Foreign language tv: Subtitles or Dubbed?

About to watch the Scandinavian series Post Mortem on Netflix. Curious what you all choose when presented with this situation. Do you go for subtitles and keep the original language audio? Or do you go for a dubbed version?

My daughter watches English language shows with the subtitles on.

Typically I will prefer to watch a subbed version in the native language. And I do watch a non insignificant number of them. It always seems better. There is more natural emotion conveyed, even if you don’t speak the language you can still hear the acting, and the translations can get wonky trying to match rough sentence length. Text does far less violence to the intended communication.

It’s case by case. A good-quality dub is ideal because I can focus more on the visuals, but a mediocre sub is far less distracting than a mediocre dub. Also, for works that are highly rooted in a particular language/culture rather than it being incidental, I’ll go with the sub.

There are times when the dub is good enough, and the visuals are really important, so I go with the dub. This is sometimes true of anime, where sometimes the dialog isn’t super-amazing anyway, so I want to spend more of my time on the visuals. Some anime really works a hell of a lot better if it’s a sub, though. For example, Haikyuu is fine as a dub, but Steins;Gate is far better subbed.

Subs for lyyyyyfe man. I’m a fast reader with decent eyesight, though, so it’s not a major issue for me, but I realize it can be for others for a variety of reasons.

If you can handle them, I’d always recommend subs for the same reasons as above. Most of the time, the original language performances are, if not generally better, at least more natural to the physical performers. On occasion, you can find yourself missing fine details of backgrounds or quick facial expressions because you’re focusing on the text. This doesn’t tend to bother me.

The worst thing might be that it sometimes breaks the timing of jokes, because you might get a punchline on screen well before it’s delivered in audio. But I’m just as likely to be impatient with slow delivery, so it isn’t a huge problem. There is a skill to splitting your brain to process visual/audio input and text input independently that takes some practice.

Some people find them distracting, but with some practice, you get used to it. I grew up around Chinese TV which virtually always has captions, I think in order to capture different dialects (they have identical written language but different pronunciation), so I’ve been acclimated to them for a long time.

My kids watch all TV in English with captioning/subtitles on because I think they find it easier to process the information with multiple sources of reinforcement rather than the more ephemeral audio only. Also, I suppose it might help them with reading practice. So they’re quite used to it already as well.

I played the Witcher in Polish with English subs.
I switch games with terrible English dubbings that offer other language options occasionally, since.
It’s refreshing, entertaining, and potentially educative!

I started this dubbed and it was actually pretty good. But I like the confusing aspect of the Scandi languages so I ended up switching to sub and kept it that way through the entire series. If I was more tired I don’t think I could have stayed with sub. Netflix seems to do a pretty does a good job with both.

Loved hearing your feedback on this. Glad I went sub :)

I go subtitles but, honestly, subs suck. Dubs are even worse. So the result is that a piece of foreign language entertainment has to be pretty fantastic (and be so damn near immediately) for me to get over that hump unfortunately.

I’ve no doubt I’m missing out on massive amounts of great entertainment for this reason.

Subs. Absolutely subs. They’re great. In fact, I have subs on most of the time, even on English-language shows and movies, because often I’m watching them at the end of a workday or something, and I don’t care if I zonk out on the couch watching a TV show (especially, I’m less apt to do it with movies) so I keep the volume a little low.


I do this too, though the fundamental difference between doing this for a show in English (where it’s nice to have the option to glance down and check that I heard something right or clarify something) and in a foreign language (where my eyes can virtually never leave the bottom part of the screen because I have to read everything that’s said) is pretty significant.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still worlds better than crappy dubs in English.

I’m also someone who uses subtitles for everything; I’m a multi-tasker when watching stiff, so often a game will be played at the same time with its own sound. As for dubbing, I love a high quality dub and can’t stand poor ones, especially where the voices are all monotone.

Always subs here, but I definitely suffer from having dealt with years of infuriatingly bad anime dubs and not being willing to put up with it anymore.

Subs on everything possible for me. My hearing isn’t the greatest though.

I would never voluntarily watch anything dubbed. It’s occasionally not distractingly bad, that’s the best I’ll say for dubbing.

Pretty sure it did a lot to turn me off Shin Godzilla, which I couldn’t find with the original language track. :/

Yeah, years of metal shows kinda wrecked my hearing so subtitles 24/7 are a good alternative to deafening my gf when we watch tv together.

But then you could be deaf together! :P

I’m in the “subtitles all the time” camp.