Subtitles: there to make our lives easier since 1971. Essential for the elderly, the deaf, the bits not in English, and for when we’re just trying to watch TV while someone else decides it’s time to talk on the phone, in the same room, for an hour, even though we were here first. But for those who don’t use subtitles in our daily lives, I’m here to tell you why you should.
Subtitles provide snippets of pure comedic gold. After all, subtitles are usually written by typists just like us here at TakeNote, which leaves plenty of potential for hilarity in parenthesis. Haven’t you ever wanted to know exactly how to describe that background music, or the tone of someone’s sigh? No one should miss out, even if it’s just the sound of [claps like seal].
#2: Accents and slang
If you understand Mickey from Snatch without subtitles, you get a medal. (Source: mikefize)
#3: Learning spelling
For those of us at Take Note who rely on the spell-check button, subtitles are a great way to learn how to spell certain words. Many people find reading the words, rather than listening to them, helps cement the position of all those tricky letters in our brains. And really, what better way to study than to do it in front of your favourite TV shows?
#4: Learning new languages
We British have an unfortunate reputation as the ones who won’t learn a second language, and then get affronted when we go abroad and no one is speaking English. Subtitles on TV programs – especially when you’re watching your favourites on DVD – are a great way to pick up some new words, or to help revise if you’re in the process of learning a new language. Whether it’s a single word or a whole phrase, subtitles are brilliant for getting your brain to work not only on an audio level, but a visual one, too. Next time you re-watch Sherlock in preparation for the upcoming Season 4, why not put on a foreign language subtitle track, and learn a few new words?
#5: Companies will subtitle more content
My final reason for using subtitles while watching TV is simple: the more subtitles are used, the more companies who determine what gets subtitled will make use them. Which is great news for agencies like Take Note, with typists like us who enjoy audio transcription of all kinds, but it’s essential for those who actually need subtitles in their daily lives. While some companies will provide subtitles for all of their content, others won’t bother to shell out for what they don’t see as important.
Imagine being unable to watch the new programme everyone is raving about, simply because it’s inaccessible to you. Subtitles bring essential quality of life to those who need them. By using the feature, we tell companies that subtitles are worth paying for and integrating into all their audio content.
So next time you flick on the TV or Netflix to catch up on the latest and greatest, pop your subtitles on, too. You won’t regret it.
Words by Transcriber Sophie C