Monday, December 10, 2007


The best thing about Portugal, at least a definite advantage it has over several countries, is that imported TV shows are subtitled, rather than dubbed.

This is a huge boon for the Brit abroad, as all he has to do is open his ears to the telly, while he can focus the rest of his mind on something else (such as writing a blog post). It's also a useful way of picking up some Portuguese - I'm always intrigued by the way things are translated and learning while watching TV is always to be encouraged.

However, I am a little worried that corners are being cut in the subtitling programme and that the Portuguese viewer is not always getting the real message. The occasional rephrasing for reasons of brevity can be excused, with unnecessary details omitted so that the main message can be conveyed quickly on the screen. Some things, though, ought really to be universally recognised with no difficulty.

I ask you, in a documentary about the Beatles, can this really be excused?

"Lionel Rigby"


Anonymous said...

So when I lived in the Isles of Scilly I could have been 'Lionel of Lyonesse'!

mediamovers said...


Dubbing/Subtitling are integral part of cultural transfer between all countries.

Most countries prefer subtitling over dubbing but now it is most preferred also for Deaf communityin form of Closed-Captioning.Same language subtitling(SLS) is one of essential way to educate people.

Quality of subtitles is not improving due to the high volumes involved & availability of experienced hands to work on them.

Often the studios employ/contract ametuers who just cut/paste rather than creating a flow of story.

There are research for automating the entire process & it should be interesting to watch the results then.

Media Movers, Inc.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Similar set-up over here.

jmb said...

I remember going to a movie house in Amsterdam to see an English film with subtitles but the Dutch people talked all the way through it since they were reading the subtitles and we couldn't hear a thing. Never did that again.

It is a bit obvious that you are missing something when someone talks for a couple of sentences and three words appear as the subtitle.

Phil A said...

"It is a bit obvious that you are missing something when someone talks for a couple of sentences and three words appear as the subtitle."

Is it though?

It often seems that you can say stuff much more succinctly in some languages than others.

Take the Japanese martial arts stuff of the 70s. The Japanese dialog seemed to run to the verbose, by comparison the subtitles, or dubbing.

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