View Full Version : Thank the powers for books, closed captions on life

01-15-2008, 11:31 PM
My apologies if this is a repeat thread.

My sister and I are deaf, her since birth and me for the last eight years after twenty years hard-of-hearing. Used to be, old silent movies and foreign films with subtitles were the best chances we had to figure what happened verbally on-screen.

Even now, I have to go to another city (Tuesdays and Wednesdays only) to see current films with words on the big screen.

I usually wait for the DVD. They’ve steadily improved captioning so it’s not like some local news channels which employ monkeys to post flickers of hieroglyphics, horribly delayed and misspelled.

In fact, most DVDs offer both closed captions (requiring a player with a decoder keyed to a single language) and subtitles in several languages.

Some advantages to subtitles are they are not presented in a block, and you can see picture in between letters and words. You may pause them if you miss a line; pausing closed captions makes them disappear. Subtitles are generally word-for-word and spelled as spoken, whereas closed captioners tend to paraphrase and use "gonna," "wanna," and "should of," even for Queen Elizabeth’s dialogue.

Some hearing viewers can’t stand 'em, but they're such a boon for movie buffs who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. What’s your take?

01-15-2008, 11:41 PM
I'm not deaf, but I seriously appreciate subtitles on movies where ACTORS MUMBLE. Or whisper. I just watched "Rescue Dawn" and both my husband and I needed the subtitles on for the entire movie. 90% of the dialogue is whispering between characters.

I also like to watch a lot of foreign films, and I hate dubbing, so subtitles work well there too.

I am not sure I understand closed captioning, though. I was under the impression that closed captioning was used mainly for live TV (or for TV in general). I didn't know DVDs had it too. What's the benefit of closed captioning over subtitles? I mean, these days subtitles include auditory cues as well (ie "laughs" or "explosion" or "music").

01-15-2008, 11:42 PM
I'm only slightly hard of hearing, but we frequently make use of subtitles simply because an actor's momentarily low volume or weak diction (or nearby explosions and barroom brawls) can easily make the viewer miss or misinterpret a word or line.

Some movies are subtitled perfectly, right down to the type of music playing or the nature of the background noise in a scene. Others skip phrases or short sentences the actors spoke, but still deliver the gist of it.

Oh, and subtitles are vital for some movies where they're speaking my native tongue as it's spoken elsewhere, like Ireland or Australia. I'm so glad the option is there. In fact, that's how we started using them.

Maryn, subtitle fan

01-15-2008, 11:48 PM
I get a kick out of catching faulty English subtitles on foreign films. I think English subtitlers, whoever they may be, sometimes try to translate phrases to the English equivalents rather than translating literally. So often when I'm watching a Chinese or Japanese movie someone will use a common phrase and it will be translated totally different in English.

Oh, and that doesn't bother me as much as when the subtitler apparently thought "Oh, the English audience isn't going to get this part, I need to explain it in the subtitle." I was watching... oh gosh, the latest Chinese fantasy-kung-fu movie. Anyway the plot was supposed to be pretty subtle, and then I was catching on... and all of a sudden one of the characters says "Yes" in Chinese. The English subtitle? "So you were the one who killed so-and-so!" I was like ARGH, nobody was supposed to say that!!!

01-16-2008, 01:48 AM
A current debate rages in AllDeaf, a popular site for deafies and deaf groupies. Many are used to the closed captions presented white on a block of black background. Hmmm. Try saying those last four words fast several times. For now, as both of you noted, closed captions feature words of songs and stage notes, such as "crickets chirp."

Closed captions are holdovers from live television shows pioneered in the early ‘70s and later coded onto VHS tapes. They require a television set which decodes. Tapes with closed captions have a tiny TV somewhere on the jacket with "CC" inside. Another coder uses a small TV symbol with a spike going down like from dialogue balloons in comic books.

Cheap DVDs often have no captions. Some have closed captions or subtitles. Most have both, so you may choose what suits you.

The latest DVDs and Blu Rays feature SDH (subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) symbolized by those initials in a little small TV set. Most times those have the best features of the both captioning methods. Those DVDs may or may not have subtitles for other languages.

My girlfriend likes closed captions now and has them permanently on her home TV, despite her grandchildren’s complaints, and tossed all her VHSs and DVDs without CC. Many people scream bloody murder about words on the screen, as it can distract, as well as cover lots of action, especially on smaller sets.

I’m happy to see you’re hearies who find captions beneficial.

01-19-2008, 06:12 AM
My wife is a bit hard of hearing so we need the captioning or subtitles so she can follow the dialogue. I even got used to it and prefer to watch dvds with subtitles so I don't miss anything. Also as our landlords live above us and go to bed at 9pm it's a Godsend to have subtitles as we can have a good movie on not too loud and still follow the dialogue.