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The South Korean film "Parasite" won four Academy Awards on Sunday, including best picture. Yet, foreign-language films with subtitles have a hard time drawing mainstream audiences in English-speaking countries. How do you feel about films whose dialogue is not your native language? Do you like watching such films with subtitles?

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If it's a good movie, I don't care if I have to read subtitles. Dubbing has improved greatly over the years, but I still prefer to hear the original language the film was made in.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The trouble with subtitled films is that while you are reading the subtitles you are missing what is happening on screen. It ends up being more like reading a book than watching a film, which is why I always give these a miss.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

How do you feel about films whose dialogue is not your native language?

Don't mind them at all, so long as they are good. Garbage is garbage, in which case I'm unlikely to watch it anyway. Most of my favorite movies are not in English.

Do you like watching such films with subtitles?

I refuse to watch a movie that is dubbed, regardless of what language it is being dubbed from or in (well, dubbed Hong Kong Kung-Fu movies are kind of a genre in and of themselves, so that might be the exception). And the funny thing is, when you look back at a movie you watched in subtitles... well, I can't speak for others, but for me, anyway... I don't remember it for the subtitles at all, I just remember the story and the scenery/action, etc.

I do agree that some things are lost in translation sometimes, and in some cases they edit out or change, as in the example JeffLee mentions, but unless you can speak and understand that language, subtitles are the way to go.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the reason why foreign films don't get as much love from an English-speaking audience is that not everyone can speed read subtitles or consider them as bothersome.

everyone can "speed read subtitles" . we have a few seconds to read it ( more than enough) and still have time to see what,s happening on the screen. whether we,re used to it or not, it,s another story. most of those people are not. so that,s the problem.

Note that some of the translations can be awful, destroying one's ability to appreciate the film. In Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove," one of Sellers' characters recounts how the japanese tortured him during the war and then says, "the problem is that they make such damn good cameras." The Japanese translator decided to write: "But the Japanese are very nice now."

this is more like a Japanese thing. you talked about a very specific subtitle but generally speaking now, translation between Japanese and English and viceversa is never going to be easy ( ex. some things have no possible translation ). if we (that, re able to understand english) go to the cinema in Japan and check the Japanese subtitles we always gonna think the subtitles are incomplete and say "what a mess", "Japanese audiences are not reading exactly what they said", but anyway at least they,re hearing the original voices and they can "feel" what they,re saying... better than any dub...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JeffLee:

I've noticed that whenever something is said about the Japanese in western movies, it is somehow not translated at all for viewers in Japan.

For example, when Uncle Vernon in Harry Potter was saying how he was telling a joke about a Japanese golfer. Or in Bridget Jones, when Mother was saying that the Japanese were a cruel race!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yet, foreign-language films with subtitles have a hard time drawing mainstream audiences in English-speaking countries.

because most people in english-speaking countries are too lazy to read subtitles. they have Hollywood and British movies so they,re too drunk with it and so they think “what else do i need?” / “i don,t need some foreign language movie, we already have the best movies in the world”. then they start making up ( stupid ) excuses saying “the subtitles won,t let me focus and i get distracted”. this is mostly an American problem btw.

How do you feel about films whose dialogue is not your native language? Do you like watching such films with subtitles?

i only care about the quality of the movie. if the movie is good and/or entertaining, then it,s all good. subtitles or no subtitles, doesn,t matter... actually the subtitles add a certain uniqueness to the movie. some of my favorite movies are Japanese ( not only movies ), and, as you all know, there,s some good stuff in Korean and from Europe. personally for me it,s more like Japanese and European. one more thing - people should always watch the film/show/whatever in their original language w/ subtitles. i mean, seriously, you can even say “that dubbing is the best in the world”. it,s never gonna be the same as the original. never.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Coming from a small country, I haven't had much choice about it haha. So I'm very used to subtitles and appreciate them. There are great movies from all over the world, and I definitely find subtitles preferable to dubs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I live in Japan and even put Japanese subtitles on normal TV so I don't care

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I grew up watching "foreign" and subtitled films and I love old silent films, so it's never been a problem with me.

I also enjoy big cheesy blockbusters as well.

Only films I struggle with are dubbed ones. Which is ironic, given that some of my favourite Westerns are dubbed (the Dollars trilogy).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One of the drawbacks to living in Japan is it's hard to find English subtitles for many non-English speaking movies (including Japanese movies). I used to watch European movies all the time but unfortunately much less now.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There are a lot of great films made on small budgets in Korea, Iran, China, etc. They concentrate on plots and character development rather than superheroes and special effects that Hollywood loves.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I used to watch films with subtitles all the time growing up, since English isn't my native language. When i learned English, and starting learning Japanese, i used to watch Japanese movies, dramas and anime with English subtitles. Now that i can speak both languages, it feels so much better watching anything without subtitles, but i still don't mind watching films with subs. The problem i have is rather that often non-English/Japanese movies have references that makes sense only in the cultural context of that country, and it's very hard to understand the meaning from just the subtitles. Often the story is either feels weird or makes little sense without understanding the cultural context. Still, watching foreign movies is a good way to experience and get a touch of different cultures around the world.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As someone who watches anime and other J-series, I've grown accustomed and learned to love watching foreign films, it's a passive and fun way to learn the language as well. I think the reason why foreign films don't get as much love from an English-speaking audience is that not everyone can speed read subtitles or consider them as bothersome.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I like a good foreign language film. I don’t like a foreign language film dubbed into English. Subs or dubs... subs every single time for me.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How do you feel about films whose dialogue is not your native language?

I feel very good about them.

Do you like watching such films with subtitles?

Yes, I do.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Every now and then. Anything more, and it can be tedious.

Note that some of the translations can be awful, destroying one's ability to appreciate the film. In Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove," one of Sellers' characters recounts how the japanese tortured him during the war and then says, "the problem is that they make such damn good cameras." The Japanese translator decided to write: "But the Japanese are very nice now."

7 ( +9 / -2 )

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