When one is otherwise paying attention to synchronization in dubbing, it’s a straight speech, that means no throaty voices, nasaly voices, “spuckeklacker” (stuttering/lisping). You really try and make sure this doesn’t happen or you simply don’t end up using these kind of takes. But in this series we’ve had to accept them. The slums, the ghettos, the on-the-street, that should come across as authentically as possible. That the people don’t manage to speak very clearly or nicely, they can do that too – I hold my nose a little now, here and there, speak more nasaly, sometimes stutter a bit, don’t speak so clearly, so that can come across.
In general it’s really hard to bring the slang over to German as it is in the original. I’m sure there’s been a lot of urban jargon in there, but you have to be careful about momentarily fashionable speech, because what’s common right now is at one point “in” speech – once dubbed, always dubbed. So when someone watches that in five or seven years, “in” speech spoken here on the street in Germany won’t be “in” anymore, or people simply don’t say things like that anymore. So one has to take care with those sorts of things.
To bring over the style of the speech out of the slums or ghettos, we haven’t used very exact, grammatically correct German. Nobody says “Wegen des Fahrrads” (because of the bikes), rather “wegen dem Fahrrads” (’cause of them bikes), for example there we use wrong German. Here and there we’ve used other phrases, sometimes with an English or American sentence structure.
The Wire, auf Deutsch
I can’t even imagine what this must be like to watch. The chief dubber explains: