To watch or to read

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Web of words Reading subtitles might rob you of an opportunity to watch Spidey’s acrobatic leaps
Web of words Reading subtitles might rob you of an opportunity to watch Spidey’s acrobatic leaps

The trend of subtitling English movies on telly has its pros and cons, writes NEETI SARKAR

Love it or hate it, it is something you’ve got to live with now that the trend is catching up big time. For almost a year now, most English movie channels have been subtitling English movies they broadcast. While HBO, Star Movies and Zee Studio were among the first to introduce English subtitles, PIX has now joined the bandwagon.

The primary reason why channels seem to have initiated subtitles in English films is so that the viewers don’t miss out on any portion of the movie because of their inability to comprehend a foreign accent. Also, in movies that use dialects, subtitling a movie helps the audience follow it better. Yet there are quite a few people who feel subtitling in English movies is distracting and is rather unnecessary.

Engineering student Prakash Damodar says, “Watching an English movie with subtitles is pointless as I find myself reading the movie instead of watching it. In the bargain, I actually miss out on the important or enthralling parts of it.”

Domino effect

For his father, Pramod Damodar, 55, “Subtitles are a nuisance. It is natural to read what one sees but I can’t read them fast enough so invariably lose out on what has just been said and I end up asking my wife or my son what just happened. This in turn irritates them.”

Many of us multitask in front of the television, either finishing off an assignment or chopping a string of French beans. In such cases, subtitles don’t exactly serve their purpose.

According to Content Writer Vidushi Goel, “The one thing about subtitling a movie is that if it’s in another dialect, the translation in English is terrible. And if you happen to know that language, you’re either exasperated at the appalling job done out of the subtitles or the subtitles manage to leave you in splits, even if it’s a horror movie that you have been watching!”

However, on the flipside, there seems to be an equally large number of people who think subtitles in movies have solved a host of problems. Andre D’Coutho, a broadcast media student feels, “At first, subtitles can be distracting but one gets used to it soon enough. Personally, I enjoy world cinema, therefore, having subtitles is my saving grace.”

Preksha Raman, a student of literature states, “Being the kind of person who does not want to miss out on any dialogue in a movie, subtitles are a kind of backup I rely on. Also, there are instances of the background music or special effects overpowering the dialogue.At times like this, subtitles are a blessing.”

While there are those for and against subtitling, it would be nice if movie channels gave the viewer the option of switching off subtitles like on a DVD. That way everyone would be happy.


Subtitles help follow the action if the dialogues are in dialect

They are irritating if not done properly and are a distraction too




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