ITGS Syllabus

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Topic 87

Multilingual selection possibilities of CDs and DVDs. by Chirag

Today whenever we buy a CD or DVD movie, it always comes with an option of subtitles. Subtitles are textual versions of the dialogue in films and television program’s, usually displayed at the bottom of the screen. They can either be a form of written translation of a dialogue in a foreign language or a written rendering of the dialogue in the same language - with or without added information intended to help viewers with hearing disabilities to follow the dialogue.

Same language captions, i.e., without translation, are primarily intended as an aid for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Subtitles in the same language as the dialogue are sometimes edited for reading speed and better readability. This is especially true if they cover a situation where many people are speaking at the same time or speech is much unstructured, as the human brain has difficulty absorbing unstructured written text quickly.

Although same-language subtitles and captions are produced primarily with the deaf and hard-of-hearing in mind, many hearing film and television viewers choose to use them. This is often done, because the presence of closed captioning and subtitles ensures that not one word of dialogue will be missed. Films and television shows often have subtitles displayed in the same language, if the speaker has a speech disability and/or an accent. In addition, captions may further reveal information that would be difficult to pick up on otherwise. Some examples of this would be the song lyrics; dialogue spoken quietly or by those with unfamiliar accents; or supportive, minor dialogue from background characters. It is argued that such additional information and detail will enhance the overall experience and allow the viewer a better grasp on the material.

Other benefits of putting subtitles in a movie disc are that you can turn them on or off whenever you want to so that they don’t become a disturbance in the movie. As stated above if the subtitles are in the same language, like in some Hollywood movies they have English subtitles is for the people who know English but want to improve it by listening to the dialogs as well as reading the subtitles. Also for the people who are hard of hearing can better understand the movie with the captions which tell them what is currently happening in the movie. For example, if there is a siren heard, it appears in captions at the bottom and that tells the deaf person what is going on in the scene.

Earlier when there used to be subtitles of different languages in the same movie; they had the problem that they won’t work in other regions. But now they are region free DVD players and recorders which can play DVDs from any region.

The person putting the subtitles in may translate both form and meaning. He may also choose to display a note in the subtitles, usually in parentheses (). This allows that person to preserve form and achieve an acceptable reading speed, by leaving the note on the screen, even after the character has finished speaking, to both preserve form and allow for understanding. For example, the Japanese language has multiple first-person pronouns (see Japanese pronouns), and using one instead of another implies a different degree of politeness. In order to compensate, when translating to English, he may reformulate the sentence, add appropriate words and/or use notes.

Some of the people who put subtitles in movies purposely provide edited subtitles or captions, to match the needs of their audience, for learners of the spoken dialogue as a second or foreign language, visual learners, beginning readers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and for people with learning and/or mental disabilities. For example, for many of its films and television program’s, it first displays standard captions representing what is being said in the program audio, word-for-word, if the viewer selects "CC1", by using the television remote control or on-screen menu, however, they also provide edited captions to present simplified sentences at a slower rate, if the viewer selects "CC2".

Also the problems with subtitles is that its hard for people to watch the movie while reading at the same time which then make the movie hard to concentrate on.


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