I sit down to watch a movie like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and I automatically turn on the subtitles. I hate the duped voices and much prefer hearing the Chinese spoken. I have learned to read the subtitles well enough that, after about 5 minutes, I forget and do it automatically without losing the picture.
I do this with most movies that have big name stars. I don’t want to hear some squeaky little high-pitched American voice come out of a pretty little Japanese woman’s mouth. And it’s even worse when one of my favorite stars sounds like they have a cold and have forgotten anything they knew about acting as far as reading script is concerned.
That having been said, I fall into the same trap most Americans do: I don’t understand it all the time if someone doesn’t get the joke or the situation in a movie if the people are all speaking English. I forget that, sometimes, I don’t get the situation or parts of it if it’s not English and the subtitles are off. Well, here is a wonderful little tidbit in which the two characters are doing something very simple, talking over dinner, and in about 4 minutes, I finally figure out what has happened, but by merely putting a few words together and pronouncing words just a hint differently, I am lost in an English-speaking film.
Well, I need to say that I now understand how all of you feel out there who speak English as a second language and have gotten lost at times when I am writing. It was infuriating to watch the above clip, and I may watch it again ONCE my mind settles and I think I can stand it. The worst was that I understood just enough to smile when I should and be upset when it called for it and I kinda knew what was happening, but didn’t know what the argument was about, but understood the end. Somehow, that should have made it better, but it didn’t.
How do you feel about foreign languages?
Do they bother you in movies? How do you cope?