DUBBING on foreign films and television programs in Spain could soon be phased out as the government proposes measure to improve the English language proficiency of children across the country.
Foreign television in Spain is typically dubbed rather than subtitled as in many other European countries, with local actors providing Spanish voice-overs. The preference for dubbing is considered a key reason Spain lags behind other countries in English proficiency, especially the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries where even subtitles are not guaranteed.
Spain has a long and rather colourful relationship with dubbing, as it was a critical form of censorship throughout the Franco years. Audio control enabled the authorities to disguise certain political insinuations or ideologies and more effectively adapt characters to reflect a more suitable persona.
The move has been initiated by the conservative Popular Party (PP) as part of a broader package which includes other measures such as an increase in native-English speakers in classrooms.
Some Spanish cinemas have recently begun showing certain films in their native language, using subtitles rather than dubbing, after pressure from a younger generation of Spanish film-goers who are eager to see the original version of their favourite franchises or cult films.