Pop Culture – Transcultural: why does that character sound like that?

During the years in Germany I have watched more films and TV that were either made in German or a different language other than English than ever before. I think before then, I had only seen the film “The gods must be crazy” as I was not ever a big foreign films buff.

There are a few factors involved with cross cultural mass media. One issue for mass media is dubbing and translation. So far, what I have found has been that when I see and hear a Hollywood movie with German dubbing on that I never saw in English, the dubbing is weird for me but only because I am not German. Or so I think. However, once I know the original it becomes clear that the dubbed voices are not the ones that seem to really belong to the characters.

There is at least one German voice, sadly his voice is not all that impressive, which gets a lot of work dubbing German for the movies. I am now able to recognize that man’s voice as I have heard it in many Hollywood movies when German dubbing is on. I have no idea what his name is or what he looks like but hope it pays decently and am impressed that he has been able to get a lot of work that way.

When the alternatives are Japanese, Norwegian, or Chinese or Turkish, I tend to enthusiastically select German although I did watch some Norwegian and a couple of years ago I heard Tibetan on YouTube and felt German was only slightly less confusing but did not sound as good to me.

When the alternative is English I will pick that most of the time but choose German enough to help me to continue to improve my German especially as my neighbors need me to speak German if we are to understand one another in daily conversation.

I studied Spanish in school having not foreseen ever needing more than about 10 words of German in my entire life, even though I have been planning and expecting to live to about 85 years +/- 5 years unless bad fortune or bonus good longevity make it otherwise. I did also study some Latin & French and have learned at least one word of 23 languages so far, but now I know more German than Spanish.

Life sometimes does that to people. Sometimes people are allowed to have the plans they make actually work and other times Life or other people or their inner saboteur makes peoples’ lives unlike what they had had in mind for themselves.

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