Italian Film and TV Dubbers Want Their Voices Heard

They call for stricter rules, and regulation to control black market dubbing.


ROME – Italian film and television dubbers are seeking a new contract and greater rules to govern their niche in the film industry.

Italy is thought to have one of the most developed and skilled dubbing industries in the world: television programs rarely carry subtitles, and many films are released in Italy only in dubbed versions.

The industry counts its roots back to the end of Fascism, when hundreds of foreign films were made available all at once and had to be rendered understandable to a public where literacy rates were uneven. Today, the industry is estimated to be worth €60-€80 million ($78-$104 million) per year.

Now dubbers are complaining about unfair competition from unprofessional dubbers and dubbers willing to work for under-the-table wages and a lack of rules governing the sector and aimed at keeping the level of dubbing quality high. They blame the problem on government blanket deregulation designed to make it easier for companies to grow. They are calling for trade unions to step in to help modernize the sector.

Italian dubbers do voice overs for thousands of films and television episodes every year, with payments averaging, according to Il Messaggero, €95 ($124) per three-hour shift.