Earlier this year Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. The critically-acclaimed Korean-language film also paved the way for more discussion about the translation of foreign language films in the form of debate about subtitles versus dubbing. This in turn led to Hulu — when it became “Parasite’s” streaming home — taking on trolls who complained about the movie, taking a firm stance in the aforementioned debate. That stance would, of course, be Team Subtitles.
“Parasite” distributor Neon has even had fun at the expense of those who don’t want to read subtitles and continues to do so, as evidenced by its highlighting of a recent workaround for the “the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles.”
Australian film, TV, and animation student Oscar Cousins, who goes by the YouTube name OggyOgga, recently posted a video — which you can watch below — chronicling his process of dubbing “Parasite” for his sister. As Cousins explains in the video, after learning his sister was, in his own words, “just too lazy to read” subtitles, what started as a joke became an intense seven-month process.
“It won’t be anyway as good as the original audio,” Cousins says early in the video. “But I wanna at least make it watchable.” Enlisting the help of his family, friends, and “some girl off Fiverr,” Cousins captured just how difficult the process of dubbing is, especially from an amateur’s position.
From voice acting, to editing, to foley, Cousins worked to create a version of “Parasite” his sister would be willing to watch. At least, half a version of “Parasite.” Because of the time consumption he “only” enlisted the voice acting for half of the movie’s 2 hour and 12-minute run time, but his sister did end up getting invested enough to read the other half.
With so many other streaming services pumping up their foreign language output it’s hoped that even something like dubbing “Parasite” will give the subtitle-averse a reason to seek out other non-English features. If anything, it will remind us how the power of language can significantly change a story, even a masterpiece like “Parasite.”