Whose Voice is it, Anyway?: A Question of Dubbing

During my time here in Spain, I’ve come to see many aspects of the Spanish culture, or, well, at the very least Galician culture and Spanish TV. However, there is something I’ve always had some issue with that is rife on TV here, so now is a good enough excuse to discuss it. Dubbing. Technically dub localization, as general dubbing occurs in nearly every film, but I digress.

For six months I’ve sat at the same dinner table and seen a fair bit of Spanish TV, be it sports, movies, news programmes, game shows; whatever has just been on, really. One thing that I’ve noticed is the sheer lack of subtitles. Every movie I have seen has been dubbed over, almost every programme dubs voices of foreign athletes, actors, politicians, and whatever/ whomever else. There is occassionally some manner of subtitling, but it seems to be inconsistent at best. Not inconsistent as in inaccurate, but like a programme may subtitle a footballer’s comments one day, and then dub them the next.  Very curious, indeed.

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Give Me A Break, Spanish Advertising

A small impression on TV advertising here in Spain. As far as my experience has ever gone, commericals and forced adverts are all but universally abhorred across all mediums. On TV, online; perhaps excepting only the previews at a movie theatre.

In the US, a half-hour programme is usually only around 20 minutes after advertisements, and an hour-long programme is usually close to 40 minutes in length and 20 minutes of adverts. Spain seems to be about equal on this. With shows and films on TV in the US, scene changes are usually the transition point to an advert, logically enough. Each segment is also usually a sort of  bell-curve, starting slow, ramping up, then winding down to the 60-90 second commercial break, and so on, so forth. It’s annoying, but it makes some relative sense.

In Spain, it’s a slightly different system. You get to see more of any given programme or film at a time. The commerical breaks still exist, but they, too, are longer. About twice as long, at usually 5-7 minutes in length. The effect that this has is that any show that is not Spanish-made (which is many of them) are not edited for such time discrepancies. You’ll see the standard TV “arc” so to speak of rapid exposition, resuming of the action, and a tight summation or cliffhanger before a fade-to-black, scene change, or “coming up on ..!” With Spanish timing, these convenient cuts just stroll past like a polar bear on holiday in Greece, and the show goes on as if the break occurred. Then a few moments later, mid-scene, it will cut to a commerical or a station’s hip and flashy-looking titlecard saying “we’ll be back in ~7~ minutes!” This is about where the remote comes into play, only to change the channel onto another (in)conveniently timed commercial break.

As to the nature of the ads themselves, they’re usually just as innane, banal, and noisy as American counterparts, if not with a hair more sexuality and one or two instances of noticably questionable sexism (more than what’s normally there, of course). What interests me most is that advertisements will occassionally appear mid-show. The anchor of a sports programme, talk show, and even the Spanish equivalent of The Daily Show will be in their signature style of dress and deliver with their normal smarm and eloquence the benefits of their mandatorily pitched product. It’s weird to me, personally.

I also keep thinking I’ve seen this during a news programme, but I’m assured that the news is one programme they don’t run these adverts on. Luckily so, as it would seem to me like a very alarming potential conflict of interest, should one of the corporate sponsors-of-the-week got into some newsworthy trouble. I still don’t like it, personally, as it sort of seems like advertising creeping just a little too far into the programmes themselves. Then I think of professional sports broadcasts and remember it’s like that, anyways.

Really, though, it’s all effectively the same to the US, aside from the length and occassional intrusion upon the shows themselves, more than the American levels of intrusion, which is a thing ridiculous to even consider. Long story short: a necessary(-ish) evil for funding, it still annoys effectively everyone, it just lasts incrementally longer here in Spain. So good day, and enjoy Johnson & Johnson’s No-More-Tears Baby Shampoo.

Fire on the Vltava: New Years in Prague – Part II

After a short repose…

Our evening of protracted fermented indulgence began with myself and a friend, suitably enough, having a couple of drinks. Just a quiet time, to sit and reflect on the day’s happenings, our future plans, and mere cooperative contemplation. In a bar packed with people. People already well on the way to spending their New Years somewhere in the neighborhood of “unconscious.” It was quiet in the sense that there was so much noise that there was effectively no noise at all. Good beer though, and luckily it was not our final destination. That was, and is, a castle dear to me; an old neighbor, really: VyŇ°ehrad. Continue reading

Buzzing in the Clouds: New Years in Prague – Part I

Prague, my first European city, has held a special sway over me since my first visit as a closed-in American who had really never left the confines of New England. At first, I hated it. The language was weird. I was freaked out. However, since then I (luckily) had the presence of mind to reslly reflect on it, and it’s allure was something that began to grow, and has never quite settled. For two years I schemed and tried to plan a way back. With my current job of teaching in Spain, I’ve had that chance. Well, I suppose I’ve had the chance twice, but that’s a story for later. My first return was right after Christmas- I was to see Prague for New Years.

My re-exposure to Prague, late as it was, was a transition far easier than I could have ever imagined, exhausted as I was from my chronically-terrible travel arrangements. In sharp contrast to my first time around, I fully expected the largely alien nature of the Czech language. I almost yearned for it. Like overcoming a fear of heights to become a skydive instructor, I’ve gone from fearing and loathing the non-Latin Czech to loving it’s (entirely relative) oddity.

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Sitting In On A Sleepy Summer’s Eve: Bibio’s Green EP

After a lamentably long absence, I’m hoping to return to some wild semblance of a schedule. A couple posts today, and a bunch in the pipeline. Now, Bibio.

Bibio is the stage name of UK-born electronic artist Steven Wilkinson. I’ve come very late to the Bibio club, only having really heard of him along with his most recent album (as of March 2014), Silver Wilkinson. An album, incidentally, I’m enamoured with. He released a follow-up EP to Silver Wilkinson back in late January, and I’m unfortunately just getting around to it. It’s named The Green EP, which is both fitting for the feel of the mother album, so to speak, and for the track the whole EP was stemmed from: “Dye the Water Green”. Admittedly Bibio’s favouite track from Silver Wilkinson, he paired the song up with five other unheard tracks with a similar feel for a really lovely, well-balanced little EP. Continue reading