Musa Ibrahim
Musa Ibrahim

A bleeding Culture: How Dubbing is killing Hausa Norms, by Musa Ibrahim

NEWS DIGEST – Dubbing is a verbal translation of home video from its original language to another language for the consumption of a local or foreign audience.

Hausa language and culture has recently come under a threat that is constantly eating into the fabrics of societal values, social setting and syche of the natives through the activity of dubbing companies and satellite televisions that are making claims of uplifting Hausa ethics and more.

Hindi or Bollywood films had been forced on people to concur that the Hausa values are similar to that of Indians through their everyday interactions such as marriage, dress, farming and building. That the average Hausa audience sees a resemblance in Hindi films they can identify with. This is a propaganda by some unprolific Kannywood cult who heavily rely on copying Indian stories directly into Hausa films.

Before 1960 there was nothing that connected the two civilizations with cinema ushered during the imperialist era as entertainment was in the hands of Lebanese in major northern city of Kano the birth place of Kannywood.

The introduction of music and dance into Hausa films started barely two decades ago, but it comes with enormous price as dubbing now hijacked the lucrative movie market with Kannywood forced to react and at the end only Algaita remains outstanding dubbing media.

Now almost every Indian movie is dub (orally) to Hausa without necessarily understanding the importance of preserving cultural and linguistic diversity of the cultures involved which is a phenomenon a translator must be aware of and protect.

There is always distinction between dialogue of original movie and dialogue of dubbed one, translating dialogue completely and accurately is a mirage and affect humorous ironic utterance of the original film. Even though dubbing is making that gap slim, the cultural effects on the audience is of concern.

Dictions are blatantly mispronouncing and inserted in utterly wrong context that is grammatically and syntactically erroneous according to accepted or standardized Hausa language which is invariably having negative consequences on the young generation’s comprehension of culture and concept of acceptable words and right behavior.

The talent to narrates a story and export to the world is yet to excavate to its fullest in Hausa film industry as the indigenous story are relegated to the background, most at times film producers said audience don’t appreciate local stories. This is fictitious! When you work on your own stories diligently the world would consume it, Standard should always be international, people want something new and exciting.

Film makers in an unconscious alliance with dubbing clubs now have down sized culture and language, working on things of no significance, if they are serious, why not unite and be producing series, translated and dubbed in other languages for foreign nation, its high time to stop trying to bury our culture through domesticating alien practice because of market. Perhaps preserving and promoting culture is not their aim even though they claimed, perhaps not anymore.

You can barely see a good subtitle in Hausa films which people with special needs like deaf can read, and the few Hausa films with English subtitle, in most cases is doing more damage than good, to the extent that some phrases would be wrongly expressed. Without prowess of contemporary language use, a total disgrace to the industry and standards of subtitling a movie.

Do you think a foreign producer can pick your story and act for you?  This is unimaginable and unlike the behavior of a custodians of culture of the people. Take away the music and dance there is nothing worth watching in most current films.

That is why dubbing is “killing the show” with Indian translation as audience experience action; gun violence, war scene, societal clashes, exchange of fist between antagonistic forces, dance, music and sound effects that appeal to them. Thereby, making the language and culture of Hausa people to pay handsomely for such misdoings.

The Kannywood is not promoting culture nor language, same way the dubbing is bleaching the ethical and linguistic standards of Africa’s largest language in the face of the fear of mother tongue extinction. The pressure of been cosmopolitan cannot be a yardstick to compromise the existence of a language.

Rescue mechanism have to be device in such a way that not just music and dance movies carry, not the normal rich-poor marriage struggles or stereotypical stories from the society but let the movies tell society the right way to function through well informed series. Dubbing and translators should bear in mind the issues of cultural variance and help in dubbing and subtitling indigenous films for foreign nations for exportation across the border, thereby promoting our culture.

Writers of Hausa fiction should be motivated to involve investigation into society and fetch issues that would be address through films and cultural practices that can be reignited in accordance with religion and culture of the Majority Hausa Muslim and that of none Muslim Hausa speakers.

Satellite channels like Tauraruwa, Farin Wata, Africa Magic Hausa etc, with their armies of dubbing voice artist should consider acting their own series, of course, not the kind of street unorganized series we see on them, the standard they use to dubbed from Korea, India, and USA. The Scene, light, film and other aesthetics elements plus all ingredients that would make Hausa film go beyond borders.

Kodus is awarded to the Arewa24 a satellite television channel giant that stride for taking the bull by the horn with their Maiden Series in Hausa “Kwana Cas’in” (Ninety Days) it is a ground breaking record, the kind we never seen before (it is distinct from Dan kowa series). The setting, the story, the characters, the action, that is what we should see on the screen, a standardized series which will unravel and reveal our societal misgivings to the world and uphold our uniqueness and values so that our sociocultural landscape can be reshape and our politico-economical life be resuscitated. Though the “Kwana Cas’in” also has it shortcoming by not having English subtitle, like Dadin Kowa, many expect that their new series would contained English subtitle to carry along other non-Hausa speakers and people with hearing disability, but so far subtitle is absent in the recent released episodes we have seen so far, our hope is that they can realized it important and include it in the subsequent episodes.

The importance of subtitles shouldn’t not be undermined, it helped people outside the local terrain to enjoy a certain film and equally it gives room for the world people to review and study the film. Sagaciously All films should have a standard subtitle in Hausa, English, French and Arabic languages, this will give the film industry credibility and penetration power like the films from others Woods worldwide.

Musa Ibrahim works with Green Flame Creative Limited, a leading Translation and Subtitle company based in Kano, he can be reached on [email protected]

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