What Are The Different Subtitle Schemes Used In Film?


The DubbingKing Software - A Comprehensive Audio-Visual Translation (AVT) Software For Windows

The Dubbing King software caters for various Audio-Visual Translation (AVT) modes. It is used for subtitling, translation and the dubbing processes.


What Are the Available Subtitle Schemes, And The Different User Preferences?

Case Study

  • Word on the film streets is that it’s better to use foreign language subtitles when watching foreign film productions as compared to using native language subtitles. The benefits of doing this always extend to learning foreign languages and being able to comprehend the meanings of the original film before the subtitle.
  • A very good example would be seen where research was done in Portugal where many people could comprehend and easily process English sentences after watching English material with English subtitles than they were after watching English material with Portuguese subtitles.
  • English-speaking students who were learning French had a slightly greater improvement in vocabulary recognition after watching French films using French subtitles, compared to students who watched the French films with English subtitles. The study also shows that the students enjoyed, connected and had fun watching the original material more.
  • The Philippine college students who were learning English could not have any significant experience or improvement in their listening and comprehension skills after watching English videos using English subtitles compared to watching it with Pilipino subtitles.
  • From the three examples above we can and precisely conclude that it’s highly preferable to use foreign-language subtitles as opposed to native language subtitles though the differences might not be big, it just shows that the former is more effective. It’s also good to note that one’s preference for what works well for them depends on what exactly is a foreign language to them and what is a native language.
  • The study also shows that while most people highly benefit and have quality and better learning experiences from foreign-language subtitles, students who are just beginners might struggle with them. If you have only limited proficiency in your target language, it might be better for you to use subtitles in your native language first until you feel comfortable having or in the native language.
  • I will further discuss other types of subtitles here so you can get a better understanding of what subtitles are being used in the film you might watch; they say knowledge is power so why don’t I empower you with this knowledge. There are two types of subtitles in the film industry, namely: –
    • Reverse subtitles
    • Dual subtitles
    • These two types of subtitles referred to as viewing schemes are not commonly used, and that’s why most people might not know much about them.

What Are the Different Subtitle Schemes Used In Film?

Reverse Subtitles.

  • Reverse Subtitles are the particular subtitles are the ones which appear in a foreign language together with a soundtrack in the Native language, this means that the foreign language subtitles were layered over native language soundtrack during production.
  • In some areas of language learning, such as vocabulary learning, these subtitles can be preferable to native-language subtitles on a foreign-language soundtrack.
  • In addition, they are beneficial since they offer a great way to get some relatively passive exposure to your target language; just enable the foreign-language subtitles while watching your regular shows, and you’ll notice yourself using them more and more, as you pick up bigger units of texts.
  • Another important advantage of reverse subtitles that most people might not know is that most times it’s easier to find films with subtitles in your Native language as compared to those in the target language that you are trying to learn. A good example would be how most English Native speakers have a lot of films with subtitles in the English language as compared to if they tried to find film subtitles in Spanish or French or even. The vice versa would also be true for a Portuguese native speaker in Portugal trying to find Portuguese film subtitles. That would be easier for them in more ways than imaginable.
  • Anything with advantages never misses having disadvantages and reverse subtitles have a couple of disadvantages that I will mention, most times using reverse subtitles only means that that because it makes things easier for a native speaker, it doesn’t develop the proficiency of a person in important areas of a language to listen and comprehending skills. Thus though, does not mean that one’s stays clear of these subtitles, it only means that broadening the spectrum and using other types of subtitles will ensure that you stay on top of the game and have a wide balance.
  • What this means is that the reverse subtitles are beneficial and are beneficial for a certain amount of time, and switching things up from time to time only means that you can work around its limitations. If you’re a beginner, they offer a great way to achieve exposure to your target language in a comfortable environment that encourages things such as vocabulary acquisition. However, because using them means that you’re not exposed to the sounds of your foreign language, as your language proficiency grows, start using other types of subtitles too.

Dual Subtitles

From the word dual, you can tell that it’s ‘something to do with two or a pair or any word you can think of that represents two.

  • Dual subtitles are the kind that uses a foreign soundtrack together with subtitles in both the foreign and the native language. This means that these subtitles provide the most information out of many subtitles.
  • This is helpful and disadvantageous at the same time if that is even a word, this is because these dual subtitles give a learner more valuable input but the problem comes in when one cannot process all this input in a one hour film becomes a bit confusing and overwhelming.
  • We know very well that the human mind has not been created in a way that we can multitask only so it’s advisable for a learner to follow through with one language might be the foreign or the native language subtitles while referring to the other subtitles only in specific cases or when trying to understand or comprehend furtherer with translation. For example, this means that if you’re focusing on the foreign-language subtitles, then you will probably look at the native-language subtitles only where you need a translation for a certain word or phrase.
  • Note that some platforms offer special dual subtitles, where you only see the foreign-language subtitles normally, but hovering over a specific word shows you its native-language translation while pausing the show.
  • Dual subtitles can be highly valuable as long as one can find a platform that works well and is to their advantage, and as long as using it doesn’t cause you to feel overwhelmed while watching your show.

What To Consider When Choosing A Subtitle Scheme.

  • It’s very important to note, depending on which level you are in learning or trying to understand a language, you can choose a subtitle that will make it easier for you to comprehend whether the native or the foreign language. As you improve your proficiency in the target language, you will handle more foreign-language input, but as with any other learning, this is a process that takes time. With time, it’s easy to pick up what works better for you and what does not.
  • However, it’s important to also note that preferences vary from person to person. What works out amazingly well for you might not be the case for me, and vice versa. This means that different people learn in different ways, and can benefit more from using different materials. When choosing which subtitles to use, experiment and try different things until you find the solution that works best for you.
  • Finally, always be keen to consider the most important factor which is the ability for the subtitles to have a level of engagement is more of a learning process than an overwhelming process because subtitles in films get overwhelming. If you won’t engage with the material in the target language, then you won’t be able to learn it.
  • If you ever watch a film where it’s more complicated and difficult for you to follow through, it’s better to throw in the towel and pick up something that is easier for you to grasp. Films are made for people to enjoy and relax with, not for the overwhelming and complicating an individual’s watching process. The key thing to look out for is the level of engagement you get from a film and it’s subtitles.
  • Therefore, if you find yourself not watching things because the material is too difficult, it’s better to switch to something that you’re comfortable with (e.g. native-language subtitles), as long as it means that you’re engaging with foreign-language material. However, know that language learning can be difficult sometimes and that eventually, you need to advance to the more complex material, even if it seems scary at first.

Summary and conclusions

  • If you’re watching movies, TV shows, or any other material in your target foreign language, it’s better to watch it with subtitles than without them.
  • Foreign-language subtitles are a slightly more effective study aid than native-language subtitles. However, if you’re a beginner, you will probably need subtitles in the native language at first, until you get to a stage where you can cope with having both the soundtrack and the subtitles be in the foreign language.
  • Two other helpful types of subtitles are reverse subtitles, where foreign-language subtitles appear together with a native-language soundtrack, and dual subtitles, where the foreign-language soundtrack appears together with subtitles in both the foreign and the native language.
  • Your choice of subtitles will probably change over time, as your foreign-language proficiency grows. In addition, different people prefer different subtitles, so experiment to see what works for you.
  • When it comes to learning, the main thing you should focus on is increasing the time spent engaging with material in your foreign language. When choosing which subtitles to use, pick the ones that increase your motivation to watch things in your foreign language, since the more material you watch, the more you will learn.

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