I am learning Spanish and just finished watching Seasons 1 and 2 of Netflix's Daredevil with Spanish audio and Spanish subtitles. I was struck by how frequently the audio and subtitles diverged - and not just because the audio used longer words and subtitles needed to be shortened or anything. Examples of this would the subtitles reading Lo siento when the audio says Lo lamento or subtitles translating you as Usted while the audio translated it as . I am fairly confident that the audio was translated from English separately from the subtitles being translated from English.

Why would they do this? It seems cost ineffective to translate twice. Do other TV shows or movies do this?

  • 2
    This is addressed at length in my previous answer to a question about whether subs or dubs are better. movies.stackexchange.com/a/41514/16420
    – Catija
    Sep 12, 2016 at 22:43
  • 1
    @catija That's an excellent answer and very informative. I didn't come across that question in my search. So to specifically answer my question, they translate twice so the dubs are lip locked and the subs are more accurate? Sep 12, 2016 at 23:19
  • Pretty much. Different people do the translations. It's confusing because what we see most often in the US is closed captioning of an English language show in English, which generally attempts to duplicate the audio word-for-word.
    – Catija
    Sep 12, 2016 at 23:23
  • Not to mention the difference in Spanish regional dialects. Castellano from Spain vs Mexican Spanish or any other. Differences in using tu vs usted/voz, etc. It's complicated.
    – cde
    Sep 13, 2016 at 2:19
  • How is this remotely asking the same question as the linked "duplicate"? It doesn't even seem to be a specific version of the other more general question. It's just an altogether different and orthogonal question, unless I'm missing something significant.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 18, 2018 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


Dubbing something and creating subtitles are two different jobs.

When you write subtitles, you need to stay the closest of the original text you also need to be brief in order to keep the attention of the viewer of what it happen and not just read.

When you make a dubbing you need to create an illusion that it's the dubber who speak. So need lip sync, make people understand context with country refferences, etc. so the job is not the same and you need to make some change.

For Instance

in V for Vendetta the character of V speak poetically so you can just translate to be the closest and it will not disturbe the character for subtitle.

Now if you dub him, you need to create the same melody of his voice, with poetry and so on, so you will not have the sme resut as the subtitle.


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