Confusion still reigns as far as differences between subtitling and dubbing are concerned, just as it happens with translation and interpreting.
Subtitles are an indispensable tool for the comprehension of an audiovisual message, while dubbing is the process through which the original voice of a character is replaced by another actor’s voice re-interpreting previously translated dialogue in another language.
Dubbing schools (particularly in Italy, Germany, France and Spain) offer good quality services. In some countries the choice to dub films has always been inextricably linked to their history and culture. Dubbing had a didactic function that is no longer as relevant as it was, making way for the arrival of subtitles – essential for the deaf or hard of hearing and very useful for facilitating foreign language learning for children and adults alike.
Indeed, it is not by chance that in countries where subtitling has been a forced choice for economic reasons (in Eastern Europe to give just one example), the population has an increased familiarity with foreign languages. This familiarity can not be found in countries where dubbing is the norm – indeed this gap is becoming ever more evident in our increasingly globalised world. It is also worth mentioning that subtitles allow us to appreciate the real essence of the film in its original form and above all the virtuosity and skill of the actors: is it right to dub over the talent of Totò, Louis de Funès or Woody Allen?