Subtitles Required

The following blog was originally posted from my old blog, The Geejay Journal:

Back in the days when I had to drive by car back and forth between Melbourne and Canberra, I usually stopped by at the Sundowner Paddlesteamer Lodge in Albury for the night. They had cable TV so I was able to watch Discovery Channel again.

Anyway, this one time I was watching Discovery Channel, they had this feature about this Filipina health worker working in East Asia (I forgot which country). Anyway, she spoke in English for the show, though with a thick Filipino accent, and she got subtitles whenever she spoke. I actually found it funny that the producers thought that there might be westerners who may not understand her brand of English.

Another time, I watched an ABC program called Global Village and it featured a segment regarding Filipinos taking up house in Manila cemeteries because they have nowhere else to live. In interviews, the locals would reply in English but again, they had subtitles whenever they spoke. I thought the Filipino accent wasn’t that thick.

I am now feeling that maybe I need subtitles of my own when I talk to Australians. They seem to understand me clearly enough though. They do tell me that I have an American accent and they guessed that maybe I lived in the US for a while or something. I just tell them that it was because of my Americanesque education we get in the Philippines, with our country being a wanna-be US state and all. That and we were colonised by the Americans back in the early 20th century.

Anyway, one day was watching this American series showing a non-city dwelling family (I forgot which US state they reside in but I thought their accent was a bit southern) and they too got subtitles when they spoke. Now that was funny. I thought I understood them quite clearly (without any effort in trying to understand them, in fact) yet they have subtitles. Weird.

I’m not sure if it was the Americans themselves that put the subtitles there or the Australian broadcasting company that showed the series. In any case, I don’t feel as insulted as before when they subtitled my fellow Filipinos after that.

On the topic of insulting subtitles, I found this very funny video news feed that was supposedly taken in Iraq. Watch it now. It’s a 1mb file though so if you don’t have broadband, it may take a while to load.

Finally, I just like to say that I have nothing against subtitles personally. Whenever Raquel and I watch DVDs, we usually turn on the subtitles just to make sure we don’t miss any words. Since we are both fast readers, the subtitles don’t really bother us. We think it actually helps us understand the show better.

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Published in: on September 28, 2004 at 11:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

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