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us   United States

Why do translated subtitles never match the dubbed audio?

October 04 at 18:43

Whatever the reason is, I've noticed that probably 99% of the shows I watch on Netflix, AppleTV, Disney+ etc. all have Spanish subtitles that don't match the Spanish audio. It's generally pretty close but I'd say that probably 30%-50 of the words are just completely different. What the actors are saying is not what the subtitles are showing.

My issue as a language learner is that when the subtitles don't match the audio, I get confused and can't really understand what is being said. My brain is reading one thing and hearing something different.

Is this because it's being transcribed twice? Once by the person doing the subtitles and again by the voice actors? If that's the case, why can't they just figure out some way to go back and do the subtitles again once the audio is finalized? Why has this issue become like a standard accepted practice by the industry? Surely I'm not the only person bothered by this, and it's pretty much across the board an issue.

I would even prefer a machine translation, similar to how youtube will put subtitles automatically.. it's not always perfect but it's way better than what I'm used to seeing.

Any suggestions on what I can do to fix this or make it better? It's gotten to the point where I'd rather just have the subtitles in a different language from the audio or just not have subtitles at all..

The only times they really match up is when the audio is the native version of the audio for that show or movie.

Also a lot of youtube content does a good job.. like TED talks and certain language learning channels where the creator takes the time to create good subtitles.

Anyways, just wanted to vent. This is a daily issue for me. Wish I could fix it...