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The Narrator voice on Television & Films in Poland


osiol  
17 Aug 2007 /  #1
I'm interested in your opinions of how foreign-language films and TV programmes in Poland (nearly) always have a man's voice translating the dialogue. Is there only one narrator in the entire country, or are there many identical-sounding ones?

In the UK, the norm these days is for there to be subtitles (probably - I haven't watched TV for many years, except on a couple of rainy afternoons on holiday in Poland where all the speech I would have understood was obscured by Mr. Narrator).

If you're learning or practicing speaking English, do you find it gets in the way?
Do you like it or do you hate it? Maybe you don't care! (So why are you reading this?)
Do his smooth tones turn you on, even on the dullest of documentaries?
Are you a narrator?

Discuss.
glowa  
17 Aug 2007 /  #2
If you're learning or practicing speaking English, do you find it gets in the way?

it definetely gets in the way

Do you like it or do you hate it? Maybe you don't care! (So why are you reading this?)

used not to care, but then I started watching channels that play movies with subtitles and now I hate it

Do his smooth tones turn you on, even on the dullest of documentaries?

how the hell did you come up with this question?
Wroclaw  
17 Aug 2007 /  #3
Are you a narrator?

I have done a little.
Zgubiony  
17 Aug 2007 /  #4
Ha yeah. it's funny. It's like a monopoly on voiceovers. 1 man no emotion doing everyones voice LOL
OP osiol  
17 Aug 2007 /  #5
Do his smooth tones turn you on, even on the dullest of documentaries?

There is a continuity announcer on BBC Radio 4 called Charlotte Green. She could read the phone book and her soothing voice and perfect pronunciation would calm my troubled mind!

I have done a little.

So there are many. Go on! What have you narrated?
glowa  
17 Aug 2007 /  #6
Charlotte Green

those for movies in Poland are all men, well this is my impression
OP osiol  
17 Aug 2007 /  #7
those for movies in Poland are all men

I want ladies to contribute to this thread too.

I believe it was you, Mr. Glowa, who mentioned a voice synthesizer on the forum recently. I had great fun getting the male and female voices to swear and insult eachother with the lack of emotion you get from computer-synthesized voices. How is swearing dealt with? The narrator always sounds so deadpan.
glowa  
17 Aug 2007 /  #8
I believe it was you, Mr. Glowa, who mentioned a voice synthesizer on the forum recently.

I can't recall doing so, never worked with a voice synthesizer.

Swearing, it's emotionless, aboslutely flat. But you can hear a little of the intonation from the original track, so it works somehow.
Often, though, they go soft on the level of translation and what the narrator reads ain't really what the actor says at this moment
Wroclaw  
17 Aug 2007 /  #9
Go on! What have you narrated?

Polish 'shorts' going to an English speaking audience. I'm also the voice on two tourist DVDs. Most of the stuff is for promotional purposes. I don't do it these days.
OP osiol  
17 Aug 2007 /  #10
they go soft on the level of translation

English: **** you, you ****ing ****ed up mother****ing ****!
Polish: kurde.
wozzy  
18 Aug 2007 /  #11
Thats just about the level of it....turns every film into a comedy, best laugh ever.
Subtitles are better especialy if they can be turned on or off......
isthatu  
19 Aug 2007 /  #12
That blooming dronning man,cripes,thought I was the only one to notice,is he still at it? Ruining perfectly good programes jeez,remember last time I was in Warsaw getting so frustrated,only having a limited Polish vocab myself I found it so frustrating half hearing law and order and half hearing some boring old man in a boring old man voice ............................ Please tell me they didnt do that to Allo Allo when it used to be on Polish TV....

k.
Wroclaw  
19 Aug 2007 /  #13
Please tell me they didnt do that to Allo Allo when it used to be on Polish TV....

They did.
isthatu  
19 Aug 2007 /  #14
Did he do all the voices then? always wondered how all the different silly accents and mangled "french" was translated into Polish...
Wroclaw  
19 Aug 2007 /  #15
mangled "french" was translated into Polish...

This was done in mangled Polish.

It must have worked because the family enjoyed it and I'm sure the series was repeated at least once.
isthatu  
19 Aug 2007 /  #16
"This was done in mangled Polish."
dash it,another job opportunity missed :)
k.
Ryszard  
19 Aug 2007 /  #17
I'm interested in your opinions of how foreign-language films and TV programmes in Poland (nearly) always have a man's voice translating the dialogue.

Not always. Sometimes they use a woman's voice.

Is there only one narrator in the entire country, or are there many identical-sounding ones?

Like I said, they need at least one woman too, so this interesting theory has - unfortunately - failed :)

If you're learning or practicing speaking English, do you find it gets in the way?

Not as much as if they would make the dubbing, you know :)

Do you like it or do you hate it?

Hm. It's not that I love it, but if I have the choice between narrator and dubbing I'd go for narrator. Because Poland has no tradition of doing them so when it is done then the results are (usually) bad. As for narrator you may believe me or not, but when done properly somehow his monotone non-emotional voice is mysteriously mixing in your brain with the original voicetrack, making you feel like listening to the original voices but speaking everything in Polish. In other words - yes, it works.

Of course, when I can choose subtitles I do it, but sometimes, usually if I am very tired and don't want to concentrate on reading too much I prefer narrator too.

Do his smooth tones turn you on

No, they doesn't...

...even on the dullest of documentaries?

...neither in narrated porn :D
OP osiol  
19 Aug 2007 /  #18
failed

Failed not. I said nearly always.

However, I'm glad someone has somewhat come to the narrator's defence. I can understand how it can be better than dubbing. Watching people's lips move out of time to what they are saying can take more credibility away from a production than it is worth.

But another question I do have is: is this a peculiarly Polish phenomenon, or is it more widespread than I had realised?
Ryszard  
20 Aug 2007 /  #19
Failed not. I said nearly always.

I stand corrected then

Watching people's lips move out of time to what they are saying can take more credibility away from a production than it is worth.

That is one problem, but the other is the dubbing is in Poland unpopular. So unpopular that there is no such profession as "voice actor" in Poland. Those who are making some dubs are usually second (or even third) rate, poorly payed and poorly doing the job actors. Some brilliant dubbing examples like Shrek can't change the fact that dubbing in Poland is not being treated seriously (contrary to, for example, Japan where the best voice actors have the status of stars, idols or even showbiz celebrities).

s this a peculiarly Polish phenomenon, or is it more widespread than I had realised?

Good question, it seems it's not widespread concept and quite unique in Europe at least. I know our western neighbours, Germans, are dubbing everything. From what I've heard, whole western Europe don't use narrator - they use subs or dubs. The same goes for our southern slavic brothers, Czechs and Slovaks: dubbing everywhere. But on the other hand I'm pretty sure some shows in Russian tv were narrated (that was few years ago, don't know how is it today). If I'd suspect any other countries that use narrators then it would be the post soviet ones. And the next suspects would be from former eastern block... let's be frank: the narrator was an invention of the poor ones. And in terms of TV/movie industry we were, and still are definitely poor.
Wroclaw  
20 Aug 2007 /  #20
That is one problem, but the other is the dubbing is in Poland unpopular. So unpopular that there is no such profession as "voice actor" in Poland. Those who are making some dubs are usually second (or even third) rate, poorly payed and poorly doing the job actors.

I disagree.
OP osiol  
20 Aug 2007 /  #21
In what way do you disagree?

I did see an animated film when I was in Poland, one of those big Hollywood ones, but I don't know the name. All the dialogue in Polish. When it's animated, dubbing isn't really a problem with regards to credibility. Either there were no English subtitles available on the DVD, or my wonderful hosts thought I didn't need them.

However, watching a couple of American films with Polish subtitles rather than a narrator did help me learn a few words of Polish, so iif you are interested in learning, subtitles are the way forward. I realise that reading subtitles does require slightly more from the viewer, and this may not always be what you want.

But if the narrator is so peculiarly Polish, maybe it is a cultural phenomenon to be proud of! Next time I'm back in Poland, if the TV is on, I for one, would prefer subtitles and maybe I might learn one or two more words.
Wroclaw  
20 Aug 2007 /  #22
I realise that reading subtitles does require slightly more from the viewer, and this may not always be what you want.

This would answer part of it.

The other part. [based on Ryszard's post] I don't think that there is the profession of voice actor anywhere. If you are an actor you may be asked to do advertisements for example. This doesn't make you a third rate actor.

It takes a certain amount of skill to narrate or do over the top dubbing. Firstly, if you don't have the voice, you don't get the work. Secondly, you need to be able to read. Think about news readers, they can't afford to make mistakes. In the recording studio you very often have the director, engineer, narrator and sometimes client. This costs money and there is no time for time wasters. There are many other factors that make this job difficult for the ordinary guy on the street. That's why they don't do it.
blackadder  
20 Aug 2007 /  #23
guys simply hire a hitman and kill that bloody annoying narrator
Krzysztof  
20 Aug 2007 /  #24
during so many years I simply got used to the narrator ("lektor", how we call it in Polish), although some new guys have bad voices (they are too "hearable"), but when I buy DVDs I always choose the ones with Polish subtitles (I got two movies without subtitles, with voice-over only, because I got tired of waiting for a decent DVD release).

And in cinemas we've always had subtitles (except for the cartoons maybe), so Poles were/are used to reading during a movie.
isthatu  
20 Aug 2007 /  #25
"And in cinemas we've always had subtitles (except for the cartoons maybe), so Poles were/are used to reading during a movie."

That reminds me of watching a movie (terminal) in Mokotow and getting a bit embaressed at laughing before everyone else had time to read the joke. :)

k
OP osiol  
20 Aug 2007 /  #26
laughing before everyone else had time to read the joke

You could be at least half way to being a narrator.
Ryszard  
21 Aug 2007 /  #27
I don't think that there is the profession of voice actor anywhere

Like I said before - yes, there is. Certainly in Japan, I remember in Germany there were some actors who specializes in dubbing too and could be called voice actors.

If you are an actor you may be asked to do advertisements for example. This doesn't make you a third rate actor.

No, but where is the point?
If you are known, popular actor, you'll be paid large sum of money for taking part in CMs. If you are some unknown beginner you'll be paid for the same much less. And vice versa - if there is big budget we can hire a big fish, if not then sorry. And the dubbing in Poland is unpopular and poorly paid, so...

It takes a certain amount of skill to narrate or do over the top dubbing. Firstly, if you don't have the voice, you don't get the work. Secondly, you need to be able to read. Think about news readers, they can't afford to make mistakes. In the recording studio you very often have the director, engineer, narrator and sometimes client. This costs money and there is no time for time wasters. There are many other factors that make this job difficult for the ordinary guy on the street.

This is all true, but what if the client is paying poorly and generally doesn't care? Dubbing in Poland is being done almost exlusively for (little) kids' show only. These clients don't have too much to say, neither money to spend.
agnieska  
24 Aug 2007 /  #28
I must agree that the narrator of the movies and TV shows is dreadful, like those dried up fish you see in the market. In Spain, in Brazil, dubbing is an art. In Brazil one actor dubs Bruce Willis. He is in effect, Bruce Willis, he channels Bruce Willis and Brazilians love it! I think I'm gonna start an acting school here in Warsaw dedicated to elevating cinema and TV programming to its full potential. It's sad to see all the dimension, all the accents that reflect class, humor, regional differences, and ethnicity sucked out of the programs.

Someone told me that the reasons are political. Does that sound right?
Bondi  
20 Apr 2008 /  #29
osiol:

Watching people's lips move out of time to what they are saying can take more credibility away from a production than it is worth.

That is one problem, but the other is the dubbing is in Poland unpopular. So unpopular that there is no such profession as "voice actor" in Poland. Those who are making some dubs are usually second (or even third) rate, poorly payed and poorly doing the job actors. Some brilliant dubbing examples like Shrek can't change the fact that dubbing in Poland is not being treated seriously (contrary to, for example, Japan where the best voice actors have the status of stars, idols or even showbiz celebrities).

Is this a peculiarly Polish phenomenon, or is it more widespread than I had realised?

Good question, it seems it's not widespread concept and quite unique in Europe at least. I know our western neighbours, Germans, are dubbing everything. From what I've heard, whole western Europe don't use narrator - they use subs or dubs. The same goes for our southern slavic brothers, Czechs and Slovaks: dubbing everywhere.


The same in Hungary. The only time we had voice-over was in the 80s. It's a thing of the past. When people bought their first VHS-players in Vienna, you could get foreign films' cassettes on the black market with that ridiculous voice-over. One young bloke narrated everything.

In the cinema, there are subtitles these days, but you can't do that on TV. Dubbing is a profession: professional actors do it, and there are dubbing directors. (Lips are not out of sync if the dubbing was done properly!) For famous foreign actors, there is usually one actor to dub them in their films. Sometimes a film is better than in original!

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