Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Same-Language Subtitling

This is so mind-bendingly cool in its simplicity and effectiveness. Use close-captioning subtitles translating dialogue in real-time in the native language of a film to teach the written form of that language to the illiterate. Absolutely brilliant!! (Hat Tip: SepiaMutiny).

-- Mahashunyam // 6:51 AM // 8 comments


It is neither closed nor captioning. The subtitles are always visible, making them open, and they're subtitles, not captions, since they do not render anything but dialogue.
// Blogger Joe Clark // 1:59 PM

Same Language Subtitling (SLS) has indeed proved to be effective in most countries.

Closed Captioning is different from Subtitles which is more for deaf and hard of hearing viewers. But most of the quality of CC is too bad.Hopefully there will be united voice against the same & for implementing CC in countries like India as well.

Sameer Bhardwaj

Media Movers, Inc.
// Blogger sameer bhardwaj // 8:08 AM

Thank you, Joe and Sameer : corrected the post.
// Blogger Mahashunyam // 5:56 PM

What a spectacular project, Mahashunyam.

I'm doing something similar to this in my house right now.

I'm Canadian, and my first language is English, but I learned French through the school system, and living in France and Quebec. Now I'm living in the US, concerned about losing my French, and my husband who studied French briefly in school is eager to learn it at a function level.

So we rent French movies. For now, we watch them with the English subtitles--so he can follow them, and tune his ear in. As his French gets better, our next step is to watch selected scenes with the English subtitles, and then with the French.

(Right now we're in the middle of the 4-part miniseries of The Counte of Monte Cristo, and it is fabulous.)

The article also reminds me of how, when I lived in Japan, I learned to read a number of Chinese characters (kanji) listening/reading along when friends were singing karaoke.
// Blogger Shaula Evans // 4:26 AM

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
// Blogger Shaula Evans // 4:26 AM

One of my earliest memories is of watching Electric Company on PBS. They would close episodes with a teaser about the next episode, but they would (1) distort the sound into unintelligible Charlie-Brown-TV-special-adult "wah-wah" voices; (2) include a subtitle of what was being said. I remember intense frustration: "how could they be so mean? I can't read that yet!" It sure motivated me; those are my only memories of being pre-literate.

It was also either Electric Company or Sesame Street that would have the two silhouetted faces on either side of the screen. Left says first part of a word -- while its written form zooms onto the screen from their lips; right says second part, while its written form zooms to alongside the first part, then they both say the full word in unison. "Ham." "Burger." "Hamburger." [Da, da, da-dum.] Very effective.
// Blogger Gojomo // 8:02 AM

Speaking os Sesame Street, I thought the analysis of how it was designed and produced in "The Tipping Point" was wicked. I am wondering if those principles could be applicable to this project as well.
// Blogger Mahashunyam // 6:09 AM

I have been using this format in the secondary classroom in several formats since 1990. I am a major fan of Kothari's work in India. Similar effects can be used with simple free Karaoke program such as Karafun and any MP3 source. My students have used varied sources such as MLK's "I Have a Dream", short selections from JK Rowling's Harry Potter audio books, and MP3 recording of Edgar Allen Poe --Still Musicals seem to work best. Check out my Same Language Subtitling Resource Page at:

Greg McCall -Hawaii
// Anonymous Anonymous // 6:58 AM

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