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German TV Dubbing Failures

Synchronisationsfehler im deutschen Fernsehsendern

Click Fuer Deutsch - Click For German

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Other Texts by Julian Stacey

German TV companies are horribly incompetent dubbing from English to clunky verbose (*) German !

Problems: Dubbing is

  • Worse as most German documentaries broadcast are not native German but dubbed from English / American etc.
  • Worse as German dubbers sometimes gabble fast to keep up.
    (*) as German is inefficient compared to English. (I measured that first hand In 1985 & 6, integrating Siemens Sinix to 7 European languages).
  • Crass when Japanese, Dutch, American, British, even German experts carefully speak in English, then ruined, over-dubbed back roughly to German, when there's space later.
  • Worse when German TV get translations as well as name pronunciations wrong.
  • Worse when German TV usually reduces volume, but does not cut the English, flattering German audiences they got English original, when they did Not, as English was unusable, & German clarity degraded, so even harder for non German listeners .
    Fraunhofer Institute made the same mistakes on their audio podcasts, producing foul mixes I abandoned, BBC TV news on occasion have done the same idiocy, talking over the top of a French or German person, broadcasting a nasty mess.
  • Worse when German TV documentaries usually dub to German exactly when English is spoken, too stupid to delay a second or 2, when video pans to silent views.
  • (Weird when German TV don't dub some rural heavy Bavarian (least understandable German dialect) but do dub some mild Swiss German (Swiss German is on average even less ineligible than even Bavarian but not always, eg some mild Schwitzer Deutsch I've understood, & heavy Bavarian I don't )).
  • Worse if a German viewer in same room has the volume too low & one has to stop eating to hear better, more annoying if it is eg a BBC David Attenborough documentary that would have been easily heard at same volume in slower original, if not badly dubbed.
  • Worse if a viewer [bilingual or not] in room comments in low volume in delayed German, especially if original speaker is continuing in very quiet English, drowned by German gabbled dubbing, the combined mess a total obfuscation of message.
    (When live comparing TomTom & Garmin GPS on road, I set one in German, one in English, 1 male, & 1 female; they also happened to actuate on location a bit out of synch, so announcements didn't overlap so much; good for seperation of info; I also still set 2 x TomTom to different voices to separate)
  • Even Arte TV, a French/ German co-production don't get dubbing right, they long suppressed availability of French on German terrestrial, choice was only available till recently on satellite, even now selecting French, some linkage falls to German.
  • There's virtually nothing comes out of the hundreds of channels of cable TV in Munich, except a barrage in German, though much was filmed in English, its usually incompetently dubbed into German.


  • Much dubbing is contracted to just a few German companies, German broadcasters could tell dubbing companies to improve their mess, or not buy their badly dubbed mess.
  • It's not necessary to accept a badly dubbed German mess.
    • Even in the early 1980s in Britain, one could watch French & occasionally other films late at night from national broadcasters, that were Not dubbed (& Not porn either ;-), just sub-titled in English, (& one could tape card over that area of the TV screen - don't even need to tape over now modern TVs support sub-titles On & Off).
    • The Dutch do much better than Germans in not messing up loads of films by poor dubbing, apparently.
    • A couple of German channels are starting to transmit both German + original eg often, mostly, but not necessarily English audio on a spare carrier
    • Sick of badly dubbed programmes, I avoid those produced in English, sold to Germans, & prefer programmes originally produced in German, that German dubbers can't foul up!
    • English language media producers could sell more & better product at higher price for better quality, if they contracted better dubbers than German broadcasters buy from. Workers dubbing would still need to be mother tongue Germans, but employed to produce higher standards of output. ie avoid dual language noise, pronounce names the same as natives.
    • When I move away from my obstructing wall, I will re-install a satellite dish.
      It used to be nice viewing news etc in various languages, different countries focus on different news areas, no dubbers messing it up.
    • Before a satellite is possible, at least a TV proxy from UK will help, though it won't deliver French etc too.
  • It's not that I want British TV particularly, (though loosing British American Australian etc accents in German dubbing loses part of the plot at times), Even if was living in Britain, I would like some German etc TV too), & even just visiting UK in 2022, I tried to view German TV (& was Geo / IP blocked) - Sigh ! Which illustrates this is not aversion to German TV ... Just:
  • Aversion to non German programmes that incompetents then dub badly to German.

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