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Calling subtitles more inclusive, Mexico bans dubbed movies in cinemas

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Starting March 22, cinemas in Mexico will not be allowed to show dubbed films. Photo: Courtesy

A new law requires all foreign-language movies shown in Mexico to be subtitled in Spanish rather than dubbed. 

This means that from now all on movies will show only in their native language, but always with Spanish subtitles. The only exception being animated films made specifically for children. 

Alhough the new law was supposed to come into effect Monday, national movie theater chains continue to list showings in both dubbed and subtitled formats. 

It is unclear how this move will affect content shown on television or online entertainment platforms.  

The new rule was presented by lawmakers as an effort to be inclusive of persons suffering from auditory disabilities. 

But moviegoers unable to read due to illiteracy or visual impairment will no longer be able to listen to a movie filmed in another language.

Earlier: Yucatán’s nascent film industry is waiting for its closeup

Countries such as the Netherlands and Norway, which have taken similar measures, report above-average levels of proficiency in languages other than their own, especially English. 

In an academic study, “The impact of Subtitling on English Skills,” researchers found that in countries where English movies were subtitled, language students scored on average 17% higher than those of countries where films were dubbed.

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