Dumbing Down Subtitles

I’ve just finished watching L’arnacoeur (Heartbreaker, if you will) a film almost wholly in French.  As a result, subtitles are provided as standard to let the Anglophone viewer know what’s going on.

I obtained an A for “O” level French back in 1982 (and I’m still banging on about it almost 30 years later – how sad), but have done little work on the language since.  So, I will admit that I found the subtitles useful.  However, even with my rather rusty and limited language skills it was all too apparent that we English speakers were not considered up to the full complexity of the script.  Perhaps the two most obvious examples required no knowledge of French at all: Dar es Salaam was subtitled as Tanzania and Alain Prost as Schumacher.  I mean, really?  I know some of our American friends don’t get out much but I don’t see any good reason to simplify the script in this way.  Let’s start a campaign now to have proper sub-titling without the implied, disparaging commentary on our intellectual capacity.

The film, by the way, was great fun – a definite thumbs up.  (Perhaps I’m not ready to be the next Barry Norman just yet – I’ll work further on my critical faculties).

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