Subtitles are a type of screen translation which transfers from the spoken language into written language. The primary function of subtitles is for the deaf so that they can read the words. Subtitles sometimes are used in the same language as the viewer, to help viewers who are deaf and hard-of-hearing to follow the dialog or for the people who cannot understand the Spoken Language or have accent recognition problem.Â The next function is obviously to translate the language in the movie for people who do not speak the language of the film. They are there in many foreign movies so someone watching the movie, who doesn't know the language the movie is in, can understand it. Also it can be so people can understand it better if they cannot hear it correctly. The last and most basic function is so people can read when the plume is too low for people who are not familiar to the language, as well as to people with hearing impairment.
"Subtitles are only the most visible and charged markers of the way in which films engage, in direct and oblique fashion, pressing matters of difference, otherness, and translation."
Egoyan & Balfour (2004).
One of the functions of the subtitles is for translation. Subtitles are used to translate a foreign language dialog to the audiences' native language. It is the most convenience and inexpensive ways to translate the content and it is normally used to have the possibility in capturing the original voices or dialog from the actors in a films or movies.
Translation of subtitling usually is very different from the written text translation. The subtitler usually watches the film or the TV program and listens to the audio or dialog sentence by sentence before doing the subtitling. The subtitler might be having no access to the whole written transcript of the films or movies dialog. For example the commercial's subtitles are usually interpreted or translated what it is meant, but not how it is been said which mean that the meaning are more important than the actual form. In this case, the audience might not be appreciate of this and it might be very frustrating to those people who maybe know some of the spoken language, this is because the spoken language can contain some verbal padding and some culturally implied meanings in a confusing sentence, phrase or words, if it is not adapted in the subtitles. The subtitler does this is when the dialog need to be condensed in order to have an acceptable reading speed which mean that the purpose is more important than the actual form.
However in fan subtitling, the subtitler can be translating in both meaning and form. Usually, the subtitler will also display some note in the subtitles in parentheses or may be to separate block of on-screen. By leaving some note on the screen text, it can allow the subtitler to achieve an acceptable reading speed and to preserve the both form and also allow understanding even after the character has finished the dialog. As an example, the Japanese language usually has a multiple first-person pronouns and it implies a different degree of politeness. Sometimes when translating in English, the subtitler will add appropriate words or use notes to reformulate the sentence in order to compensate
Hence, if there are subtitles on the screen, people whose cants understand spoken language still be able to know or understand the story line or the main plot of the movie with the help of subtitles.
Positive Effect of Subtitles
"Watch English language films with English subtitles" By Case.A. According to Case, if somebody can't understand the film without subtitle, they should go find the film which contains subtitles. English language is very complex language and a lot of people are having the language difficulty, therefore subtitling will able to help those people. Spoken English are more complicate, subtitling uses simple and short word to let the people more easily to get the meaning across and understand it. Subtitle is one of the ways which can help you to improve your English level. Some of the people hard to understand the film without the help of subtitles, however they will find that they are not listening when they are focusing on the subtitle, this should be the way of watching film for those who hard to understand the film. Most of the film will repeat the same word for several times, so you can look out the important word and learn them after watching it.
According to Liesbeth Pyfers, some interactive CD-room is used for deaf children and deaf students to support their reading. The sign language is shown alongside with the subtitle. The viewers are able to choose whether they want to watch the sign language or read the subtitle or do both together. The sign language is to help them to understand the content whereas the subtitle can help them to learn the words and language used in the content.
Other than that, Liesbeth Pyfers also said that subtitles can also be added to the videos in sign language. This will make the video accessible not only for hearing viewer but also can be used for deaf viewer. Some video will use many new or unfamiliar sign for the people, therefore subtitle can let them to understand the meaning for those sign. Subtitle may also be appreciated by deaf people who are not yet fluent with the sign language.
"Captioning and subtitling improves the user experience of cinema, television, and the web for all kinds of people: anyone in a noisy environment, office workers in bee hive cubicles, migrants, teens addicted to ear buds, anyone with partial hearing, and even Deaf people."
Subtitle is very important for the deaf person and for the people who have hard-of-hearing problem to acquire information from the media such as television. Subtitle which is a written translation of dialogue provided an opportunity to them to know the dialogue of the people in the television. With the subtitle, deaf people are no longer been eliminate from the entertainment, education and also the information supplied by the television. For the deaf person, they are not able to understand the television programmes which are not subtitled. The television will only become proper when there is the subtitle for them.
The other positive effect is for the people who are not familiar with the spoken language in the movie. The subtitle can be translated from one language to another language. Nowadays, there are a lot of amusing foreign movies which most of us can't understand the spoken language in the movie. They only able to understand the story line of the movie with the help of translated subtitle.
"Watching television shows and movies in the target language is a great way to learn the (real) language, but it is even better if you can read along with the subtitles while watching and listening."
According to Jennifer, she said that subtitles are one of the ways to learn foreign language. This statement also agreed by most of the linguistics studies and language students. Watching foreign movie with the subtitles are able to improve you foreign language. However the subtitle must is the film's language, because subtitle in your native language are very harmful to learn and understand the foreign language.
On the other hand, another positive effect of subtitles is through subtitling, it also helps to preserve the original audio track of the movies or films from being dubbing. Dubbing is one of the alternative of 'translating' a foreign language films, where another actors record and replace over the original voices of the other actors in a different language or by lecturing, which is a form of voice-over as a fictional material in which the narrator wanted to tells the audience what actually the actors are saying while the original voices can still be heard in the background. This is also because by using subtitles, it can save cost and turnaround-time compared to dubbing which cost more money and time consuming. Nowadays, subtitles are also having a growing acceptance by the people especially the younger generations who have better knowledge of English which are the dominant language in most movies and films. Thus, they became more prefer to hear the dialogue which is in the original language.
Negative Effect of Subtitles
Subtitles not only have positive effect, it also brings us the negative effect. One of the negative effect is most of the subtitle are lost it meaning after been translated. The viewer will miss out on the linguistic subtleties of the original content in a foreign movie. It is very difficult to express the tone and the mood of the author by just the few lines of the words of subtitled translation.
"Personally, I read more books than I watch movies in a year but I enjoy watching a movie or TV show full screen, with nothing else vying for my attention, specifically subtitles."
Based on Deepa Natarajan, she thinks that subtitles are distracting her to watch the movie. Her statement is supported by Anish, a senior software engineer from Wipro Technologies who find that the subtitle in a movie is completely distracting. With the disturbing of the subtitle, people can't pay full attention to enjoy the movie because they will more focus on the subtitle than watching the movie. Other than that, present of subtitles maybe will hide something in the scene and this will prevent them from watching the actual movie in details.
Subtitle will make the people become tired because they have to concentrate by lower their sight toward the bottom of the screen in order to read the subtitles. This will distract their concentration to enjoy and pay attention to the movie itself and tend to not appreciate or evaluate the performances of the actress or actors in the movie.
"An intuitive argument against subtitling and in favour of dubbing is that subtitling deteriorates the understanding of the material, when one continually moves ones gaze and attention away from the action and towards the subtitles."
(Jonas Borell, 2000)
Sometimes, when the original language in a movies or films is different with the subtitles that are displayed on the screen, it may contain some grammar mistakes and errors. This may mislead those audiences without the basic knowledge of a specific language in the movies by guiding them to a wrong way of learning that specific language and make them more confuse. This will also affect the overall or actual meaning or messages which the movies are trying to convey to the audiences.
In some cases, some movies' subtitles are not filtered or censored and it may contain some swearing or dirty words from the movies or films. Therefore, if those swearing and dirty words were display on the screen, it will bring a negative effect towards the children which is under age where they started to learn those swearing and dirty words from the movies or films. They may also start to imply those words in their daily life by not knowing the actual meaning of those words and how it will affect the other people feeling. Eventually it will also bring bad image toward the children themselves.