Feature Films around the world are the synonyms for entertainment. They are emotive, engaging enthralling, and elusive all at once. Their widespread appeal has cinemagoers hooked on to the 70 mm screens across continents. In order to spread the desired message while retaining its ethnic appeal, and enjoying cultural acceptance, few movies need to be translated for the audience hailing from different linguistic backgrounds.
It’s like savouring a Lindt bar, the market leader in premium-quality chocolates across four continents, has its message displayed in 30 languages, depending on the region of distribution. Similarly, with the feature films while retaining the movies elementary flavours along with its content, originally recorded speech of the actors can be superimposed by the sound-bites re-recorded in the targeted language, termed as dubbing. The second methodology involves, adding subtitles in sync with the flow of speech in the movie at the lower end of the frame.
Think of a British traveler, who wants to meander along the by-lanes of Mumbai, soaking its history while interacting and lodging with the locals. It depends on his personal preference; whether he chooses translation services in Mumbai, or buys a book of Marathi-English translations.
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The debate whether dubbing is better than subtitling, is everlasting and non-conclusive as it is a direct derivative of personal and cultural preferences. People who enjoy original content and flavours of the film, absorb its essence with subtitles, helping the producers in increased viewership and improved consumption in a cost effective manner. Dubbing has a different audience, who want to avoid the pains of reading and viewing simultaneously.
In theatres, the honour of being the most subtitled movie falls on the lap of Fritz Lang’s early talkie crime melodrama set in 1931 Berlin, M. The name itself screeches, thrilling mystery, while the cast and crew justify the nomenclature to the T. The plot revolves around the efforts of police trying to catch an elusive child murderer (Peter Lorre), while other criminals also join in the manhunt. The movie begins with a group of children playing an elimination game in the courtyard of an apartment building using a chant about a murderer of children. The chant itself, is like a hook step in modern dancing, instantly captivates the audience. Once the murderer is combed, he is marked with the letter “M” on his back. He is hunted and produced in a kangaroo court by the Berlin criminal community. His pleads for mercy, as a victim of his own homicidal instincts fall in deaf ears leaving him imprisoned with the underworld. German police scoop him out of their tentacles, helping him to face trail in more fair and respectable circumstances. Some of the prints of the film end with a cautionary note to parents to watch their children hawkishly.
Now considered a classic, Lang reckoned it as his finest work. Whether you are a traveller looking for translation services in Mumbai, or a movie buff with a quench for ethnic audio-visual entertainment, watching M should be on the top of your bucket list.
By: Ms. Priyanka