Subtitles [177/365]

All of my life I’ve lived with subtitles on TV. That’s what happens when you live in a small country and a small language. I never reflected upon them before I left.

When I’d been here for a few weeks, it dawned on me how thankful I was for subtitles … how much they’ve meant for my English learning experience (and all my fellow Swedes). My first five years in Canada, I lived in Quebec. Even though we never watched French TV, I came across it every now and then, noticing how everything was dubbed into French. If that had been the way back home in Sweden, I doubt I’d known as much English as I did when I left. Idioms, in particular.

What made me think of subtitles now was the great news that we’ve got the second season of The Bridge [Broen] on Netflix. We watched the two, first episodes last night.

There, they speak Swedish and Danish. I can’t understand spoken Danish, so there I have to read the subtitles. This happens automatically … it’s not something I think about. As soon as they speak Swedish, it’s as if subtitles are turned off in my head, in a split second. Nowadays though, since I live in Canada, a third language comes into play … the subtitles are in English, needlessย to say.

I don’t know if I was a little tired last night, while watching, all those little neurones didn’t jump as quickly as usual between the synapses in my brain — several times I found myself confused when I saw English words in the subtitles where I guess I expected Swedish ones. For example, he was asking, in Danish, at the front desk, whether there was any mail for him. I read, and had time to think; โ€œthey wrote mail in Englishโ€ LOL. Total confusion.

Now, this didn’t take anything away from the joy of watching Saga and Martin again. We have eight wonderful episodes to look forward to. I think we have the third season too, but I know Martin won’t be in it, which is a shame. It’s the interaction between those two that adds so much to this series. Kim Bodnia (Martin Rhode) has left the show altogether now, unfortunately.

20 Replies to “Subtitles [177/365]”

  1. Subtitles are always preferable to dubbing, I think. When I watch a TV show that is dubbed from English into Czech, I can’t help cringing at the awful translation because I can make quite an informed guess what the original dialogues were. I’m sure the translators do as well as they can, but it ruins the watching for me.

    I watch The Bridge with dubbing, and it still sounds very strange, even though in this case I don’t know the original languages. Dubbed TV sounds so unnatural and clumsy. I see there are three seasons of The Bridge so far, well, better than nothing, but after a few episodes of the first season, I’m totally hooked and could do with even more. It won’t be so good without Martin though. A show inevitably falls apart when you take out a main character.

    It’s no surprise that you get confused with all the languages, especially in this entangled case! I find myself invariably shocked when I see that something is in Czech – usually some regional app that doesn’t exist in English version, like my local public transport app – I struggle with my own mother tongue and pretty much try to avoid it whenever I can. I’m not sure what happened to me that I’m more comfortable with English than Czech.

    1. I once saw one episode of Dallas, dubbed into German! I laughed myself silly ๐Ÿ™‚ When something’s part and parcel of your growing up, you just never think about it — it’s just there.

      The only show I’ve seen, that has survived after taking out one of the main characters, is Homeland. I never expected it to do that, after Brody was gone, but it sure did … big time.

      I never had the iPhone while I lived in Sweden, so I haven’t come across any app in my mother tongue. The one I want isn’t in the Canadian App Store.

      English is so rich in words and expressions so it’s easy to get comfortable after a while ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I can’t say why but the idea of Dallas in German amuses me too. Wait, Brody leaves Homeland? Hm. I was watching this show but abandoned it for The Bridge. I admit that while Homeland is well done, I don’t enjoy it very much. Perhaps it will be better if I try to find the original English sound instead of dubbed sound. English strikes me as quite a rich language too, despite evil tongues claiming that it’s limited / simple / reductive. I don’t think so.

        1. Brody leaves at one point, yes. Strangely enough, it almost got even better afterwards … perhaps because they were almost close to current events, sort of. I didn’t expect that.

  2. Me too about dubbed programmes – especially if I know the voice of the person who is being dubbed. I bought the DVD of Pierot le Fou a while back and eventually treated myself to watching it. Aaaargh – Jean-Paul Belmondo with a strange voice. No, no, just no.

    I think we are up to date with the Bridge – but with the international audience watching it – maybe we are behind? What is the theme of the current series for you?

    I thought the treatment of Rhode and the way he was affected by events was well done and it was risky territory for a TV series – no one likes to think of the good guys going crazy.

    1. Exactly! Like I said to Mara, how I’d watched Dallas dubbed into German. I was used to hearing Larry Hagman’s voice as J.R. Ewing, and to listen to a German instead — it just sounded hilarious.

      We’re watching the 2nd season, and have the 3rd too. So far, I find it very well done, he’s slowly going there. Have you seen the interview with Kim Bodnia on Israeli TV?

  3. I actually like using the subtitles – in English – when I’m watching Netflix while riding the bike indoors on the trainer. The trainer can get kind of noisy and I don’t like the TV loud, so the subtitles fill the gaps when I didn’t quite hear what they said. It works for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I’ve never thought of this before. Although I do remember the day I discovered TV had sound as well as being images! Now I watch a little bit on Netflix and sometimes with subtitles in Spanish or English to help me learn this new beautiful language.

    1. I don’t remember the numbers … how high the percentage is for foreign languages on Swedish TV (mainly English), but it’s very high. So I’m thankful for subtitles ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. yeah, I can imagine. I only ever see TV here, the odd time, in a restaurant but I imagine people here are able to watch with subtitles or, in today’s world, they have a way of watching TV from the US.

  5. There is another sort of subtitle – that intended for the deaf. My dear DH insists that he isn’t deaf – but that no-one speaks clearly any more……. ! These subtitles are on all the time – regardless of language – and cover the most important part of the screen. They vary in their positioning, top, middle, bottom, but you can guarantee that they will cover whatever the programme is about. For example, a cooking programme with the subtitles directly over the hands of the chef! I’ll continue to not watch ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Wow, that sounds … different! Haven’t seen them. One thing about them here, as opposed to back home; here they don’t have black background. This means that when the picture is white or very light, it’s impossible to read them anyway.

  6. I LOVE subtitles. period! I can watch Oriental, Korean & East Indian movies & KNOW what is being said. Subtitling has opened up a whole new world for me.

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