Discuss: Watching M*A*S*H in Another Language


Monday M*A*S*H Discussions offers fans the opportunity to offer their opinions on a wide variety of topics relating to M*A*S*H. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. My hope is these discussion posts will continue to elicit comments in the weeks and months after they’re initially published. Have a suggestion about something you think might be worth discussing? Let me know and maybe it will become my next Monday M*A*S*H Discussion topic.

Today’s topic is: Watching M*A*S*H in another language.

English, Spanish, French…?

The vast majority of traffic to MASH4077TV.com comes from English-speaking countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. The show does have a loyal following in Germany and MASH4077TV.com has seen a limited number (under a thousand) of visitors from that country so far in 2019. There have also been visitors from the Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark, and The Netherlands, to name a few.

I assume most fans from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada watch M*A*S*H in English. I know I do. Fans from other countries, however, may watch the show dubbed into their local language, if possible.

For many English-speaking fans, it’s possible to watch episodes in other languages, if you own either individual seasons or the complete series on DVD. The DVDs sold in the United States include optional audio tracks in Spanish and French. I believe the Canadian DVDs have English and French tracks. I’m not positive, but I think the Australian DVDs and those available in the United Kingdom only have English audio.

Also, based on a quick search of Amazon.de and Amazon.fr, the German DVDs include German and English audio tracks while the French DVDs have French and English audio tracks.

Has anyone watched episodes of M*A*S*H dubbed in another language? I never have. Despite taking several years of Spanish in grade school followed by four years of French in middle school and high school, I am not able to understand either language (with the exception of a few words or phrases and even then only when spoken slowly and carefully). Watching M*A*S*H in Spanish or French would be an exercise in futility. It might be interesting to watch a few minutes, to hear what the voices sound like, but I doubt I could sit through an entire episode.

I’m curious if any bilingual fans of M*A*S*H have watched episodes in two languages and compared the dialogue.

Hit the comments with your thoughts.

7 Replies to “Discuss: Watching M*A*S*H in Another Language”

  1. Not quite the same topic, but when M*A*S*H was on during first run, my family had a long (very, VERY long) visit from my crazy grandmother (from The Netherlands) She had regularly watched the program in Dutch and was confused by the language changes when she got here. The one thing I most clearly recall was her referring to Margaret as “Major Hula-Hoop” (try sounding it out.) Her English was deficient at best and it made for some entertaining viewing for my family.

    As a result, I (as a snotty and sarcastic 11 year-old) got hours of perverse enjoyment watching my grandmother helplessly try to navigate the sea of colloquialisms and expressions to the point where she would retreat into an inert, vapid mass on the couch just waiting for the next commercial to break the confusion. At my worst, I would sometimes (intentionally) mistranslate dialog for her which would make things even more absurd. (I know, I was a bit of a brat, but I suppose I have gotten my comeuppance with 180 sarcastic teenagers to corral in my classroom trying to get one over on me…)

    1. That’s interesting, because I have a friend who lives in the Netherlands, and he’s explained why so many Dutch people have learned English so easily is, being a very small country, a lot of their broadcasters don’t even bother dubbing imported programming in the Dutch language, and instead, just add subtitles.

      1. I don’t know if there were subtitles back in 1981 but, even if there were, my grandmother would never have read them. She was quite obstinate about doing ANYTHING out of her comfort zone, including reading subtitles. I know it was cruel, but she was a….unique personality (at times we wanted her to go to Kansas to see if another house might be coaxed into landing on her)

  2. I’ve never bothered watching M*A*S*H in another language, however, I have read on the internet somewhere that in the Spanish dub of the show, Margaret’s dialogue is provided by Yeardley Smith, best known as the voice of Lisa Simpson.

  3. I occasionally watch episodes on DVD in French or Spanish just for fun. I notice that when I watch in Spanish, they say the title of the show, the starring cast and the episode title. Rarely do I comprehend the episode title when spoken in Spanish. One example being “The Party”, which translates to “La Fiesta”. Potter sounds angrier in Spanish and that’s funny in its own way.

  4. I watched MASH with czech dubbing when I was a child. Now,, of course I prefer original voices. I have read somewhere that the czech dubbing was the best in the world. They have removed the ,,fake laugh” which was really interesting, but poeple liked it. Even Loretta Swit appreciated that, when she visited Czech Republic.

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