Posted at 10:48 AM on May 21, 2007
by Euan Kerr
As one does, I found myself thinking about subtitles the other day. Or more specifically, when is it appropriate to introduce a youngster to the delights of a subtitled movie?
The issue came up when I went to see "The Great Match" at the MSPIFF.
I was frankly a little nervous when some friends turned up and sat behind us with their grade-school age son. Knowing the movie is in at least three languages I wondered if he was going to make it though.
As it turned out he was laughing away along with us, and it added to the experience.
I can't remember when I took my own two kids to their first subtitled film, but neither of them seemed fazed by the experience. They never developed the antipathy which so many people seem to have in the US towards subtitled films.
So having begun thinking about this, I went in search of some answers, and as often happens with the web, I found something else. This article from BBC News reports that some 6 million people in Britain regularly use the captions on TV (subtitles by another name.)
The service was set up for people who have hearing impairment, but the figures show that more than a tenth of the entire British population is now using the service. What is really fascinating is the tide of responses below from people who are delighted to know they are not alone, and then go on to share their reasons for using the subtitle option.
I have been using subtitles on my DVD viewings ever since I bought my first DVD player. Many of the reasons the British cited--distractions, catching rapid fire dialogue, and so forth are reasons why I use it.
I get teased about it but I can't live without it. In fact I get annoyed if a DVD lacks English subtitles.