In Portugal we have always had a habit of subtitling our films, series, or any other type of program, whether in film or television. When there was some novel or series recorded, it sounded bad to our ears; the voices did not correspond to the movements of the mouth, looked like a folding text read without punctuation and often there was no difference between female or male voice! It was preferable to see in the original language without subtitles.
Surprisingly, the latest animation films that have been released have been slightly improved. It’s great to see a room full of young children into laughter with a silly innocent character. The quality of their own voices and dubbing are excellent.
It is obvious that for some people with reading difficulties, the subtitles are too fast to be able to accompany the film. On the other hand it requires acute hearing to determine the sound track to the legend. The problem becomes bigger for the visually impaired as they are required to understand the foreign language, mostly English as well. On the other hand, the deaf suffer from the lack of subtitling and sign language. Fortunately it is possible to see several TV channels with teletext subtitles directed mostly deaf to the public.
Subtitling is not always the best: the translation is faulty, some lines are not translated captions occupy and own a part of the image. I remember a funny translation where the word “toast”, in the case of honouring a guest, it appeared as toast – to brown a slice of bread!
The first rows of the film are to forget, as you read the caption of the action we have already lost the picture …
Both dubbing and subtitling have their advantages and their difficulties, but that can be drawn from this is that either one or the other intended as an aid to include not only linguistic but also social inclusion.
Fans of subtitling argue that this method allows to improve the reading skills and reasoning of the viewer. And in fact may even be right, as a proposal for a European Parliament resolution: “Supports the captioning of television programs in national languages, instead of folding and overlapping of voices in order to facilitate the learning and use of EU languages and a better understanding of the cultural context of audiovisual productions; Recommends to Member States that television programs, especially children’s programs are subtitled and not bent. ” The European Parliament says that: “the possibility of enjoying the European public works carried out in other languages should be encouraged through better language teaching, but a lower use of folding also promotes the learning of languages.”
Of course, this recommendation leaves some questions in the air. On one hand you want to include language on the other leaves aside the social inclusion of those who have greater difficulties in monitoring both the model of subtitling and dubbing of the model. People with literacy problems could even benefit from this measure, but they are mostly elderly people with low willingness to accompany the reading of subtitles and with great difficulty seeing. Here too the blind are forced to learn a foreign language if they want to see something.
It is therefore a measure of understatement, at least in the Portuguese most suitable to stimulate a young audience often multilingual in several European Union countries, which have more than one official language. To an audience as monolingual Portuguese, there are still many battles to be fought.
Early teaching of English in the curriculum enrichment activities can enhance the understanding of the depth of the language.