Why do translated subtitles never match the dubbed audio?
The answer is because the subtitles and the dub are both translated from the same source (not from eachother), usually by different people.
These translations end up being different as phrases can be translated in different ways, and different translators will speak differently.
If you want the subtitles to match, you need to look for "closed caption (CC)" subtitles (this is what they are called in English, in French they are called "OSD". Most native content has matching subtitles, but its much rarer with dubbed content unfortunately.
I've also noticed this and it is extremely annoying. If you are hard of hearing or a language learner it is very important that the subtitles exactly match what is being said. It completely throws me off and I find it totally unacceptable. I will refuse to watch shows that have this issue because it is so unbearable.
Not the only one to hate this and be baffled by this. I hope somebody has an answer
I've wondered this too. It seems like it's translated twice and it would be extra work and expense to do that. I don't know the answer, here's a couple guesses
A) Maybe it's just to make it easier and quicker to read. Subtitles often seem (to me anyways) to be shorter and simpler than what's actually said.
B) Market conditions. Subtitling is going to be much cheaper than dubbing, so maybe the subtitles are just basic translations of the original subtitles and then it's determined later that a dubbing makes financial sense so a better translation is produced for the dubbing.
C) Maybe, the subtitles are done before the dubbing and the dubbing team while saying their lines improvises and makes the speech more natural.
None of those reasons seems all that good to me, but it's for sure an interesting question. Can anyone think of other reasons?
The trick is to just view the subtitles as giving you the meaning. Knowing the meaning often helps you figure out what was said. But yeah, it would much nicer to accurate subtitles.
"There is a widespread lack of appreciation in the industry for just how challenging the work of a subtitler can be, insiders say. Workers in the field are generally required to limit the length of their subtitles to approximately half the number of letters or characters that are available for an audio dubbing script, but they also are expected to retain the full meaning of dialogue while making it so easily readable that it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the onscreen action. The task is difficult enough when the meaning is straightforward — but when translating across cultures, it seldom is."
So it seems ease of reading and screen space are the biggest reasons.