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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Re-dubbing UK TV shows with American Accents (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ColinB
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Since living in the US (coming from the UK), I have been intrigued how some (not all) TV shows from the UK either broadcast or brought out on DVD/video in the US are re-dubbed with American accents.

For example, our son’s “Bob The Builder” videos bought over here have been re-dubbed with American accents, yet the “Kipper The Dog” videos available have the original English accented soundtrack untouched. I’ve also noticed some other UK-produced shows, such as historical documentaries, having had the re-accented treatment.

Does anyone know if this is because:

a) The US networks feel that not all of US audience will understand the UK accents,

b) There is some legal reason that work has to be given to American actors to voice-over a certain proportion of foreign shows,

c) To give the impression that the shows were made by the American network broadcasting them.

I find it strange as, to my knowledge, all US-made shows played in the UK retain the original soundtrack/American accents.
Cheshire Cat
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Hey, half the world speaks, or wants to learn OUR, yes OUR English language, including the one remaining superpower. Who cares about the accent?
ColinB
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Exactly - who does care about the accent? Apparently, the US TV networks do.

I just wondered why go to the trouble and expense of re-dubbing something into the same language, just to change the inflection?
Doug Higley
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Some of the Brit regional accents are a bit thick and folks ears don't slow down enough to listen anyway...
Many times I have to put on the English Subtitles (!) for my wife before I can get her to watch a UK DVD! hahaha.

NO there is no legal reason for film companies to do so...but being a full time Voice Actor I wish there was! Smile I could use the work!

The most famous use of such I'd venture was the USA version of the Australian 'Mad Max' where they dubbed Mel Gibson with a non accented delivery because it was thought no one here would understand him. Yeah right.

If everyone sounded like Patrick Stewart, I reckon there wouldn't be the question.

There is this 'thing' that some segments of American society feel about a 'Foriegn Film'...they don't watch it, period...so the American accents are a bit of a scam to squeeze a few extra $ out of the less uh...erudite?

We didn't dub the Pythons though to our credit!


Doug
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ColinB
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Thanks, Doug - hmmm, interesting. Of course, I remember the days when Mel Gibson would give interviews in an Australian accent...

My wife is American, and she's baffled sometimes why some shows are dubbed, yet some others aren't. There was one "docu-reality" show that had the (perfectly clear, IMO) narration by "plain-speaking" Michael Kitchen redubbed with a smooth, female American voice.
Doug Higley
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"...."docu-reality" show that had the (perfectly clear, IMO) narration by "plain-speaking" Michael Kitchen redubbed with a smooth, female American voice."

Some possibilities...they may have needed a different 'angle' than the original narration provided...or...had to re-write for some other reason...or some nitwit at the network needed work for his babe...or by changing an aspect of the show they may have been able to alter the copyright in their favor...who knows...looking at the crap that gets on the tube the question of "What were they thinking?" goes into thermonuclear overdrive.

Doug
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Reis O'Brien
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Dude, you're talking about kids' shows. They have a hard enough time understanding Grover and simple commands like, "Stay in the basement you little freak!" You expect them to understand some cockney construction worker talking about "dustbins"?
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Steven Steele
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"Wallace and Grommit" wasn't redubbed, which was an excellent children's program. Neither was "Chicken Run". I would imagine (although I have no way of knowing) that programs are redubbed because of somebody with the power decided he wanted it redubbed.

Probably the same mentality that "colorizes" old black and white movies.

Of course, over on PBS, the fact that certain programs are "British" is used to convince the masses over here that the program is more "cultural". I don't buy it, if I want culture, I watch "Keeping Up Appearances".
Coram Deo
Partizan
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This is to do with marketing and education. Bob the Builder [is it the same title in the US?] has a lot of books/toys/cd's/dvd's and so on. The owners need to get over too the target audience so they can shift stock.
Also. If a program is aimed at a very young sector and has educational content, The voices and also accents can have a detractive influence on the child. Thus the dub is made to naturalize the content into the host countries format. In some cases even the way a sentance is stressed can alter the meaning in another country.
As dubbing is an expensive process it is used where needed or afforded.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
Reg Rozee
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Don't forget that with kids' shows, there may be an instructional angle to consider. Many young children have difficulty learning the pronounciation that is accepted and considered "correct" where they live and go to school, even without being confronted by quite different variations. The difference between various shows may be due to how important the producer/distributor feels this factor is to the value of their show.

I remember when I first went to school, I had difficulty overcoming a regional accent I had acquired from my family (some of those old pronounciations still slip out). "Sesame Street" on television really helped me with some of that. I can only imagine how much more difficult it would have been if that show had introduced yet another accent! As it is, when I count things I am still tempted to do it with a bad Transylvanian accent and yell "WAH-HA-HAAA!" at the end... Smile
Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. -Phillip K. Dick



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Ellen Kotzin
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You know what bugs me? When people put subtitles of people speaking in English on TV for english speakers!
Or when they put voices that don't even match at all--such as when I was in France and saw a Tales from the Darkside episode--Harry Anderson's voice sounded like James Earl Jones! HA!

Too funny.

Ellen
JJDrew
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The funniest bad dubbing I ever saw was watching "The Nanny" dubbed into Italian. Fran Drescher has an obnoxious nasal voice. It's her trademark and in that show in particular it was the subject of many jokes. In the Italian version her character is dubbed with a georgous female voice, very smooth and pretty. It was beyond bizarre to hear her say something in that pretty voice, just to have the other character say something along the lines of "Wow, your voice is so awful when you say that, etc."
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