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THE TROUBLE WITH BAD SUBTITLES

is that if left unattended they screw up your kid’s English to the point of no return. Don belief? 🙂 It used to be that teachers and parents were concerned that the SMS revolution was going to have a profound and permanent effect on how kids spelt words because they were shortening words to type quicker. Then pirated movies flooded the market and it got out of control. Without any scientific study and evidence to back my suspicious, I have a feeling subtitles have a subliminal effect on the viewer. You tend to go along with it subconsciously. Just think of the opportunity here when your little ones are taking in the words they see on TV and it all starts at an early age. And it starts with a popular title such as Over The Hedge …

The problem does not go away when they’re older. Like pimples to a teenager, bad subtitles continue to flood every home including popular titles such as Camp Rock

https://shimworld.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/subtitles-01.jpg

https://shimworld.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/subtitles-02.jpg

including The Transporter 3 …

https://shimworld.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/subtitles-03.jpg

Too Fast Too Furious …

and all the way into adulthood with Hitch!

So you see, bad subtitles and bootlegged movies are now a way of modern life and you thought that your Indonesian or Filipino maid’s language skills were shockingly bad (for the children). It’s hard to tell which syndicate is responsible for this crap and it doesn’t help that parents continue to let their kids watch DVDs that do not help or encourage proper use of the language. Most of these DVDs come with multi language subtitles and I wonder if the others are just as bad.

I’ve noticed that some players turn on subtitles by default while others do not. Given a choice, I’d rather the kids watch the Cartoon Network on satellite TV where it’s inherently safer (in moderation).

What has been an on-going challenge for IP enforcement agencies against software piracy, bootlegged DVDs is and should now be on the radar of Ministry of Education as well.

12 thoughts on “THE TROUBLE WITH BAD SUBTITLES

  1. I never have problems with original DVDs as the subtitles are exactly what is being said on-screen. With Bluray, the subtitles are perfect 🙂

    The only time subtitle presents a problem is when the DVD is obtained through dubious means 😛

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  2. Even pirated DVDs has got different grades if you know what I mean. I never had such problems before. I notice pirated DVDs from China has got such problems!

    Buy original!

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  3. hahaha that is why i always switch it off when i watch any dvd’s. the problem now, is when they have these horribly absurd subtittles in cinemas n u cant switch it off. haha.

    want to have own cool? haha the horror! there goes my years of english down the drain haha.

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  4. lol that’s so funny! yeah.. i really hate reading bad subtitles.. that’s why i don’t watch chinese dvds anymore.. unless they’re originals or shown on the big screen!

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  5. Let us not forget the intentional bastardization/corruption of the English language with mainstream songs like “In the Ayer” (is that the song name?). Accidentally making mistakes is forgivable especially since these subtitles are done in places where English is not their first language. But deliberate misspelling adds even more complications and confusion. Text/SMS word contractions which students end up using in actual English compositions are another issue as well

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  6. one of the main reasons bootleg DVD’s are rampant in malaysia is the price of the originals.. a DVD-9 original would cost easily RM 39.90 – 79 per disc ! (new movies), but a pirated one costs RM 8 anytime, new or old movies. The recording companies wanna take in hefty profits as well as taxes, so it’s become ‘unaforadble’ for many. Comparing to our neighbours Singapore, a DVD costs somewhere between SGD 8-25 per disc..

    well..if we equate that dollar for dollar and you’re living in Singapore..hell yea..Originals rock and anyone could afford it.

    BTW – bootleg subtitles add humour to the movie…hahaha..

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  7. that is why i always switch it off when i watch any dvd’s. the problem now, is when they have these horribly absurd subtittles in cinemas n u cant switch it off. haha.

    I do that too and though it’s just one button to toggle the subtitles, I do appreciate the Sony player that leaves it off by default (I suspect this may be an option on the Philips too). But bad subtitles in theaters just brings this episode to a whole new level

    Accidentally making mistakes is forgivable especially since these subtitles are done in places where English is not their first language. But deliberate misspelling adds even more complications and confusion.

    Situations like this (intentional misspelling) just blurs the line between poetic license and sheer carelessness or intentional abuse, doesn’t it? The music industry is I think and many would agree the biggest culprit with overly creative use of words but that’s another story.

    Just buy original movies, It does not have to be that expensive.

    You’re right. Original movies are inexpensive and many worthy, collectible blockbusters can be purchased at heavily discounted prices. EXCEPT, original movies cannot be found in stores here. We’ve earned quite a reputation for our efforts in encouraging “social integration” through rampant and open sales of bootleg DVDs.

    Enforcement agencies have had little success in curbing what is considered a big gray (or grey) area as far as what is right or wrong. All I say is this is so wrong that it’s so right! 🙂

    Coming back to the business of buying original, while it’s true you can buy a lot of original titles online, the process and logistics of doing so isn’t as straightforward as one might think—there’s the issue of censorship quarantine (if it comes through the post office). Sending them via courier is costly and we [are] talking about affordability of original titles.

    Personally, I prefer to watch movies in the cinema. I enjoy being immersed myself in the larger-than-life screen and also the pop corns (when they’re hot and crispy). Unfortunately, the only cinema in town stopped operating. Venturing a guess, I suspect that has something to do with the business not making much sense (or cents) considering sales of bootleg dvds overwhelms ticket sales by a huge margin. People often ask, what do you people do at night? The country is so quiet after hours—I’ll venture another guess that those DVD sales has something to do with what we plan to do with them after work! The rest of us with kids have other kinds of responsibilities … let’s just say watching movies (if we’re fortunate) would be a weekend thing.

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  8. Comparing to our neighbours Singapore, a DVD costs somewhere between SGD 8-25 per disc..

    True. I noticed this too when I was in Singapore last December. Lots of sales and even boxed DVD sets were attractively priced. Limited Edition discs such as Kung Fu Panda included a free Panda memorabilia and there was another title I cannot remember, it offered another collectible from the movie.

    well..if we equate that dollar for dollar and you’re living in Singapore..hell yea..Originals rock and anyone could afford it.

    Well, I don’t live in Singapore but I’ve worked with them for over a decade and many had mistaken me for one. I guess what I’m trying to say is that perhaps a higher calling gave them this privilege. A nation that prides itself of highly skilled workforce and vigilant economy always comes with a certain price tag—busy bees that are STRESSED OUT! So affordable movies is a way of creating balance in their lives.

    BTW – bootleg subtitles add humour to the movie…hahaha..

    It would quite something to have viewers LOL to Titanic, Poseidon and the likes, completely alters the mood and turns a blockbuster into a Disaster Movie! Hahah

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    1. Yeah, it’s highly unlikely that the Ministry would try to fix a problem whose origin stems from illegal piracy. That’s a whole different language altogether!

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