Look at that image. A TV series with three women as lead characters. It was written and directed by a woman. Perfect for me, right? Wrong. I tried to watch it but was stymied by the way close captions and subtitles are used.
This series, Transport, is a Finnish production airing on Acorn TV. Finnish, Flemish, and English are spoken in the series.
I’m not blaming Acorn TV or Transport for my problems. This series is just the latest example of another series or film I’ve found impossible to watch because of the way subtitles and close captions are used.
There are subtitles on the screen for the Finnish and Flemish. Great, right?
No, wrong. Because often covering the subtitle is another bit of text that says something really helpful like “Both speaking Finnish.”
But an even worse problem is when the characters speak English, which is often. There are no close captions for the English. Sometimes, on some platforms, there is a way to get BOTH subtitles and close captions. This particular series on this particular platform doesn’t offer that option – and they aren’t the only ones who don’t.
If anyone out there in caption/subtitle land is listening, I’m asking you to give the English speakers a chance at close captions along with the translated languages in the subtitles. Just put that option in the settings, please. Both are needed and important.