Saturday, December 26, 2015

Caught in a lingual trap

People look at me suspiciously whenever i tell somebody that i don't watch an English film without its subtitles. And i do this despite working as a business transcriber for exactly four years. During which, i used to come across different accents as a routine. So much so i could distinguish where the speaker is from by the way s/he speaks. Boston English isn't the same as Yankee English. Finns speak English differently than Danes. Chinese and Japanese might look similar in appearance but their approach to English is as stark as their foreign policies. An Aussie speaks English with careless attitude while a Scot speaks the same language with a hidden disdain. These are some of the characteristics i picked up while transcribing conference calls of MNCs as well as smaller corporations. Despite all these vagaries, i STILL prefer to use subtitles while watching Hollywood films (British and Australian films as well). Simply because i can't pretend to understand something i don't. And if i miss a dialogue since i'm more verbally inclined than visually, then it bugs me. However, if i'm in line with the words spoken in a film, then i'm at peace. So, it's a personal reason. But what i've noticed among my friends and colleagues is they avoid subtitles because they don't like to read while watching a movie. That's also their excuse for overlooking non-English gems that come from the world of cinema. They'd rather pretend to act like they understood everything that they heard in an English film (when they haven't) than take the effort to read in sync with the movie. Which makes you wonder, what precisely is foreign for us Indians? English spoken by non-Indians or non-English spoken by non-English? 

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