German Dubbing Artists Stop Work Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Raul Richter dubbing History series 'Roots' into German
Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images.jpg

The German Dubbing Association, which represents around half of all dubbing artists in Germany, has suspended activity until at least April 19.

The German Dubbing Association, which represents around half of all dubbing artists in Germany, has suspended work until at least April 19 amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

The association's board made the announcement following a telephone conference with its members. The association's members work with all the major Hollywood studios and players, including Netflix and Amazon, as well as all commercial and public networks in Germany to dub non-German films and series. The shutdown means finished productions that have not yet been dubbed will be further delayed.

A representative for the association said the studios supported the move to protect the health of dubbing actors who "cannot do their work from home." The rep noted the working conditions in synchronization studios, with artists using the same equipment in close proximity, would not be suitable under current health guidelines for the containment of the coronavirus.

"It is still not yet possible to estimate the extent of the delay this is causing to the delivery of dubbed versions [of series and films]," the association said in a statement. "The studios will remain in regular contact to keep themselves updated and to evaluate the current situation."

The association didn't detail which films and series would be affected. 

As cinemas shut down across the world amid the coronavirus outbreak, several studios have pushed to get productions out on-demand. NBCUniversal on Monday announced that current movies from its Universal Pictures slate, including Trolls World Tour, The Hunt and The Invisible Man, as well as Focus Features' Emma, will be made available on demand day-and-date with their regular release in whatever theaters still remain open. Sky Germany, the country's leading pay TV provider, has said it will offer the Universal titles on demand to its subscribers.

But a shutdown of dubbing operations could delay future on-demand rollouts if productions are not already synchronized into multiple languages for release.