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China Daily Website

Lights, camera, inaction

Updated: 2012-11-29 13:14
By Zhang Yuchen (China Daily)

Even as prospects for China's film-dubbing industry look bleak, experts believe the wider picture has been overlooked.

"Original movies only really prevail in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou," said Shi Chuan a doctoral advisor at the School of Film & TV Arts and Technology at Shanghai University. "However, if you look at second- or third-tier cities, you'll find that most moviegoers prefer dubbed films because of the language barrier."

Meanwhile, many cinema audiences in first-tier cities are unable to appreciate movies in English. "For the younger generation, it's fashionable to watch foreign films in English," said the Beijing-based dubbing producer Liao Lin. "The truth is that there are many cultural and linguistics elements in films that can hardly be understood or perceived in a 90-minute show," she added.

Many moviegoers have told Jiang Jing, marketing manager at Shanghai Dubbing Studio, that they don't fully understand movies in English and have to undertake research when they leave the cinema just to put some details into focus. Even with Chinese subtitles, watching foreign films in English may not actually prove a satisfactory experience.

"That's because film dubbing requires more than just simple script translation. Sometimes, the original scripts may need to be altered to make the emotions and plots more comprehensible to Chinese audiences," Jiang said.