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Advantages and Disadvantages of Subtitles - Napisy - za i przeciw

Autor /charlottefal Dodano /29.12.2006

Due to the globalization of our cultures and the fact that Hollywood is the leading film ?producer?, which therefore results in the fact that most videos on the market are in English, there need to be some ways of adapting those films into target audience?s language. That is the reason why dubbing, voice-over and subtitles were created. We are now going to focus on subtitles, which are the topic of this essay.
Subtitles are used not only in films, but also in foreign television shows, or to translate those parts of the dialogs in films, which are conducted in other than the target audience?s language. Subtitles can, for example, translate speech, signs, letters and ?show sounds? to aid the deaf and hard of hearing.
First of all, what I find the greatest advantage of subtitles is the fact that it preserves the original audio track. Thanks to subtitles, the characters speak with their ?original? voice, and the ambience sounds are not disrupted by voice-over or inserted dubbing recordings. Secondly, it would be strange to watch a film on feudal Japan, like in the movie ?Shinobi? (2005) by Ten Shimoyama, while the presented ?shinobis? talk to each in pure sophisticated English with Received Pronounciation or in nearly literary German.
Another advantage is the fact that in subtitles the focus is put on the speech act. Therefore the intentions and effects of the conducted dialog are more important than lexical elements, which gives the subtitler some linguistic freedom. That is why when we have American English: ?You?re kidding, right? Who can understand that shit?? in the film ?War?(2007) we get Polish: ?Jaja sobie robisz? A kto by zrozumiał jego gdakanie??, where the stress is shifted from the witness statement itself to the witness speaking a different language.
Moreover, besides preserving the audio track and giving some freedom of interpretation, subtitles can also serve as an aid not only for the deaf and hard of hearing, but also for people who learn the language, who need visual aid aside from audio input. This is used in the English subtitles of English films, so besides written dialogs in the film ?Love, actually? (2003) by Richard Curtis we also get captions like ?[telephone ringing]? or ?[people clapping]?.
On the other hand, subtitles are limited both in time and space. An average subtitle consists of one or two lines of text, maximum 35 characters each. This limitation combined with the fact that on subtitle is at most displayed for four seconds gives us hard time to convey long utterances in dialogs.
Another disadvantage is the fact that subtitles are mainly aiming at literate people with reading skills developed to a high extent. It is required from people to read quick enough and to not only concentrate on the subtitles, but also the image above and behind the subtitles, and often requires from them to use both skills simultaneously.
Finally, whenever you do not know what it is all about, it is about the money. The truth is that subtitles are the simplest and the cheapest way of introducing translation into a film.
Of course, since not all people in Poland are highly literate or motivated enough to ?read the film?, television stations introduced, much cheaper than dubbing, method of translation, namely voice-over. Moreover, subtitling is also the fastest way people can adapt films into target culture language, even at home and with home equipment, which is why most of the illegally copied films ?flowing around? on the Internet are with subtitles.
All in all, subtitles have both advantages and disadvantages and it depends on the individual likes and dislikes, whether to choose this or other method of input of translation. Personally, I prefer subtitles, because of the fact that they preserve the original audio track and therefore the authenticity of a film.

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