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|Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:50 pm Post subject: Spain mulls ending dubbed TV actors to boost English
|Spain mulls end of dubbed actors on TV to boost nation's English language skills
By James Badcock, The Telegraph | 6 December 2015
Spain is planning to ban dubbing on foreign television programmes in an effort to boost the nation's English proficiency. Spaniards lag far behind their Scandinavian, German and Dutch cousins when it comes to speaking English, but they could soon be shooting up the EU English league tables with the new proposal.
Virtually all foreign films or series shown by Spanish channels are dubbed by local actors, which has hindered language skills. The conservative Popular Party (PP) led by Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy wants to boost children’s knowledge of English, along with other proposed measures such as an increase in the number of native-speaker conversation teachers in school classrooms. Mr Rajoy himself famously struggles with the language, finding it hard to talk in English during foreign visits.
Dubbing has a long tradition in Spanish entertainment, playing a role in effective censorship of foreign films during Francisco Franco’s dictatorial regime, between 1939 and 1975. During that time, even films that were passed by state censors often suffered changes to their script and message through the dubbing. For example, Spanish cinemagoers in the 1950s were served up an off-key relationship in John Ford’s Mogambo, in which Grace Kelly’s character is not depicted as a married woman dallying with Clark Gable, but rather the pair are portrayed as brother and sister. Even Casablanca was tinkered with by Franco’s dubbing censors, expunging all references of Rick’s past as a republican fighting fascism in Spain.
The Portuguese dictator Salazar took a different approach, banning dubbing altogether in 1948, nominally as a way of protecting the domestic film industry. Although some children’s films are dubbed in today’s Portugal, the general preference is for subtitles, and many people believe that this is the chief explanation for the good level of spoken English in the country.
Hollywood stars have also been known to not be the biggest fans of their foreign dubbers. "I heard my Spanish self for the first time and it is so high pitched and different from my own voice," Jennifer Lawrence recently told US chat show host Conan O'Brien.
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