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Poll: Does your "translator's eye" make it difficult to enjoy subtitled movies?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 14:39
SITE STAFF
Mar 2

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Does your "translator's eye" make it difficult to enjoy subtitled movies?".

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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 23:39
Member (2005)
English to German
Other Mar 2

I don't watch movies because I prefer to read the book. Very translator-ish

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 06:39
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes Mar 2

Subtitles are extremely distracting and a pain to watch since I invariable proof the translation on the fly, which takes all the fun out of watching the film in the first place.

I wait until the films I want to see are available in Amazon and buy up a bunch of about 6 at a time. They're light which makes them quite reasonable to send and I can get them delivered in a matter of days via UPS.
They come with deleted scenes, interviews and other freebies which are quite entertaining, too.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:39
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Mar 2

If I know the source language, I find them distracting. Otherwise, of course I would prefer subtitles to dubbing. \

Once when I lived in Mexico I watched a James Bond movie (filmed in English) with Spanish dubbing and German subtitles. It was hilarious - it was very hard to pay attention to the movie.

I know of one movie that was filmed in two different versions: once in English and once in Norwegian - same actors, same scenes. It was the recent re-do of "Kon-Tiki." Apparently all the actors were bilingual.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 22:39
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Likewise Mar 2

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

If I know the source language, I find them distracting. Otherwise, of course I would prefer subtitles to dubbing. \


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 23:39
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Overtitled opera Mar 2

I was delighted to find the last time I went to a performance that I had such a "bad" seat that I couldn't see the overtitles.

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Texte Style
Local time: 23:39
French to English
sometimes Mar 2

Once I ended up watching a dubbed programme in French with the sub titles in French too, we just couldn't get rid of them. It was not the same translation at all, to the point that at a crucial moment, a character said "yes" but the sub-title read "no" simply because the question had been worded differently. That drove me mad!

I always insist on watching the original version and my partner needs French subtitles when it's in English. He's learned not to ask me if he doesn't understand, because then he'll be treated to a long-winded trashing of the translation.


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Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 00:39
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...
other Mar 2

I think yes, but not because of "translator's eye". I find subtitles themselves are rather distracting. A good voiceover is better, except a few justified cases, like the film "Human" by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:39
Member
German to English
+ ...
Nah Mar 2

I think I paid more attention to subtitles when I wasn't a full-time translator. They don't bother me if they are good or bad, especially as I tend to watch films on YouTube subtitled by amateurs who try their best and do it for free.

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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:39
French to German
+ ...
Other Mar 2

I prefer reading so I hardly ever watch films. I find it hard to read translated books though, especially when it's all too easy to translate them directly back into the original language because the translator was too lazy to come up with idiomatic German expressions. This does not only apply to books but magazine articles, advertising etc.

[Edited at 2017-03-02 10:02 GMT]


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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:39
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
cultural? Mar 2

Platon Danilov wrote:

I think yes, but not because of "translator's eye". I find subtitles themselves are rather distracting. A good voiceover is better, except a few justified cases, like the film "Human" by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.


How funny - I couldn't disagree more! I am with Muriel and prefer subtitles to dubbing any time.
I stop watching when a voiceover or dubbing is used to convey more than a couple of sentences in an interview.

I reckon this is probably just a matter of what you are used to - dubbing and voiceover are rare in the Netherlands, where subtitles are the norm.
In Brazil it is the reverse, and it always annoyed me when I used to live there.

Because subtitles are mostly used with English and sometimes German, I don't tend to read them and am not usually distracted or annoyed by them.


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 23:39
Member (2005)
English to German
Ssshhhht Marjolein Mar 2

do NOT divulge the secret of why Dutch people are so good at English and German!

Yes, it is the use of subtitles rather than voiceover/dubbing (which is due to the relatively small number of Dutch speakers, so the reasoning is that "expensive" voice work would not pay for itself), but you're supposed to leave the rest of the world wondering!


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:39
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
ahhhahaha yes Mar 2

Ricki Farn wrote:

do NOT divulge the secret of why Dutch people are so good at English and German!

Yes, it is the use of subtitles rather than voiceover/dubbing (which is due to the relatively small number of Dutch speakers, so the reasoning is that "expensive" voice work would not pay for itself), but you're supposed to leave the rest of the world wondering!


True....


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Nilton Junior  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:39
Member (2009)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Strongly dislike dubbing Mar 2

Marjolein Snippe wrote:

How funny - I couldn't disagree more! I am with Muriel and prefer subtitles to dubbing any time.
I stop watching when a voiceover or dubbing is used to convey more than a couple of sentences in an interview.

I reckon this is probably just a matter of what you are used to - dubbing and voiceover are rare in the Netherlands, where subtitles are the norm.
In Brazil it is the reverse, and it always annoyed me when I used to live there.

Because subtitles are mostly used with English and sometimes German, I don't tend to read them and am not usually distracted or annoyed by them.


I live in Brazil and stopped going to the movies because the nearest ones only have dubbed movies these days.

I am not a movie enthusiast, but I unconsciously picked up the habit of going to the movies whenever I travel abroad. Last time was in Amsterdam.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:39
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Only when the subtitles are terrible Mar 2

-- or when they are superimposed over other subtitles, so I can't read any of them!

This happens typically when the actors say a couple of lines in Japanese, for instance (Shogun) and there are English subtitles just there in the film. The Danish subtitles are occasionally superimposed.

It also happens with the credits, and in either case, it is very difficult to read either version.

Otherwise I am quite good at ignoring subtitles when I don't need them. As a rule, I have a great respect for the translators who produce them - the Danish translators often find really good solutions to the limitations of space or the puns and word-play.

I make use of the subtitles for the deaf when watching German films - my school German does not always catch spoken dialect, and being able to read it enables me to understand it. The same with Norwegian and Swedish films - I can only understand what is said with subtitles as a help!

I hate dubbing as a rule. It sounds artificial, and I have to admit, I don't always catch all the subtleties in German!

[Edited at 2017-03-02 17:05 GMT]


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