According to the Oxford Dictionary, dubbing is replacing the original speech in a movie or television program with words in another language. In other words, dubbing commonly refers to a post-production process in which the actor’s voices are replaced with different voices from performers speaking another language.

Dubbing first originated when actors had an unsatisfactory signing voice in musicals. This technique developed and expanded across the filmmaking world throughout the years. Dubbing facilitated the screening of movies to mass audiences what-is-voiceover-famous-celebritiesin countries where the viewers language did not match the performers original production. Even though dubbing is primarily referred to as revoicing audiovisual material in different languages, it expanded across industries, like in the music and video games industries. The dubbing technique can also be used to voice-over, which is widely used in these industries.

The technique used in dubbing is a long process that has been refined over the years from a somewhat primitive procedure into a complex and sophisticated process. Some of the mechanics of the process vary depending on the country where the work is being done. One of the most popular procedures is “looping”, a technique that involves running over and over again segments of the film until a satisfactory result is achieved. This means optimal lip movement synchronization and acting dialogue.

Here is an example of these techniques by German dubbing artists, Dietmar Wunder, who performs voices of different actors like Daniel Craig and Adam Sandler: 

However, the art of dubbing is often criticized and has a negative popular opinion mainly associated with being cheap. Voice actors bear many critics towards poor dubbing, mostly by viewers comparing it to the original version. While the voice actors take the blame, many other factors are to blame like inaccurate script translations or, in the case of TV shows, lack of time. This last one is an issue that has been increasing lately with the use of streaming services. Fears over piracy and spoilers have left in precarity and changed the workplace for many voice actors who are now given a small time frame with not much information to dub a TV episode before putting it online. This trend is leading to strict security measures that impede on the voice actor’s job. For example, when dubbing the last season of Game of Thrones in Spanish, in one of the episodes, which are screened a few hours after they are released in the USA, viewers could quickly tell the lack of preparation. Press here to read El Pais’s article addressing it. 

Ever since the appearance of streaming platforms the whole dubbing industry is changing.


Even though people say they prefer the original, Netflix researches show that dubbed versions of hit shows are more popular than the original versions. This is the main reason why dubbing business is experiencing a worldwide growth lead by Netflix, which now dubs into 31 different languages. Netflix is investing strongly in this booming business that in some countries it has even created a new category of celebrity, the dubbing star.

SAG-AFTRA, the American labor union that represents film and television actors, journalists, radio personalities, recording artists, singers, voice actors, etc., has reached an agreement with Netflix that provides improvements in pay rates and working conditions for artists involved in dubbing foreign-language shows into English. The three-year agreement was signed in July 2019 and since Netflix is not a member of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which is in charge of negotiating on behalf of the production companies and major studios, supposes Netflix’s first overall deal between the actors union and the platform.


.Lee, Wendy. “Netflix and SAG-AFTRA Sign Contract That Includes Dubbing Work.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 20 July 2019,

.Roxborough, Scott. “Netflix’s Global Reach Sparks Dubbing Revolution: ‘The Public Demands It.’” The Hollywood Reporter, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Aug. 2019,

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