Effective Entertainment Content Localization Across a Global Media Landscape: To Dub or to Sub?

In this rapidly growing media savvy market, content providers are turning to digital platforms that are dominating social media to promote their short and long-form entertainment products. Whether you are talking about a feature-length film, television series, home entertainment release, or other content video formats, digital assets are becoming the proven leader for ROI in marketing spend.

Digital content placement through social media channels instantly expands your reach to a global audience, making the need for transcreated, localized content more prevalent than ever before. Decisions about which content to use and from what source to help each digital placement are critical to the success of the post, as is the choice of dubbing or subtitling your content.

Pros and Cons of Dubbing Versus Subtitling

If you’ve watched a British sitcom and tried to make sense of the slang and jargon used, you likely understand the importance of localizing marketing content in a way that’s easily understood by general audiences.

The choice between providing dubbed content versus subtitled content will ultimately affect the experience of the finished product and how the consumer engages with it, but also will affect the development timeline for the content, as well as the cost to produce.

Dubbing May Offer High Production Value, But at What Cost?

Dubbing is preferred among general audiences, many who prefer not to read subtitles or feel that they are distracting.

But dubbed content does come with an added cost to production, especially when produced with a professional dubbing facility. When you factor in hiring voiceover talent, the time needed to execute, and the additional production required to dub even a short-form content, costs begin to quickly add up. While these costs can be higher, it is an option worth considering as they may lead to increased engagement and a higher perceived value of content for your audience.

Some may not feel the ROI generated from dubbing is worth the added time and cost implications, and the traditional model of getting talent into a studio, patching in clients to provide immediate feedback, and to have a staff of supervisors on-hand is a tactic of the past.

However, in today’s fast-paced market, where timing is of the essence, content providers are looking more and more for efficient, well-organized agencies who can provide thousands of voice talents all over the world, with out-of-home capabilities, and could provide multiple read options for review, allowing not only for the speed to market, but the elimination of incurring studio time and expenses as well as clients time to attend sessions.

How Subtitling Prioritizes Speed and Efficiency

Compared to dubbing, subtitling translated or transcreated content is inexpensive, easier to produce, with quicker turnaround times. The cost and ease of subtitling are main reasons why many content providers prefer subtitling when possible.

The biggest considerations with subtitling have to do with the viewer’s experience. How does the decision to subtitle impact your brand, and how does subtitling align with the media consumption trends of your target audience? As mentioned before, many audiences may be less willing to engage in content with subtitles, which could affect performance.

Protranslating's subtitling for Marvel's Inhumans TV series
When to Combine Dubbing and Subtitling

In many cases, the decision to dub or subtitle is mutually exclusive. However, there are occasions where it makes sense to do both, e.g., on social media. The way social users view content through these channels—often scrolling through a feed with the volume muted only to unmute when a video catches their eye—creates a rare opportunity for finding value in a combined approach.

If you dub a trailer or movie clip, for example, you might think you’re delivering premium content to your localized audience. There’s just one problem: Many social media users on Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms may have their sound turned off for video content. If they see your trailer but do not hear the dubbed audio, your voice over spending is all for naught. In this case, it can make sense to add subtitles to videos along with the dubbing, giving users the best of both worlds and ensuring that your marketing content is positioned for maximum engagement.

Protranslating Has a Solution for You

Whether your business opts for dubbing or subtitling, Protranslating offers cost-effective, voiceover solutions with over 5,000 talents worldwide in over 80 languages and subtitling services in over 120. Our linguistic professionals are qualified to handle a variety of content and formats, allowing you to quickly execute your global content marketing needs.

Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer to our entertainment clients.

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