Subtitles Raided!


Undertexter subtitle translation site raided by police

Whoa!! I saw this article a few months back and found it in my drafts.  Subtitles? Police raid? Pretty melodramatic title, I was immediately intrigued. Were doors broken down? Linguistically-minded Internet rights hippies thrown from their wheely chairs, coffee mugs flying, handcuffed on the floor? Were they interrogated under the harsh light of their Mac Book Pros?

I’ll be honest, I don’t watch a whole lot of TV or movies in subtitles, I mean, I am an American 😉 But I remember my  roommate, Alisia, talking about how there are certain Italian websites that work day and night to crank out subtitled versions of TV shows to put online for viewers almost as soon as the show is broadcasted. Apparently Undertexter is a similar site and Rick Falkvinge, founder of Sweden’s Pirate Party (cool) explains, “Fan-subbing is a thriving culture which usually provides better-than-professional subtitles for new episodes with less than 24 hours of turnaround, whereas the providers of the original cartoon or movie can easily take six months or more”. Six months or more? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Copyright shmopyright. I remember devouring the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series during one Spring break and scouring the Internet for the Swedish films with English subtitles. This was three years before the American version came out and the books had just blown up, so I had to resort to some rather hack version with horribly translated subtitles, but I had just finished the books so I had a good idea of everything that was going on. The David Fincher movie was great but the Swedish ones were very badass even despite my language barrier.

I’m pro-subtitles and anti-dubbing. Dubbing is stupid and frustrating to watch. It’s like when you’re streaming a show to your computer and the audio is a second or two behind. How do you think all these Scandinavians speak such good English anyway? Everything is subtitled and they’re able to just listen to English all the time (or just when they’re watching TV) . I wish they would subtitle the Spanish soap operas on Univision. Sometimes (well, when we had cable), I’d just sit and watch them, trying to figure out what was going on amidst all the rolled r’s and slo-mo entrances. Some subtitles could really have helped my Spanish!

Obviously the language that a movie is made is is extremely important to the movie itself. Which is why it’s so ridiculous that movies which take place in the olden days in foreign countries always have actors with British accents – they didn’t speak cockney in medieval France! But anyway. I saw the most terrifying and twisted movie, Funny Games, originally an Austrian film but then remade frame-by-frame for an American audience with Noami Watts. I found the movie ten times more scary in German and this could be due to the harsh, gutteral sounds of German being shouted by a pair of psychotic young, eerily handsome Austrian serial killers torturing a poor family on vacation. Very f*cked up movie.

Anyway, let the kids translate their shows. If you can’t translate fast enough, then you have no one to blame for yourself the fact that people are taking it into their own hands. Don’t be so dramatic. Speaking of…

About alicestockwellegan

Language and culture enthusiast from New York living in San Francisco.
This entry was posted in Articles, Just for Fun, Multilingualism, Musings, TV Shows, Uncategorized, Videos and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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