p. 142.
    2. ^ DWDL de GmbH: Beginnings of dubbing: Germany, a dubbing nation. Accessed July 31, 2019 .
    3. a b c d e Peter Mühlbauer : Zen synchronization . Telepolis , July 16, 2009.
    4. Program preview for January 15, 2003: Berlin 1927 - Symphony of a Big City . hfbk-hamburg.de
    5. ^ A b Norbert Aping: On the synchro-history in Germany until 1970 . objectif-cinema.com
    6. a b Peter Hoffmann: Synchronization in Germany ( Memento of the original from December 8, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , deutsche-synchronsprecher.de, accessed on July 1, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.deutsche-synchronsprecher.de
    7. ADR . In: Lexicon of Film Terms , accessed on June 27, 2011.
    8. Thomas Bräutigam: Stars and their voices - Lexicon of Dubbing Speakers (2009) pp. 38–39.
    9. Sabine Pahlke: Handbook Synchronization . 2009, pp. 40-42.
    10. Guido Marc Pruys: The rhetoric of film synchronization - How foreign feature films are censored, changed and viewed in Germany . 1997, pp. 85-86.
    11. Sabine Pahlke: Handbook Synchronization . Pp. 42-43.
    12. Sabine Pahlke: Handbook Synchronization . 2009, pp. 43-48.
    13. ^ Thomas groom: Stars and their voices - Lexicon of the voice actors . 2009, p. 39.
    14. Escape Plan . In: synchronized files. Retrieved November 12, 2013 .
    15. Hakan Turan (interview with Thomas Danneberg): Trouble with the dubbing voices of Schwarzenegger and Stallone . In: Antenne Niedersachsen . November 14, 2013, archived from the original on December 3, 2013 ; accessed on January 22, 2014 .
    16. Peter Mühlbauer: Buggy synchronization . Telepolis , September 7, 2000.
    17. The end of the original versions . In: Tages-Anzeiger , November 19, 2012.
    18. The Europeans and their languages . (PDF). Eurobarometer 243. 2006, p. 59.
    19. Hideki Inoue: Dubbed versions of foreign movies becoming the norm. (No longer available online.) In: Asahi Shimbun. February 23, 2012, archived from the original on April 21, 2014 ; accessed on April 20, 2014 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / ajw.asahi.com
    20. Gu Tiejun: film dubbing in China . ( Memento of June 12, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) April 2009, accessed May 1, 2009.
    21. Meet the man behind your favorite musicless music videos . The Daily Dot.
    22. Mario Wienerroither. In: YouTube. Retrieved November 4, 2019 .


    Web links

    Commons : synchronization  - collection of images, videos and audio files