Posted by: markfender | May 27, 2014


Subtitles are sort of divisive.

handbrake-subtitlesIf I’m watching a foreign film, I want subtitles over dubbing. Which I think most people agree with, at least, the sort of people that would seek out a foreign film. I’m sure there’s a portion of the audience that doesn’t, and so they might not have an opinion. I don’t know.

I don’t get the weird relationship Hollywood has with subtitles. For instance, I saw Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon in the theater when it came out. A full theater read the entire movie with no problems. But, when I buy the movie on DVD, it features dubbing…as the default option. I have to manually go in and turn on the original language and turn on subtitles. What the hell? Are DVD vs. movie audiences so different?

But, one instance in which I hate subtitles are when they’re in my own language. That’s usually called Closed Captioning. I get the point of them, of course. But I am continually distracted by the bottom of the screen, reading things that people on the screen have not yet said.

My parents are not in the group who need close captioning (They’re actually fairly modern people with the whole 5.1 surround system and everything). And yet, they turn the closed captioning on everything that they watch. Because it’s “easier to follow.” I don’t understand this. I’ve seen other people do this as well and it’s baffling. I have not yet asked my parents, but I probably should, if they’d be willing to go see a foreign film. It would be utterly bizarre to me if they didn’t want to because of the standard complaints about subtitles.



  1. When you have kids there are times you can’t watch TV without Closed Captions. I’ve seen most of Game of Thrones with Closed Captions. Kids go to bed, but are right up stairs. We have to keep the volume pretty low but you can’t understand what the hell they are saying that way. So, Closed Captions it is.

    • My parents don’t have kids. (Well, I mean, there’s me, obviously. But I’m not upstairs from them or anything.)

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