Subtitling: Like it or Loathe it?

Subtitles alphabet square on wooden background.

Subtitling: Like it or Loathe it?

Subtitling or voiceover / dubbing? It’s a bit of a ‘Marmite’ dilemma – some love it but others feel quite differently. Some may loathe subtitles based on having to split their attention between actors and the onscreen text. They would rather watch the faces, but the appearance of changing text distracts them. It’s quite difficult to avoid reading captions when they are on the screen; when they change, they draw the eye away from the action.

Some native speakers LOVE subtitles

On the other hand, many people prefer watching videos with subtitles even if they don’t have to. A quick search reveals that many people turn captions on when they’re watching TV shows or movies, even if they are native speakers of the original language. Subtitles can be helpful in instances such as: when the audio of the movie is distorted by sound effects like music or explosions, when the dialogue is fast-paced or difficult to follow or when the movie features regional accents which you may not understand. Subtitling helps us to understand, absorb and experience it better.

How can subtitling translation benefit me?

 In our experience, watching movies with subtitles can improve your language skills, especially in comparison to what you would learn whilst watching a film that is dubbed. According to Clear Words Translations , “Good subtitling shows the written translation of what actors say in real time. You get to hear the message and immediately read its significance. This way, you have higher chances of catching some new words in a foreign language and improving pronunciation”.   

Why should I watch a French movie in my native tongue dubbed, instead of familiarising myself with a beautiful, different language? In contrast to why some people might hate subtitles, this is the exact reason why others might love it. Subtitles increase your reading speed and listening comprehensions, growing your vocabulary and improving word recognition and grammar.

Subtitles allow us to watch movies and video content from across the globe. Time and time again, people have expressed to me that they have been able to significantly boost their language skills by watching back-to-back episodes of a popular TV series or by listening to music. If you have an interest in improving your language skills, incorporate movies with subtitles into your learning experience whilst picking up the sounds of another language.

So, how do you feel about subtitles? Do you like them or loathe them? Let us know on the poll!

If you feel you need support with subtitling or voiceover services, find out more about what Dialogue has to offer today. 

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