Friday format: Monophonic dubbing - the history and the main names of the "VHS era"

We have already talked about the specifics of the translation and dubbing of films and TV shows, understood the details, subtleties and recalled the great actors of the national dubbing.

Today we will talk about "VHS heroes" - simultaneous interpreters, whose voices are familiar to many in pirate cassettes with movies and TV shows of the 80s and 90s.

We will understand where such a dubbing came from and recall the most famous voices - which did not belong to the same person with a stuffy nose.

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Video salons and video rentals

“Nasty translation” is a legacy of video piracy. In the 1980s, video recorders and VHS tapes first appeared in the USSR. Then on TV and in cinemas they did not show a small part of the films that went beyond the Iron Curtain, so the new technology became the main tool of those whom we would now call pirates.

Since only very wealthy people could afford video recorders in the house, video salons began to appear, where Western films were spinning practically non-stop, and the entrance ticket usually cost 1 ruble (for evening sessions - 1 ruble 50 kopecks). Equipping a video store was easy - they occupied utility rooms and empty rooms, rooms in schools or vocational schools.

The standard set was very simple - a TV or screen and a VCR (the only luxury), the audience sat around on the chairs. There were also “official” video salons - for example, a video library in the building of the former Ars cinema on Arbat. There were also mobile video salons - for example, in the back of a trucker.

Interestingly, all video salons were different - there was no centralization, and the repertoire of films often depended on the tastes of the salon owner. There was not a single standard and nowadays accustomed rating system - except for the very very cruel or frank films they tried not to let schoolchildren.

In the early 90s cable television appeared - it began to gradually replace video salons. Previously "forbidden" films can now be watched on TV. Video salons began to turn into video distribution, and then disappeared altogether.

How translators worked

Recording video cassettes for salons should have been quick, uncomplicated and - most importantly - cheap. This is how the monophonic simultaneous translation appeared. Translators often saw the film for the first time and translated on the go - this is the cause of inaccuracies, backlog and improvisations.

Leonid Volodarsky, for example, stressed many times that he always wrote down the translation simultaneously and on the first attempt . For one film, the translator received 20-25 rubles - decent money for those times.

It is important to understand that, unlike modern voice acting and dubbing actors, VHS-era translators were translators, not professional actors. They did not know how to work with voice and play emotions - but it was not their task. They did not have installation sheets and scripts, many films were replete with phraseological units, popular expressions and difficult vocabulary, and they had to be translated on the go.

"Clothespin on the nose", the business card of monophonic translations of that period, is explained differently. For example, one of the theories - the translators deliberately distorted the nasal tone in the voice, so as not to be recognized, until it was absurd, after all it was a “pirated” translation. Another version is extremely poor sound recording quality, beyond recognition distorts the voice of the translator.

Cultural value

Many probably met (or themselves adhere to) the opinion that nothing could be better than the old "nasal" translation - he gave the films some special charm. Someone first discovered cinema, which has become a modern classic, in this translation. This opinion, of course, is not shared by all: for example, those who simply did not find this era do not support nostalgic feelings.

For example, some critics believe that the "nasal" dubbing, although it gave the audience unforgettable impressions, crippled the film and quite often due to the liberties of translation and unnecessary improvisations, it was so distant from its essence that the viewer was watching almost a different picture. The translators really brought their character to the voice acting and were quite far from simply “voiced subtitles” - they were wrong, they brought in intonation scenes and words that were not there, often lagged behind the original and so on. All this was a feature of low-budget and technically poorly equipped translation.

How movie interpreters worked

Leonid Volodarsky . One of the most famous dubbing actors of the VHS era. In his own words, in 30 years of work, he has voiced about five thousand films. He became a kind of legend and symbol of the simultaneous translation of the era.

Volodarsky presented his recognizable voice to hundreds of films - “ Terminator ” and “Godfather”, “Star Wars” and “Die Hard”, and many, many others

Interestingly, Volodarsky was not just the "nasal voice" of the era, but simply a talented translator - for example, he was one of the first to translate Stephen King's novels into Russian.

Andrei Gavrilov . The second most popular translator of the era of VHS. He translated about two thousand films. Gavrilov translated “Commandos” and “Rocky”, “Pulp Fiction” and “Highlander”, “Armor of God” and the full-length film “ The Lion King ”.

For 10 years, Gavrilov worked as an international TASS journalist. Now Gavrilov continues to translate and dub, speaks on the radio, writes articles and runs his music label, SoLyd Records.

Alexey Mikhalev . Another recognizable voice of the era. Mikhalev, in contrast to the more classical translator Volodarsky, loved improvisation more, and was especially remembered for his inventive and colorful translation of obscene expressions.

He translated the full-length cartoon " Aladdin ", "Ruthless People", "Little Mermaid", "Home Alone" and "Back to the Future", and many other films

Mikhalev began his translation career quite officially - he served in the Soviet embassies and translated many important meetings of the top of the USSR with foreign delegates. He specialized in Farsi and translated Persian literature.

Films began to translate at international festivals, and then hit the video market. According to the critic Sergey Kudryavtsev, Mikhalev’s translation made the film “better than he really was,” and could turn even a mediocre movie into a fascinating spectacle - including through improvisation.

Remember your favorite translators and movies with their dubbing in the comments!

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