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Caption Objections


Dothery
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This is going to sound unbearably fussy. But I need captions, since the sound is so iffy on my TV, and I can't always make out what's being said, especially in British movies. There should be a rule, however, that no British movie should be captioned by an American company. They just don't know the references. I just watched "Brighton Rock," the Richard Attenborough classic, and was driven nearly mad by the misheard captions. I don't know if the companies have people with earphones on or if it's a computer-generated transliteration, but to write a city as "Lester" when it's "Leicester" they're talking about, and to say "pax" is Latin for "police," and to have some silly phrase that makes no sense put in when the gangster says he's going to "scarper," is ruinous to the whole movie. I know I should be 25 again and hear everything perfectly, but I'm not, and if they're going to do captions at all they should do them right. It's not just British movies; most foreign pictures are done with egregious caption mistakes throughout.

 

There. I suffer so greatly! Thus endeth the lesson. I probably will save myself years of therapy by dishing all this here.

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That has long been a problem and it is becoming worse as the work is being done more often by software and no one checks it for accuracy.

 

A conversation in one of my favorite television programs is that a woman asks her sister if she is getting cold feet. The sister says with sarcasm: "I'm getting chilblains". The Closed Captioning is: "I'm getting chilled legs".

 

I have seen it also that changes are deliberate. There is a movie in German in which a character clearly says the 'f' word. The subtitle in English says: "Damn" and the Closed Captioning says: "Darn it".

 

I have seen it also in several Japanese television programs that the English subtitles change some of the meaning and the Closed Captioning is different also so that a person has a choice of three different things being said.

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A conversation in one of my favorite television programs is that a woman asks her sister if she is getting cold feet. The sister says with sarcasm: "I'm getting chilblains". The Closed Captioning is: "I'm getting chilled legs".

 

That's funny ... I actually like that better!

 

The one I absolutely abhorred was in a faked copy of a "Bollywood" movie. (I know Bollywood is a disgusting word to many Indian actors, but it does identify the genre.) In one adorable scene in "Mr. Natwarlal," Amitabh Bachchan, that perfectly marvelous man, is holding Rekha, the girl who has been chasing him and whose love he is finally accepting, and is rhapsodizing about how he will cover her with jewels, take her to London for their wedding and Tokyo for their honeymoon, have her hair done in America and turn her into a "stylish one" (that part in English). Then they will have a little house for his brother, his sister-in-law (customary in India to have the whole family live together), the two of them and their 40,000 kids. A beautiful bit. And the caption for most of it was "Hugging my love." I threw a (private) fit and returned the disk to the seller, telling him that I was pretty sure this was a knockoff and not the original film. He agreed and made good on it. I later got a copy of the movie with the correct subtitles.

 

Amitabh, BTW, is the cinematic icon of India. He has a blog which he's used for three years now to communicate with his fans, since he's too famous to go out among people (he'd be torn to pieces by fans, and that's not an exaggeration) and couldn't get to them any other way. He was also at the mercy of the press, which would make up stories about him just to please their editors, and he would correct them, but they wouldn't print his corrections, and would edit THOSE. So the blog answered many problems for him. He's very accessible privately to all of us, howeer, and people I know have been invited to his house to meet him. I would say he was the principal cinema star in India for about 30 years. He's still active in movies and TV, currently the host of the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?" as well as being an semi-ambassador for the country in many capacities.

 

http://srbachchan.tumblr.com/

 

Scroll down and take a look at the mobs outside his house on Sunday afternoon. And this happens EVERY Sunday.

 

I have seen it also that changes are deliberate. There is a movie in German in which a character clearly says the 'f' word. The subtitle in English says: "Damn" and the Closed Captioning says: "Darn it".

 

I expect there are countries where they have to change a lot of words they wouldn't use there.

 

I have seen it also in several Japanese television programs that the English subtitles change some of the meaning and the Closed Captioning is different also so that a person has a choice of three different things being said.

 

Well, at least that's convenient. You can pick and choose.

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> {quote:title=Dothery wrote:}{quote}

>

> The one I absolutely abhorred was in a faked copy of a "Bollywood" movie. (I know Bollywood is a disgusting word to many Indian actors, but it does identify the genre.)

>

 

Nice to see you're a fan of Indian cinema...

I don't mind watching Indian cinema at all - either with or without English subtitles...

 

The TV I watch is too ancient to see the closed captioning, but I do use that feature when visiting a relative's to watch films late at night (I'm a night owl) after all have retired for the night.

Have to be quiet as a mouse and closed captioning helps with that.

So I have a limited experience with it and have noticed some humorous things too - funny words and also typos. Special effects are also put into words too and that can be funny... But it must be tough to do the closed captioning and get everything right.

Oh well....

Apparently one outfit does all closed captioning: The National Captioning Institute:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Captioning_Institute

 

Website here: http://www.ncicap.org/home.html

 

As for subtitles, sometimes mistakes are made. And some foreign slang must be tough to translate into English while conveying the correct meaning... Translation is an art and not simply converting verbatim word for word.

 

Ideally, you should watch a foreign film in the original language it was made in. Subtitles should be unneccesary.

And for people watching a foreign film who understand the language, subtitles can be a downright distraction and be annoying.

But most people don't understand a second or third (or more) language and so subtitles in English are required. I don't understand Hindi or Mandarin or Cantonese and so am at the mercy of English subtitles for Indian and Chinese films...

 

As an aside, I find it funny when people on TCM look down on channels that have commercials like AMC... They say movies are meant to be seen commercial-free and so are a bit snooty (Not directed as anybody in particular. Heaven forbid anybody on TCM Message Board is anything but humble...) regarding TV with commercial breaks, yet most of the same people require English subtitles to understand a foreign film. It's ironic as foreign films should be viewed in their own native language, without needing subtitles. Subtitles can be as annoying and distracting as TV commercials.

And I'm sure there are snooty people who look down on those who need English subtitles to understand a film...

But I'm not one of those...

I can understand a few foreign languages and so can generally understand what is happening without English subtitles, but I realize not all have language skills and require the subtitles...

Just like some people don't mind TV channels with commercials during films...

Everybody is different...

 

Anyway, the Code of Good Subtitling Practice here:

 

http://www.esist.org/ESIST%20Subtitling%20code_files/Code%20of%20Good%20Subtitling%20Practice_en.pdf

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RMeingast, thanks for the information and the commentary. Sadly (or should I say malheureusement), I don't speak other languages, except a little Japanese, and I can't read that, so I do have to rely on subtitles.

 

I love Indian movies. They're silly sometimes but that's the attraction for me. All that singing and dancing in every situation, no matter how gloomy, cheers me up. I remember one Amitabh Bachchan movie where they even had music in a prison break! It was to cover the breakout and all the prisoners were singing and dancing all over the prison. Crazy. He got out, of course.

 

I love CC for the same reason you do. I had a bed and breakfast for a long time, and I'm a night owl too, so I had to have the captions so as to unwind quietly when I was trying to go to sleep and not annoy the guests.

 

Another of my interests is opera, so subtitles are essential there. I'm beginning to learn some Italian through following operas written in it, but I'm not very good yet. I can follow some of the French captions for movies made there, but again I'm not good at it yet. I haven't tried any German operas, since I really am not fond of them.

 

My dilemma with TVs is that they're not all the same, and sometimes you can't turn the captions OFF and are forced to have them on whether you like it or not. I'm on the horns of an unfixable dilemma there.

 

Aloha!

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There, now, see what I mean? I was watching "Murder Ahoy" a while ago, with Margaret Rutherford doing her usual masterful job as Miss Marple, when I was jarred by a caption referring to the background music as "Jig playing," when any fool could tell it was "The Sailor's Hornpipe." Jig, indeed!

 

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Last night during DRACULA'S DAUGHTER, one cop said to the other "OK, I'll take a look" but the caption read "I'll take a loo."

 

Considering that they were British cops, the error takes on a whole new meaning.

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Last night during DRACULA'S DAUGHTER, one cop said to the other "OK, I'll take a look" but the caption read "I'll take a loo."

 

Considering that they were British cops, the error takes on a whole new meaning.

 

 

 

 

 

I'll say it does ...

 

Concerning that, have you seen an old Bill Murray movie called "The Man Who Knew Too Little?" It's one of my favorites, and I rerun it from time to time just to hear him saying to the captive heroine, "Off to the loo with ya," when she asks if she can go. There's much mixup about the loo and about flushing. He plays a visiting American who gets mixed up in a real spy plot when he thinks he's in live theater, moving around London to get clues, find letters, etc. A hilarious picture, very well done. Everyone should see it. Provided they like Bill Murray, that is.

 

Edited by: Dothery on Dec 2, 2012 12:08 AM

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No, I haven't seen that Bill Murray film, but it's not because I'm stuck in the past. Just one of his films that I didn't manage to catch yet. But I'll move it up on my list based on your recommendation.

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