Non-English versions of The Simpsons
The animated TV show The Simpsons is an American English language animated sitcom which has been broadcast in the United States since 1989 on FOX. In other countries, the TV show started broadcasting later than 1989 either in its original version or in a dubbed version.
The Simpsons has been dubbed into the French language twice, once in the Canadian province of Quebec and again in France. The show is titled "Les Simpson" in both regions, following local orthography standards. The French audio on most Region 1 DVDs is the Quebec dub, although very early releases used the European French dub instead. It is one of only a handful of American television shows that have wholly separate versions in Quebec and France, and a number of studies have been made comparing them. In France all the characters speak standard French, with the exception of the ethnic minorities: Apu is given the Indian accent, while Carl, who has no accent in the American version, also speaks affected French. Kirk Van Houten is given a stereotypical Brussels accent, as "Van Houten" is a name which can be assumed to be Belgian. In the Quebec version, only the town élite, such as Principal Skinner and Reverend Lovejoy, speak with a French accent. The Simpson family and most of the townsfolk speak with a strong Quebec accent. In the Quebec version the ethnic minorities also have accents. Noticeably, Carl has the accent of a Black immigrant from Africa or the Caribbean.
Local idioms are occasionally adopted in place of direct translation. American cultural and political jokes are occasionally replaced with local references. For instance, a reference to Newt Gingrich in Quebec is generally replaced with one to Mike Harris. Most of the recurring characters keep their English names in each French version. Two exceptions are Sideshow Bob and Sideshow Mel, who are known as Tahiti Bob and Tahiti Mel in France, as the word sideshow has no direct translation. In Quebec, the title sideshow is kept as an Anglicism. Another exception is made for the Simpsons family's dog, Santa's Little Helper, who is called "Le p'tit renne au nez rouge" (the French name for the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which literally means "Little Red-Nosed Reindeer") in the Quebec version and "Petit Papa Noël" (name of a French Christmas song that literally means "Little Santa Claus") in the French one.
In addition, although the location and setting of the show are not changed in the Quebec dub (still takes place in the United States), many references to the characters watching American TV shows, movies, etc. are changed to references to Québécois ones. For example, a reference to Homer watching CSI: Miami in the original was changed to Fortier, a similar Québécois show. Although these changed references would be familiar to the French-Canadian viewer, in real life these would be awkward because almost all Québécois media is unknown in the USA. This is an example of localizing the humour for the Quebec market. In addition, most instances of the word "English" are changed to "French". Due to this, in one episode where Homer visits Canada, the roles of anglophones and francophones are completely reversed, resulting in a stereotypical English Canadian speaking French and a stereotypical French Canadian speaking English. In another episode, English-Canadians were given stereotypical American accents speaking French, even when the main characters from the U.S.A. were not. The same practice is done in the Quebec dub of King of the Hill, done by the same company and many of the same actors, but to a greater extent: instead of taking place in Arlen, Texas, the show takes place in Sainte-Irène, Quebec, and many of the characters' names are changed. However, American flags and pictures of Texas state (such as on the side of police cars) are not edited.
The episodes are dubbed by a team of voice actors, similar to the one that does the original. The team does about two episodes per day. In general these voice actors also do the characters who were voiced by celebrities in the American version. In the French version, on occasion, official dubbers are brought in. For instance for the episode where Mulder and Scully from The X-Files appear the voice actors who do their voices on the French version of the X-Files guest starred.
Up to a certain point, the animation of the show was not changed, and what is written in English appears in English, either subtitled in French or spoken by a character in French, in the two French versions. One important exception is the blackboard joke at the beginning of each episode. The Quebec and France versions share these French language blackboard scenes. However, for later episodes of the Quebec version, other text was changed as well, such as movie titles ("Cosmic Wars" became "La guerre de l'espace" [Space War] in the episode "Co-Dependent's Day").
In July 2007 Matt Groening said in an interview on Late Night with Conan O'Brien that the actor (Phillippe Peythieu) who does the voice of France French Homer says "T'oh!" instead of Homer's trademark "D'oh!". This comes from the actor misreading the line the first time he did Homer's voice and has been that way ever since. In the Parisian version of the show, many other catch phrases are also translated: Bart's "Eat my shorts" becomes "Va te faire shampouiner" ("Go shampoo yourself", similar to "go to hell"). When Homer tries to throttle Bart, his phrase "Why you little..." becomes "espèce de sale petit..." (literally "you dirty lil'..."). The France French version has also its popular catchphrases, to translate some terms that in the original versions are not catchphrases. Thereby, instead of "Oh my god!", Homer says "Ouh pinaise!", a deformation of "Oh punaise!" (Oh darn!), a watered-down form of the expletive "Oh putain!" (Oh damn!). "Oh pinaise!" is in French as much essential to characterize Homer as "D'oh" is in English. Homer is also unable to pronounce some terms like "bibliothèque" (library) and says "bibiliothèque". These catch phrases are translated in the Canadian French version as well: "Eat my shorts" becomes "mange la crotte" ("eat hell") while "Why you little..." becomes "mon p'tit verrat" ("you little brat").
I Simpson have been aired in Italy since October 1, 1991. The main voices are by Tonino Accolla (Homer), Liù Bosisio (Marge), Ilaria Stagni (Bart), Monica Ward (Lisa). The animation of the show is changed: whenever something written in English appears on screen, the Italian version superimposes the translated phrase. In the initial blackboard scene, Bart reads the phrase translated but the blackboard itself still shows the English words. While all of the character names remain in English, some have been modified, possibly to be easier to understand and recognize as a name to the audience: most notably, Moe became Boe (and all shots of his bar's sign are graphically modified accordingly), Edna Krabappel is named Caprapall, Chief Wiggum is Commissario Winchester and Itchy and Scratchy are replaced by Grattachecca e Fichetto (the first refers to a typical granita sold in Rome. Fichetto is a person who wants to be cool or anyway is cool but not in an exaggerated way). All characters having roles in their name (Principal Skinner, Chief Wiggum, Groundskeeper Willie, etc.) or English words (Fat Tony) have received literal translation for their title, with Sideshow (Mel and Bob) becoming Telespalla (the word did not exist in Italian before the show, but it is a good translation since spalla is the role of a sideshow). Many characters are dubbed with strong local accents: Wiggum, Lou and Marvin Monroe talk like men from Naples, Eddie talks like someone from Bari, Carl with a Venice accent, Reverend Lovejoy is a Calabrian, Snake Jailbird and Lionel Hutz speak with Rome accent, Otto Mann a Milanese, Fat Tony - obviously - a Sicilian, Willie is a Sardinian. In November 2012, Liù Bosisio and Ilaria Stagni, were replaced by Sonia Scotti (Marge), and Gaia Bolognesi (Bart). Like the French and Spanish version, real and fictional characters conserve their frequent Italian voice, for example in the episode Any Given Sundance, Woody Allen (voiced by Hank Azaria), was dubbed by his Italian voice Oreste Lionello who did the last dub of his career, in fact he died a week after the Italian airing. A lot of characters are voiced by guest stars, like the ex-minister Ignazio Larussa who voiced Garth, the sugar industrie manager, the politician Alessandra Mussolini as Marge's friend Tammy, the journalists Serena Dandini as Snake's girlfriend Gloria and Emilio Fede as John Stewart, the football player Francesco Totti and his wife, the showgirl Ilary Blasi as Buck Mitchell and Tabitha Vixx, the showgirl Valeria Marini as Mindy Simmons, Maria Grazia Cucinotta as in the original version is Francesca, sideshow Bob's wife. In July 14, 2013 Tonino Accolla died and in November 14, 2013 he was replaced by Massimo Lopez.
The Simpsons is dubbed into the Spanish language twice, once in Mexico targeted to all Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas, and again in Spain. In both versions, the show is named Los Simpson, as last names are not pluralized in Spanish (although is not uncommon that many people write it as "Los Simpsons"). There are many differences between the two versions, as there are differences between the Spanish spoken in Spain and in Latin America. In Latin America, Homer is translated as Homero, but in Spain it is not translated. Other translations in Latin America are: Barney Gumble as Barney Gómez, Chief Wiggum as Jefe Gorgory, Ralph Wiggum as Ralf/Rafa Gorgory, Reverend Lovejoy as Reverendo Alegría and Mayor "Diamond" Joe Quimby as Alcalde Diamante. Itchy and Scratchy are translated in the two versions: Tommy y Daly for Latin America, and Rasca y Pica for Spain (however, "Pica" and "Rasca" literally translate as "It itches" and "It scratches" so it is the most accurate translation). Sideshow Bob is Bob Patiño in Latin America, and Actor secundario Bob in Spain.
The animation of the show is not changed, and what is written in English remains in English in the Spanish versions. In the blackboard scene, Bart reads the phrase translated. After the introduction, in the Latin American version the Spanish name of the episode is spoken by Homer, while in the Spanish version, it appears subtitled. Texts within the show are usually voiced by a narrator in the Latin American version, while they are subtitled in Spain. The region 1 DVDs include the Latin American audio.
Many fans of the series and the rest of the Spanish cast were very sad after the death of Carlos Revilla due to his excellent work voicing Homer Simpson, and Antena 3 had to find a substitute for Revilla's voice (as opposed to Dan Castellaneta's). Carlos Revilla also dubbed the appearance of KITT in the episode The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace, like he did in Knight Rider. There are other characters that conserve their frequent voice in Spain: like Mulder and Scully from The X-Files, or Sideshow Bob and his brother Cecil. They are dubbed by the same actors who dub Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce in Frasier. (With Cecil this only occurs in his first appearance).
After the 15th season was dubbed, the National Association of Actors opposed a proposal from Grabaciones y Doblajes Internacionales, the dubbing studio responsible for producing the Latin American version, to allow hiring of non-trade actors. The full cast was replaced permanently for the 16th season.
The Spanish version of the Simpsons also distinguishes itself by using more literal translations of what the characters are saying, while in the Mexican version, it is common to hear local jokes or expressions, as well as references to Latin American pop-culture. The Spanish translation would most likely seem very salacious to a Latin American audience, and viceversa. In both versions the guest stars are always voiced by that actor's particular Spanish voice counterpart. In this way if the Spanish public is expecting to hear Glenn Close they actually hear the voice they usually equate to that actress.
The Simpsons are dubbed into Portuguese for Brazil by Audio News studio in Rio de Janeiro. The voices for Homer / Abe is Carlos Alberto, Marge is Selma Lopes, Lisa is voiced by Flavia Saddy and Bart is voiced by Rodrigo Antas. The names of some characters change in Portuguese. The character Gil, his name is pronounced Jil, Snowball is called Bola de Neve, and Santa's Little Helper is called Ajudante do Papai Noel. Kwik E 'Mart, the first season is Mercadinho. Lenny, Homer Friend is voiced by Mario Filho has a typical accent of northeastern Brazilian.
In 2006, The Simpsons, along with other shows such as Pokémon, SpongeBob SquarePants and Mickey Mouse cartoons, were banned from being aired during primetime (5:00 to 8:00 PM) in China. This was done so that Chinese cartoons, which were having a hard time competing with foreign cartoons, would gain more viewers. The government had previously tried several things, such as ordering that networks cut down on the number of foreign animated series being aired in 2000 and in 2004, passed a rule that would ensure that 60 percent of cartoon content came from Chinese studios. The move was heavily criticized by Chinese media. The Simpsons Movie, however, has been dubbed into Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese.
The Simpsons appeared for the first time on Swedish television on November 29, 1990. The series was originally broadcast on TV3 in English with Swedish subtitles. However, in 1993, the network decided to start dub The Simpsons to increase ratings, and the show was moved to a more child-friendly time. After a public outrage the dubbing was dropped after only six episodes and the show was moved to a more adult time. Bart was voiced by Annica Smedius and Homer by Per Sandborgh. A dub of the movie was released with The Simpsons Movie DVD, with Annica Smedius providing the voice for Bart once again.
The Simpsons appeared for the first time in Hungary, in Hungarian language on TV3 in September 14, 1998. The series was one of the most popular shows on TV3, but after this channel closed in 2000 Viasat 3 started to broadcast new episodes starting with Season 6 from September 29, 2001. In January, 2008 Viasat 3 stopped to broadcast The Simpsons, and its sister channel, Viasat 6 (then TV6) started to air reruns. On September 29, 2008 Viasat 6 also started to air new episodes. On August 30, 2013 Viasat 6 broadcast the season finale of Season 24. On February 4, 2014, the Hungarian version of Fox launched, and from Season 25 Fox broadcasts new episodes of The Simpsons in Hungary on Fridays. Currently Season 25 is running in Hungary, and the episodes are available in Hungarian after two weeks from the original broadcast.
The Simpsons (द सिम्पसन्स) has aired on Fox India and FX India, in English and dubbed into the Hindi language. Chetan Shashital provides the voice for Homer Simpson in the Hindi dub of the TV series, while during talks of a Hindi dub of The Simpsons Movie, the producers of the planned Hindi dub wanted to choose Boman Irani to voice Homer instead, but that project never came through.
The Simpsons was dubbed for the first time in Punjabi and aired on Geo TV in Pakistan. The name of the localised Punjabi version is Tedi Sim Sim (Punjabi: ٹڈی سم سم). All references to drugs, drinking and sex have been removed. It is one of the most popular shows that airs on Geo TV. The original version which is in English also airs but on STAR World. Both of the versions are quite popular.
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- D'oh! Arabized Simpsons Aren't Getting Many Laughs THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – an article about the negative response the Arabic adaptation received among longtime Simpsons fans in the Arabic regions.
- Homer’s odyssey: Why The Simpsons flopped in the Middle East – an article from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation regarding the failure of the Arabised version of the show.
- Details about the dubbed version in Pakistan.
- An in depth essay about the Italian dubbed version.