Thursday, August 09, 2018

Did you know what it's like to go to the movies in the U.S. if you're deaf?

I had no idea that this was the U.S. experience when you want to see captions at the movie theatre. That assistive screen looks pretty unwieldy!



Digression #1: when I was living in Japan, subtitles were often an option at non-Japanese films, so you could choose to see the movie dubbed in Japanese or subtitled in Japanese. I usually wanted to hear the original language, be it English or Chinese or French, and a lot of Japanese movie-goers apparently like to also, so I always went for the subtitled option, which was displayed at the bottom or right side of the screen. The challenge for me was that subtitles were hard to find for Japanese films; fortunately Studio Ghibli films are often offered with subtitles 😁 I can understand Japanese, but there is always going to be vocabulary I don't know, so being able to see the kanji is handy for getting the gist.

Digression #2: watching Fahrenheit 9-11 in a Japanese theatre was an interesting experience: the Japanese subtitles lagged the English audio by a second or two (also Japanese grammar means you usually need to hear the entire sentence to understand the meaning and nuances, so timing is just different). When they showed the footage of troops in Iraq getting pumped for battle by listening to The Bloodhound Gang's "Fire Water Burn" with the "burn [expletive] burn" line, my friends and I started laughing while the Japanese people around us listened in bewilderment and then horror. This was characteristic of the whole movie - our laughter was always out of sync with the rest of the audience, and sometimes we were the only ones laughing 😳😅 I'll bet most Japanese people who saw that documentary came away thinking that the U.S. is barbaric (which is a completely justifiable conclusion).
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