How is synchronized

How are English films translated into German?

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How are English films translated into German?

Christian from Herne is interested in the synchronization.

Every film has a script. In this script, each actor has the text he has to say in the individual scenes. Very few directors let their actors improvise, that is, they tell a text into the camera that is not fixed and is in the script.

The scenes on a film set are shot, the sound is recorded at the same time. Often the tone or sound has to be reproduced and revised again. For example, if the spatial conditions were not ideal or if the filmmakers are not satisfied with the voices and their sound. Once a film has been shot and edited in the original language and the soundtrack is also ready, the film is ready to be broadcast. Film distributors in other countries buy the rights to the film, including in Germany. In Germany, however, foreign films are almost always dubbed when they are to be shown in German-speaking cinemas.

Synchronization is expensive and time consuming. In order for it to be worthwhile, there must be a correspondingly large audience. Countries that do not have so many native speakers, such as the Danes, the Luxembourgers or the Belgians, show many films in the original with the corresponding subtitles, i.e. the written texts at the bottom of the screen.

If the German version of a film is produced, the script is first translated. The translator not only has to make sure that he catches the nature of the original voices in terms of content and character. The text he suggests must also match the actors' lip movements. It is a very difficult process.

A movie can be a box office hit in America. Then it comes to Germany, gets dubbed and flops. Why? Perhaps because the characters' puns weren't found or the feelings and voices do not meet expectations - because the voices simply contribute a lot to how we imagine a character. This is why famous American actors always get the same voice in the translation. If this voice is appropriate, it can contribute to an actor's growing popularity. It can even become his trademark.

In order to find the respective voices for the individual actors, there is a casting. Then the voice actors learn their text from the translated script and speak the text to the lip movements of their characters as they watch the film scene by scene. Care is taken to ensure that the lip movements in the German translations correspond to the lip movements in English. If the two are not in sync, the illusion is disturbed. Perhaps you have already noticed this, if by chance the soundtrack is not transmitted at exactly the same time as the picture - then it looks very strange and destroys the magic of the film or the feeling of being there live - on TV - for something.

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