You know, I imagine doing subtitles is not the easiest job in the world, so maybe it’s unfair to gripe about them, but really – certain things about them can be annoying.
1. Minimalism: Sometimes a character says like a million things but they only put one line of text up. Having seen a lot of Hindi films, I’ve picked up a bit of the vocabulary, and oftentimes I can hear a character say something (sometimes a significant ‘something’) which the ‘sub-titler’ just can’t be bothered to translate. Having said that, subtitles can never convey all (or even most of) the subtleties and context of the original language, so maybe I shouldn’t criticise.
2. English subtitles for English speech: Now this is a pet peeve of mine. English is English is English. I hate this practice, and it’s done everywhere, especially on news channels like CNN. Note to 'subtitlers' everywhere: stop making people lazy by subtitling just because someone is speaking English with an unfamiliar accent. People need to start listening… carefully. Different accents are a beautiful thing. We need to learn to live with them – it’s the 21st century, for goodness’ sake (and now I'll get off my soapbox). Usually when they do English subtitles for English speech, the text is totally different from what the speaker is saying anyway.
3. SPG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) errors: I just don’t like them, in any context.
4. Not subtitling the songs: They do subtitle them sometimes, but I wish they always would. The songs are a big part of my movie-viewing experience.
5. White subtitles on a white background (or black subtitles on a black background): I don’t know how many versions of the ‘Ek Rishtaa’ DVD there are, but anyone who’s watched the one I’ve got will be aware of the fact that right at the climax of the movie, the subtitles get lost in Amitabh’s white clothes. As in, it’s absolutely impossible to read them. I also don’t like teeny-weeny subtitles that you need a magnifying glass to read…
But for all their imperfections, and despite the fact that they will never be able to pass across the full meaning of what’s said in a movie (maybe I should just try to learn the language, huh?), I do love my subtitles. In fact, I’ve been spoilt by them – I simply won’t watch a Hindi movie that doesn’t have English subtitles – if it doesn’t, it’s going back to the shop. So they’re essential for me, and apart from that, they’re also often very entertaining, as in hilarious. Just about every Bollywood movie I’ve watched has had a couple of really funny subtitles to enhance my viewing pleasure… here are some from ‘Vijaypath’ (starring Ajay Devgan), which I watched recently and may review in my next post, maybe alongside ‘Indian’ (starring Sunny Deol).
Ha ha... you have to watch the film to 'get' this, but it's just hilarious. And it looks even more hilarious in black-and-white for some reason.
I love this because as a kid I was told not to 'dirty my clothes' so often. I just like the way the words put across that scold-y tone.
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