Do you watch tv/movies with subtitles even in your native language?
ناشر الموضوع: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
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Jul 31

This came up when discussing subtitles at our breakfast table.
In Finland everybody is used to watching foreign tv and movies with subtitles. Dubbing is used only for children who cannot yet read. Research has shown that people who are used to read the subtitles do not miss any content, subtitles even enhance understanding of the action.
Still 50 years ago actors used to articulate carefully and without accents, except of course the notorious German you would say "ze" instead of "the
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This came up when discussing subtitles at our breakfast table.
In Finland everybody is used to watching foreign tv and movies with subtitles. Dubbing is used only for children who cannot yet read. Research has shown that people who are used to read the subtitles do not miss any content, subtitles even enhance understanding of the action.
Still 50 years ago actors used to articulate carefully and without accents, except of course the notorious German you would say "ze" instead of "the" and the KGB-agent with his/her typical Russian flavor.
But nowadays many find it difficult to understand what actually is spoken on screen. Therefor I often switch on the subtitles even when viewing Finnish tv-movies. These subtitles are meant for the disabled, they also tell you if there is someone singing or if the telephone rings etc.
So what I would like to ask you, as my international audience, do you too find it nowadays difficult to understand new movies and television series even in your native language, and if you have the opportunity do you switch on the subtitles? Or is it only the Finnish actors who started to mumble?
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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
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If the subtitles are correct Jul 31

I rarely just watch a movie or show, I'm usually doing something else at the same time. Subtitles don't hurt when you're not 100% committed to listening to people talk. I'm watching Star Trek TNG right now, and they even have subtitles for the blooper reel, which is great because it can be hard to hear exactly what's going on.

Japanese isn't my native language, but I don't trust translators so I tend to turn off translated subtitles. I will, however, turn on Japanese subtitle
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I rarely just watch a movie or show, I'm usually doing something else at the same time. Subtitles don't hurt when you're not 100% committed to listening to people talk. I'm watching Star Trek TNG right now, and they even have subtitles for the blooper reel, which is great because it can be hard to hear exactly what's going on.

Japanese isn't my native language, but I don't trust translators so I tend to turn off translated subtitles. I will, however, turn on Japanese subtitles if they are available.
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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Always subtitles, when available Jul 31

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
In Finland everybody is used to watching foreign TV and movies with subtitles.


In the Netherlands, TV programs are often dubbed or half dubbed. By half dubbed I mean that when that the voice over is in Dutch but people who speak in the show, speak in their original language, with subtitles. I suspect the producers sometimes even cut scenes with too much character speaking and replace it with additional voice over in other scenes, to get a "nice" balance of Dutch voice and foreign voice. But when programs are not dubbed, they are often hard subtitled. Animation films are always dubbed, but films with actual people in it remain in the original language, with hard subtitles. When films are distributed on DVD, they often have soft subtitles, even if the film is in Dutch.

As for me, when I watch downloaded films, I prefer subtitles, even if the film is in a language I understand. I rarely see films or programs in my native language with subtitles in my native language, however. I'm not sure if it would bother me. Clear speaking is a normal part of TV and film making in my native language, even if the speaker has a strong accent.

Research has shown that people who are used to read the subtitles do not miss any content, subtitles even enhance understanding of the action.


My personal experience is that this is not always true. I sometimes miss visual cues due to reading the subtitles, particularly if I don't understand the spoken language.

So what I would like to ask you, as my international audience, do you too find it nowadays difficult to understand new movies and television series even in your native language?


No, but the trend even in my native language is to move away from standard pronunciation, and the problem is that actors are not chosen based on their accent, which means that a film might have characters speaking a variety of accents that do not really mesh with each other. If you have a friend or a relative from another region, you get used to his way of speaking thanks to long contact, but it is harder in a film, when you've just "met" the people, to get used to actors talking in too different accents in short succession. The fact that films and TV shows no longer use accents to typify characters also means that if the show has a character with a "typical" accent, the actor is forced to overdo it to make the odd accent stand out, which comes across as unnatural.

Lincoln Hui wrote:
I rarely just watch a movie or show, I'm usually doing something else at the same time.


My wife and daughter are like that too. They can even have a conversation about something they've seen in the film while the film is showing, and not feel like they're missing anything. But they do miss things, believe me. They just don't know it, and it does not bother them. I suppose it's like some people can read a book and skip several pages without noticing any difference.

I'm watching Star Trek TNG right now, and they even have subtitles for the blooper reel, which is great because it can be hard to hear exactly what's going on.


I find that, when rewatching films or shows with subtitles when I've last seen them without subtitles, I become aware of a lot more content that I had previously not been aware of. Or, sometimes I thought a character said one thing but the subtitler thought he said something else, and sometimes both interpretations make sense and do not change the meaning of the film, but sometimes the subtitler's interpretaion of what a character says changes the story (and I'm not talking about bad subtitling here).


[Edited at 2020-07-31 08:02 GMT]


 

Jan Truper  Identity Verified
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... Jul 31

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

So what I would like to ask you, as my international audience, do you too find it nowadays difficult to understand new movies and television series even in your native language, and if you have the opportunity do you switch on the subtitles? Or is it only the Finnish actors who started to mumble?


As a subtitle translator myself, I have noted an influx of babble in all kinds of productions over the last 15 years or so.
For example, a 22 minute comedy show used to have up to 300 subtitle events; nowadays, it can have up to 500 subtitle events.

Fast cuts and fast dialogue are often used to cover up bad stories, bad writing and bad acting, and the high tempo necessitates machine-gun-like enunciation by the actors.

[Edited at 2020-07-31 09:29 GMT]


 

Kelly S
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Mumbling English and American actors Jul 31

I sometimes watch tv programmes/movies in subtitles although my native language is English and many of the programmes produced are in English.
Except for period dramas, most of the dramas produced involve actors mumbling lines or script writers trying to come up with clever turns of phrases that are often so vague, we simply don't get them!
They all need elocution lessons!
The rain in Spain lies mainly in the plain.


 

Tom in London
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Do you watch tv/movies with subtitles even in your native language? Jul 31

Q- Do you watch tv/movies with subtitles even in your native language?
A- yes, frequently because

(a) there's sometimes a lot of background noise where I live (passing trains etc) so I use subtitles to follow the dialogue
(b) the British have long abandoned standard ("BBC" or "RP") English for many situations, including TV programmes where the voiceover may be spoken clearly by a trained speaker, but the voices in the action may be in a range of different regional accent
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Q- Do you watch tv/movies with subtitles even in your native language?
A- yes, frequently because

(a) there's sometimes a lot of background noise where I live (passing trains etc) so I use subtitles to follow the dialogue
(b) the British have long abandoned standard ("BBC" or "RP") English for many situations, including TV programmes where the voiceover may be spoken clearly by a trained speaker, but the voices in the action may be in a range of different regional accents, switching without warning from Estuary English to Northern Irish, Glaswegian, upper class toff, then back to Bristolian West Country etc. I find it impossible to re-tune my brain to understand all of these different accents as they occur; in such situations, subtitles can be a necessity.
(c) Mumbling: yes; as in Finnish, so in English. In these Covid times I've begun watching serialised TV dramas (although usually giving up on them after about 4 episodes due to unbelievable plotlines/bad acting) in which the (usually English, i.e. understated, unexpressive) actors mumble sottovoce to one another whilst barely moving their lips and not expressing much emotion about anything. Subtitles are essential for these things.

(Thinks) learning English must be hell for a non-native these days....



[Edited at 2020-07-31 15:32 GMT]
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Christine Andersen
 

AAEnglish  Identity Verified
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Watching with hearing-impaired mom Jul 31

What an interesting topic! So, since my mother (89) and I enjoy watching TV together, I had to start watching with CC captioning. Sometimes it's helpful with really bad sound - it seems like there's not enough attention paid to sound quality. And as another poster mentioned, our lives are often full of sound pollution. However, I find that I miss subtle expressions and visuals because I'm reading the words. On the other hand, when I use Spanish subtitles, I get caught up in analyzing the transla... See more
What an interesting topic! So, since my mother (89) and I enjoy watching TV together, I had to start watching with CC captioning. Sometimes it's helpful with really bad sound - it seems like there's not enough attention paid to sound quality. And as another poster mentioned, our lives are often full of sound pollution. However, I find that I miss subtle expressions and visuals because I'm reading the words. On the other hand, when I use Spanish subtitles, I get caught up in analyzing the translation. I'm a wanna-be subtitler, so I also try to figure out the timing and word choice in the context of readability.Collapse


Tom in London
 

Tom in London
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Just last night.... Aug 2

...I happened to turn on the TV and one of my favourite hardboiled movies of all time "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" was just starting. Being a lazy listener I turned on the subtitles and kept checking them, but I also enjoyed the real dialogue and the Bostonian accents.

Why do I like it? It's the cars, the locations, the dialogue.

https://tinyurl.com/yxqnfvuj

[Edited at 2020-0
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...I happened to turn on the TV and one of my favourite hardboiled movies of all time "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" was just starting. Being a lazy listener I turned on the subtitles and kept checking them, but I also enjoyed the real dialogue and the Bostonian accents.

Why do I like it? It's the cars, the locations, the dialogue.

https://tinyurl.com/yxqnfvuj

[Edited at 2020-08-02 10:49 GMT]
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Baran Keki
 

Laurela Bruka  Identity Verified
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always subtitles on Aug 3

I enjoy much more watching movies that have subtitles available. It helps me comprehend the conversations and thus the content better. Even in my native language (Albanian), i miss few words because of dialects or daydreaming. Therefore i would always go for movies with subtitles!

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
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Mixed situation Aug 4

I live in Denmark, and films in all varieties of English have Danish subtitles. My husband tries to turn them off, usually unsuccessfully. They annoy him, but I actually enjoy them at times, or I can ignore them. I really respect some of the elegant translations the subtitlers come up with. (And occasionally have a good laugh when they get it wrong, but that happens far less than it used to.)
I may actually need the translation for American or other varieties that are not spoken in my neck
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I live in Denmark, and films in all varieties of English have Danish subtitles. My husband tries to turn them off, usually unsuccessfully. They annoy him, but I actually enjoy them at times, or I can ignore them. I really respect some of the elegant translations the subtitlers come up with. (And occasionally have a good laugh when they get it wrong, but that happens far less than it used to.)
I may actually need the translation for American or other varieties that are not spoken in my neck of the woods!
OK, Danish is not my native language, but it is my language of habitual usage, and after 40 years I am as fluent as many natives.

There have been occasions when we have given up on Danish TV series in Denmark - we simply could not hear the dialogue, and it was not subtitled! Forbrydelsen (The Killing) was one! We waited for the English version, but did not watch more than a couple of episodes. We gave up on The Bridge as well, even though that had subtitling for the Swedish characters...

We can also see Swedish, Norwegian and German channels, and English films on the Swedish and Norwegian channels are subtitled in those languages. I am fascinated, especially when the subtitling is in New Norwegian (Nynorsk). The other written form of Norwegian, Bokmål, is very close to Danish, and it must be VERY difficult at times to relate some of the spoken dialects to the written word.
I do not understand spoken Swedish or Norwegian very well, so without subtitles I actually struggle to follow. Luckily most films and series are broadcast later on Danish channels with Danish subtitles, and then I can catch a lot of what is said!

I understand German quite well, but we always turn on the subtitles - there are passages in dialect or details that are easier to understand with the text to help. It keeps my German a little more active, so I can actually use it when we go shopping over the border. Again, my respect to the subtitlers!
(And I am always amazed at the variety of adjectives used to describe the music! Ominous, tense, excited, cheerful, melancholy, romantic ... I may not register it at all if there are only a couple of bars, or to me it may be just thump, thump, thump...)

We see very little television in the UK - I feel I ought to watch more for professional reasons, but it can´t compete with a lively grandchild! On the other hand, I can see English TV at home until I am square eyed, so never mind.
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Heinrich Pesch
 

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Frequently Aug 4

I prefer to watch films/TV in English without subtitles, as I find subtitles a distraction from the visual qualities of the film. However, I have a slight hearing loss and often find that I miss important parts of the dialogue if I don't have the subtitles on. This is especially the case with American and other non-British accents. Since I've been using subtitles, I've discovered that I've been failing to hear some of the important background sounds (birdsong, wind, doors squeaking, background c... See more
I prefer to watch films/TV in English without subtitles, as I find subtitles a distraction from the visual qualities of the film. However, I have a slight hearing loss and often find that I miss important parts of the dialogue if I don't have the subtitles on. This is especially the case with American and other non-British accents. Since I've been using subtitles, I've discovered that I've been failing to hear some of the important background sounds (birdsong, wind, doors squeaking, background conversation etc.), so the subtitles aren't just useful for dialogue. I also have a problem with listening to many female American accents, as I find them harsh and grating and prefer to turn the sound down a bit. For some voices, I'll even press the mute button while that particular person is speaking. As I only watch French TV, the subtitles for English language films are in French, though I use the English subtitles for English DVDs.

For French films and TV, I prefer not to have the subtitles on, at least some of the time, in order to improve how well I listen to and hear French dialogue. With subtitles on for French language films, it is too easy for me to be lazy and read rather than listen.
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