Patria: English dubbing through the ages


About the client

HBO is home to popular TV shows, films and documentaries that illustrate the power of storytelling. In collaboration with HBO, VSI produced the US English, lip-sync dub and forced narratives for the eight-episode, Spanish TV series, Patria.

The project

Dubbing and Forced Narratives

US English

Based on the novel Patria by Fernando Aramburu, the historical, web TV drama tells the tale of two women, living in the Basque Country, whose friendship and families are torn apart as a result of the armed and political conflict between Spain and ETA, the separatist organisation. The story spans three decades and tackles the sensitive subject with profound sincerity and subtlety, across eight, fifty-minute episodes.

HBO approached us to localise this Spanish series into US English. Having made a name for itself as a pioneer in the field of US English dubbing, our studio in Los Angeles was well placed to help and the team was excited to get started.

Our approach

To kick off the project, we worked with HBO to customise our dubbing workflow, ensuring a seamless approach, whilst meeting the requirements of the project and discussing the various steps involved in bringing an English dub to life. We also provided insight into what should go into the dub and forced narrative files, respectively.

While the majority of the show’s original audio was in Castilian Spanish, there were also large sections of Basque, French and German that required translating. Our dubbing team was in close communication with Steve Matthews, the Executive Producer of Patria to decide which dialogue should be dubbed and subtitled in the forced narrative files, in order to help viewers follow the transition between languages and understand the dialogue.

Although VSI Los Angeles maintained a standard dubbing practice throughout the production, Covid-19 presented a unique challenge. The team faced a government-mandated studio lockdown and, as a result, had to quickly adapt the workflow to incorporate remote recordings. Since we already had the infrastructure and technology in place for remote dubbing, this didn’t compromise the quality or our ability to deliver on time.

Once the localisation had been completed, our team in LA shared select scenes with HBO for feedback on performance, sync, editing and mixing. This was met with a positive reaction.


Patria premiered on HBO GO and Max to audiences worldwide on 27th September, and the series received rave reviews. The encouraging response from viewers, and the client’s experience in partnering with VSI on their first foray into English dubbing, has since led to HBO commissioning an American English dub for an additional high-profile project. We look forward to continuing our partnership with HBO and further expanding our catalogue of first-class, English dubbed versions to global audiences.