When Sitcoms Are Dubbed Into Foreign Languages

Silly question of the day: when you’ve seen a sitcom dubbed into a foreign language, do they dub in a laugh track as well, or not?

I’ve seen a number of live-audience sitcom episodes dubbed into other languages, and since they can’t carry over the laugh track from the original (it’s intertwined with the dialogue) they have to make decisions about what to do with the laughter. If you watch French dubbed Seinfeld episodes, for example, they do dub in a laugh track along with the French dialogue. But in Italy, when they dub shows, they don’t add any laughter, and Italians are sometimes very surprised to find out that their favourite shows originally had people laughing in the audience.

For those of you who have gotten this far (this is just one of those days when I’m working on a long piece and am in the mood to write really silly, nit-picky blog posts), here’s a popular sitcom in Italian. Doesn’t it seem a little creepy without any laughter — everyone pausing for laughs that never come?


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