The History of Dubbing. Dubbing is the process of replacing the dialogue lines of an audiovisual production in its original version with dialogues in another language. Its objective is that the production can be understood by other people. The voice actors must make the dubbing as natural as possible and that it makes sense with what is being seen in the production. The history of dubbing is closely linked to the history of cinema, television and the internet, for this reason it is believed that it is worth initially referring to their origins.
It was in October 1888 that the oldest known film was made, its name “Roundhay Garden Scene”, a short film shot in England. Nevertheless, the birth of cinema is attributed to the Lumiere brothers, who in December 1895 publicly screened “La Sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon”, a 46-second film that projected the departure of workers from a French factory. From there, film companies and films began to emerge in different parts of the world (Paramount Pictures was born in 1912, the first film by Charles Chaplin was released in 1914, Warner Brothers in 1923, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924).
Now, all those films were silent, without any sound. It was not until 1927 that the first sound feature film was projected by synchronizing a record with the projector: “The Jazz Singer”, by Warner Brothers. In that same year, 1927, the first electronic television was born, which began to be manufactured commercially until 1940 in the United States.
Television began to assume a determining role in the entertainment and information of the people, transmitting more and more events, films and news. On November 22, 1963, the assassination of John F. Kennedy is recorded on television. In 1967 the first live satellite broadcast was given, and on July 20, 1969, the landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon was broadcast to the entire world. It should be added that in November 1969 the first interconnected network was created and the first remote connection between computers was born, with a first link between the universities of UCLA and Stanford. This gave way to the development of the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989 to facilitate collaborative work at CERN. The system became so popular that in 1991 it was opened to the external public, who welcomed it thanks to the creation of the Mosaic browser in 1993. Its reception was so rapid that by 1997 there were more than 200,000 websites.
Given the above, it is important to delve into the role of dubbing as an important complement to these media. On May 19, 1929, the first Oscars ceremony took place. All of the nominated films were silent. A special prize was only awarded to “The Jazz Singer”, the work of the newborn sound film, considering that it was a film that had revolutionized the film industry. Although in its beginnings the films did not have dialogues, but effects and soundtrack.
In 1952 the film “Singing in the Rain” marked perhaps the true beginning of sound cinema. Which was good, but it was also a major concern for Hollywood producers, as their exports to non-English speaking countries were in great jeopardy, the public did not accept the insertion of subtitles on the images, and the collections fell. In some parts of Spain a kind of “live dubbing” began to be applied, while the film was being screened, various actors with megaphones in hand synchronized dialogues with the mouths of the actors on screen.
Then the consideration of dubbing arose, which at the beginning had important complications, since the sound techniques were not of good quality and the voice did not adapt well to the image. As sound techniques were perfected, dubbing gained ground. In 1929, the first dubbing in Spanish took place in Hollywood, in the film “Río Rita”. From then on, some details were resolved, not insignificant for the public: the issue of accent, it was important that a film be dubbed in the accent closest to that of the viewing public (the dubbing of “Río Rita” had objections in Spain, since it was made by South Americans, which was not very popular). The other issue was that the big stars kept the same voice in different movies, that is, that they were dubbed by the same people. In this Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer took the initiative, dubbing not only its films, but also those of other studios, guaranteeing a wide cast of actors.
The beginning of dubbing therefore had significant costs, since in the early stages dubbing was recorded directly on a photographic strip on celluloid, which required that all the interpreters had to be present at the same time and that if one made a mistake , they had to start over, with high expenses of time and money. Later, the magnetic tape appeared, independent of celluloid and cheaper, since it could be used several times. And more recently, the digital stage has revolutionized and greatly facilitated the work and the initial costs of dubbing.
Evidently, dubbing opened up an important repertoire of possibilities for the interpreters, who had to have not only the correct and fluent knowledge of the source language and the target language, but also the ability to adapt to the peculiarities of the dubbed character. Dubbing a histrionic actor is not the same as dubbing a peculiar comedian, each one has its own parts.
All this reinforces the growing importance of professional translation, interpretation and dubbing services. Dubbing has also been growing in the entertainment and video game industries, allowing more and more people to appreciate content in their native language. Dubbing in general terms allows the content to be appropriate and to be accepted in the culture of each country in the world, by eliminating these language barriers, industries are allowed to grow and globalize. At LingoCall we provide dubbing services for videos, movies, games and video clips in more than 25 languages, contact us right now and we will gladly make a quote according to the needs of your business.