Subtitles matter. He has shown it the recent controversy with Netflix and the labels translated of Rome. And it is affirmed by a study reviewed and published now by the magazine Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, who maintains that watching movies, series and television programs in the original version, instead of dubbing, improves the level of English. "It has a broad positive effect," says the report, entitled TV or not? The impact of subtitles on English skills.
The study is based on the TOEFL, one of the best known exams of the most studied language in the world, and concludes that in countries that usually subtitle films and series, results of 3.4 points are obtained better than the areas where betting by dubbing. The report also defends that the effect of the labels can contribute up to 16.9% to the improvement in the score in the TOEFL, especially for the called listening, the ability to understand English when listening to it.
On average, 58% of the population is said to be able to hold a conversation in English in countries accustomed to the original version, compared to 32% where dubbing reigns, according to the report. The text adds that in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark or the Netherlands, nine out of 10 citizens support the statement: "I prefer to watch foreign programs and films with subtitles instead of dubbed". In France, Spain or Italy, only 30% agree, and in Germany, 20%.
The report also delves into a historical analysis and detects a firm stability in the choice of side by each State: "None of the OECD countries has passed from one model to another since the Second World War." The customs settled among the public, the market already established and the fixed costs already assumed complicate any modification. The reconstruction of the study sustains that the problem of the translation acquired relevance of the hand of the advance of the sonorous cinema and that already in the thirty Paramount Pictures translated "14 films" to European languages.
Among the reasons why each State chose one of the models – the third, the so-called voiceover, provides a single voice that translates to all actors, without interpretation-, the report identifies the size of the country, the importance of its language and the amount of imported films as relevant variables: smaller, less populated nations, with sparse languages worldwide diffusion and lower national film production tend to opt for subtitles. The document also recalls that the presence of dictatorial regimes in Spain, Italy or Germany imposed, at the time, dubbing as a vehicle for preservation of the language, although the study does not find clear evidence that the greater or lesser democracy of the system also explains the preference for subtitles or dubbing.
The document -produced by university professors Augusto Rupérez Micola (now deceased), Ainoa Aparicio Fenoll and Albert Banal-Estañol, collaborators of centers such as the Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, the Luxembourg School of Finance or the City University of London- analyzed data referring to the period between 2008 and 2015 of 135 countries of the world. Their conclusions acknowledge that their final message is "simple" and that it may not provide a "definitive answer". It does offer, in any case, numbers and analysis to a subject that is often the subject of debate. In fact, the document also suggests that states could implement policies that favor subtitles.