Some notes about the origin of dubbing in Spain

Dubbing is a post-production process used in filmmaking and video production, in which dialogue occurs subsequent to the original recording stage.

The term refers to the substitution of the voices of the actors shown on the screen by another performers speaking a different language.

This definition is nearly applicable to what we understand as the prehistory of dubbing.

Its origins are linked to the figure of the rather unknown explainer.

We can find since the early twentieth century  some news about these people who were characterized by their great ease of speech and loquacity. Their main task was to entertain the public who came to the theaters (paradoxically movies were still silent) and to read the captions of the projections because the vast majority of people were illiterate.

There was already  someone who reading texts and talking, made understandable something which a priori was difficult to decode.

A few years later, in 1932, was set up the first Spanish´s dubbing studio (T.R.E.C.E. in Barcelona) which held that happens to be the first film dubbed in Spain: Rasputín.

But it wasn´t until 1947 when excellence was achieved in this area with the famous movie “Gone With the Wind”, which yielded an excellent result in terms of the credibility of the performances. So it is from this point that the dubbing starts its golden age.

Although it should be noted that not all films after this year had a sublime quality referred to Spanish dubbing, watch (or better not) “The guardian” by William Friedkin or “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick, as examples of comic movies instead of terrifying, its original purpose, by the way.

Special reference deserve Spanish postwar years because from this time (about 1941) was virtually impossible to watch a film in its original version. Many viewers would think that Clark Gable was apolitical, would never use bad language and, of course … his native language would be Castilian.

One of the most popular examples in terms of censorship is found in the movie “Mogambo” in which the censor, in a display of quick wit with changes in the screenplay, transformed a infidelity relationship into a simple fraternal relationship; Clearly, with this clever twist of script an adultery became a clear and obvious incest.

Some typical notes on different scripts made by the censor:

Replace in dubbing the words: shit, ass, goddammit, queer, etc..

-Roll 4. º Replace “to come a little” for can move a little.


It was very common and an everyday task making use of euphemisms to ensure the hygiene of the Castilian vocabulary.