Dubtitle

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A fan term for a work, usually but not always Anime, which is available in its original language with subtitles, but where the subtitles are a direct transcription of the dub. The subtitles may not be timed correctly for the original language track; they may also have changes that are normally only present in dubs, such as Lull Destruction (subtitles during silence are one of the big signs of a dubtitle), and dialogue rewritten for the dub to match the lip flaps. Dubs and dubtitle tracks may often be less literal than subtitles even when that's not a necessity.

Sometimes dubtitles happen when there's no subtitle track at all except for the hard of hearing subtitles. In this case not only do the subtitles go with the dub, but they may also include transcriptions of sound effects that would never be used when subtitle tracks are meant as translations. Some Disney and Funimation anime releases will have both subtitles and a dub transcript with sound effects as separate tracks, like Gunslinger Girl.

This is common in video games, such as Dead or Alive, .hack, and all of the more recent games released by Nippon Ichi Software or Atlus, but it's only recently that video games have included original language tracks at all, and even if a game does include two translations of the audio, text-heavy video games generally would have no reason to include two translations of the text as well.

All examples are from the USA unless otherwise indicated.

Examples of Dubtitle include:


Anime

  • The uncut Yu-Gi-Oh! and Shaman King releases were notorious for this. Shaman King was a partial dubtitle, using the dub script with Japanese names inserted.
  • Quite a few Hentai.
  • Pilot Candidate.
  • This used to be common in the UK due to mandatory ratings and the requirement that a non-identical subtitle track be rated separately:
  • The Disney version of Kiki's Delivery Service has a dubtitle track based on the old Streamline dub, because the Japanese sent over a transcript of the Streamline track as a "translation".
    • The Cat Returns also has subtitles which are a transcript of the dub.
  • Moldiver, though some episodes of the old laserdisc version did have true subtitles.
  • The Ghost Sweeper Mikami movie used an early version dub script.
  • So did Zeta Gundam.
    • A subsequent re-release fixed this, though.
  • Blood+ for the first half. Supposedly this is fixed for the second half.
  • Cyborg 009 TV series.
  • Airmaster: The first two disks also had the version where transcriptions of sound effects were included.
  • Wrath Of The Ninja (but the later Yotoden release, which had separate OAVs as well as the movie, is okay).
  • La Blue Girl may be a dubtitle based on an older script; this isn't confirmed.
  • Tekken the Motion Picture
  • Tenchi Muyo! TV series (Tenchi Universe), though the amount of pure dubtitling varied from episode to episode. The OVAs also suffered from this practice in some of the earlier laser disc releases, but it was not consistent.
  • Virus
  • Appleseed Ex Machina
  • Angel Sanctuary (curiously, the subtitle timing doesn't line up with the English audio, even though almost all of the words do)
  • Tactics
  • Interlude
  • Just about everything released by the short-lived company Illumitoon, including Bobobo and Beet The Vandal Buster. Some of these had sound effect transcriptions as well.
  • Some fans assume that certain releases are dubtitled; however, these assumptions are generally based on pirated DVD-rips that only include dubtitles where the original DVD had separate, proper subtitle tracks as well. This has happened with Blue Gender, Fruits Basket, and Spiral, among others.
    • Or worse, they propagate a myth that all official releases are dubtitled, as justification for viewing anime by alternate methods.
  • Saikano, at least the OVA, was partially dubtitled. Sometimes the subtitles differed considerably from the dub, but at other times they matched the dub perfectly. Especially noticeable in some sections where the dub dialogue was a radical departure from the original Japanese.
  • Gundam Wing (the TV series, as well as both versions of Endless Waltz).
  • Dubtitles were used in the final episode of Angel Cop in order to downplay/erase the twist that the US was taken over by a Zionist conspiracy who wanted to take over Japan and turn it into a nuclear waste dump, since it wouldn't fly at all in the Western part of the world.
  • The UK Anime Legends box set of Gurren Lagann has TWO dubtitle tracks (English and French) leading to major differences between what the subtitles say and what is actually being said on the Japanese audio track, and because of the timing differences between the foreign and the original audio tracks, subtitles appear approximately 5 seconds before anything is actually said and disappear mid sentence when using the original audio track.

Film

  • The Mamoru Oshii film Avalon (film)
  • Heart Of The Dragon (FOX version, unconfirmed)
  • Godzilla versus Megaguirus.
    • Godzilla, Mothra, And King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. The Hong Kong version has actual subtitles (better than the Western ones, for once.)
    • Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 2.
    • Godzilla Tokyo SOS. Sony fails when it comes to Godzilla Dvds.
    • Battle in Outer Space, also a Toho special effects movie from Sony (though not featuring Godzilla). Oddly, this is released with two other genre movies which are not dubtitled.
  • The Winstar and Dragon Dynasty releases of Hard Boiled. Reports vary whether the Criterion edition has real subtitles, but generally the consensus is no.
  • Legend of Drunken Master (Drunken Master II), unconfirmed.
  • The City of Lost Children. Notable in that a couple lines are even Mondegreens of the English dub by the subtitling company. The French subtitles—y'know, the original language?-- were back-translated from the English dub.
  • Fist of Legend is partly dubtitled in the US Dragon Dynasty release (particularly during the ending). Some other versions didn't even have original language audio at all.
  • District B13

Video Games

  • Valkyria Chronicles didn't always pay attention to how the dubtitling could affect the Japanese track, leading to some Narms when the script and the Japanese audio really didn't match. Notably, a scene in which Welkin, in the Japanese audio says only "Faldio," the English script underneath reads "I don't know what to tell you, Faldio."
    • In one of the last cutscenes, Alicia says "Welkin..." in the Japanese audio. What did the dubtitles say? "Thank you..." although she didn't thank Welkin anytime before or after that line in the Japanese audio.
  • Both of the Sonic Adventure games for the Dreamcast used dubtitles when the dialogue is set in Japanese with English subtitle, as many of the lines were rewritten for the English version. Notably, Dr. Eggman never addresses himself as "Dr. Robotnik" as in the Japanese script.
  • In the Street Fighter series, the characters of M. Bison, Balrog, and Vega had their names switched for the overseas versions of the games. This became a bit too obvious in Street Fighter IV, which gives players an option between a Japanese or an English voice track. The subtitles are based on the English dub, which means that they use the overseas names of the characters, even if the voice acting is set to Japanese (i.e. the subtitles will display "Lord Bison" when a character is actually saying "Vega-sama").
  • Honestly, that applies to every single game with dual audio option, ever. The number of paragraph-long lines in Disgaea that are single words in the Japanese audio, for example, is truly staggering.

Western Animation

  • The Adventures of Tintin, the box set of the '90s TV series has this for the English subs on the French.
  • The DVD of Asterix Conquers America contains the English and French versions, but the subtitles are for the English version.