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International Those Damn Imports That Do Not Include English Subtitles... (1 Viewer)

Dick

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A few come immediately to mind.

SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE (Victor Erice). This is available on DVD from Criterion, but if you want the (very good-looking) Blu-ray release, you had better be fluent in Spanish. C'mon, Criterion! Upgrade us!

THE MAD ADVENTURES OF RABBI JACOB, which is a 1974 film with popular French comedian Louis de Funes, is often hilarious (the sequence in a bubble gum factory is memorable, indeed!) has also been released with subtitles here in DVD, but the French Blu-ray import (in a steelbook case, no less) does not feature any.

The very beautiful DSCHUNGLEKIND (JUNGLE CHILD) makes for a gorgeous Blu-ray, but alas, the German import has no English subs.

Undoubtedly there are many more examples of this omission, but these three I actually own as place-holders. Why do these countries not provide English subs for such films, as English is such a major worldwide language that could open up their markets for much wider DVD/Blu-ray sales? I get that it might be a studio decision rather than a video distributor one, but either way, what's the point?.
 

Mark-P

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Non-English speakers from other countries who import Blu-rays from the US often have the same problem as many of our Blu-rays don’t contain foreign subs. It’s not fair to expect other countries to cater just to the US. Importing is a very tricky thing and you really have to be aware of things like subtitles, region coding, PAL speed up, and sometimes even original language soundtracks.
 

Dick

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Non-English speakers from other countries who import Blu-rays from the US often have the same problem as many of our Blu-rays don’t contain foreign subs. It’s not fair to expect other countries to cater just to the US. Importing is a very tricky thing and you really have to be aware of things like subtitles, region coding, PAL speed up, and sometimes even original language soundtracks.

Yes, points well taken. I guess I am looking at this from the prism of where I live, and it just seems weird to me that the U.S. isn't considered to be a major market for these releases. Kinda humbling that it isn't, I guess.
 

OliverK

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Yes, points well taken. I guess I am looking at this from the prism of where I live, and it just seems weird to me that the U.S. isn't considered to be a major market for these releases. Kinda humbling that it isn't, I guess.

In many cases it is probably also an issue that no English subtitles are available to the labels that release these movies and the effort to create them would not be offset with additional sales for more obscure movies. I know an older movie or two but of those you mentioned I only know the Louis de Funes movie and I would guess the same goes for many other members even on this forum so additional sales due to added English subs would probably be very low.

Not to forget that often the license to sell this is only for certain countries so a company may even be prevented contractually from adding an English soundtrack and/or subtitles for non-English speaking movies.
 

OliverK

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Non-English speakers from other countries who import Blu-rays from the US often have the same problem as many of our Blu-rays don’t contain foreign subs.

Almost never German subs for example but quite often not even English ones.

On the weekend I watched The Chase (1946) with my kids and was not too pleased to see that there were not even English subtitles - I think you could probably generate them rather easily as youtube now does that on the fly by just converting spoken words into subtitles. So it would be partly an automated process compared to a complete translation that is always more difficult and then of course some corrections. Yet they were not there and at some points of the story it was a bit of an issue.

Another issue is that English subtitles are mostly added for people who are hearing impared as opposed to people who do not understand spoken English that well at all times. Not very cool when you have subtitles that say things like "door creaking" or "suspenseful music" in scenes where I can hear very well what is happening. Of course I am very much for people that are hard of hearing to enjoy these movies but a subtitle track is so small that a normal English subtitle track could easily be included in these cases by just omitting the information that gets added for people who are hard of hearing.
 
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Alan Tully

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It's annoying if you rely on subs, but I can understand it on a foreign release. A German release is primarily for the German market, & if the supplied master doesn't include subs, then it's going to cost money to make them, eating into the small profit, but there's no excuse for Criterion not having them, especially with the prices they charge.
 

Robin9

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It’s not fair to expect other countries to cater just to the US. Importing is a very tricky thing and you really have to be aware of things like subtitles, region coding, PAL speed up, and sometimes even original language soundtracks.

English is spoken in other countries too! :) It's also very much a second language in countries such as India.
 

Alan Tully

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English is spoken in other countries too! :) It's also very much a second language in countries such as India.

Yes, & happily they do include the English track. Without foreign releases (mostly from Germany) my collection would be much less interesting.
 

moviepas

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A DVD used to be able to hold 32 subtitles and 8 audio tracks and many UK DVDs had multiple audio & subtitle tracks and the same for Australia who used the same master but coded them for Region 4 but was wasted as most DVD players old in Australia play any DVD but not so Blu Ray. As English is the dominant spoken language in the world it makes sense to include it. Sales, of course would rise for those with those subtitles or alternate English track. At the same time I have many German discs of US films that have both English and German audio and the necessary subtitles. When I bought a few discs from Serbia a few years ago(still receive their emails, Little Serbian Shop) and I mentioned the subtitles which their discs had in English and they said it was just pure laziness on the part of other European countries who did not include them. Some years ago, I did watch Paint Your Wagon in a local release utilising the German audio and German subtitles alternatives. I enjoyed it just as if it was the English tracks. I think it still holds true that we prefer to have the original language track with English subtitles than have some European dubbing their films in English. I am not sure it it still happens but a few years ago a number of Australian films were redubbed with US accented voices. I don't think we have done the reverse here. I can make a statement that 1930s Australian radio and film voices are a lot different than today's utterances. I have found the same with 1930s German films compared to their films from the 1950s-60s and I have a lot from all those eras.
 

Konstantinos

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then it's going to cost money to make them

yes, this is often offered as an excuse but I'm not sure it is true.
olive and Kino didn't use to supply English subtitles in their releases and now they do.
What happened? did they suddenly become rich and have money to spend?
I would bet whoever doesn't suplly English subtitles just doesn't care.

I have many films too that I would like to buy, but can't due to the absence of subtitles:
Cyrano de Bergerac, Raise the Red lantern, Asterix animation films etc.
 

Winston T. Boogie

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SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE (Victor Erice). This is available on DVD from Criterion, but if you want the (very good-looking) Blu-ray release, you had better be fluent in Spanish. C'mon, Criterion! Upgrade us!

I would just say on titles like this it is probably best not to purchase the foreign blu-ray because it is highly likely that a Region 1 blu-ray is coming. Yes, this requires patience but if a company like Criterion owns the title then a US blu is probably on the way.
 

AshJW

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Non-English speakers from other countries who import Blu-rays from the US often have the same problem as many of our Blu-rays don’t contain foreign subs
Heck, they sometime don't even contain english subs. Same with British BDs/DVDs.
So why should discs from non-English speaking countries contain them?

Don't get me wrong, I would be happy if all the discs contain English subs 'cause I watch films from English speaking countries preferable in English with English subs.
Films in other languages like French or Japanese I can live with German subs. If they are real subs and no dubs! Happens much too often. :(
 

Thomas T

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While I'm most grateful for English subs on imported non-English language films, I'm more offended by non removable foreign subtitles on an English language film. Most Europeans (and Japanese) speak English as a second (or third or fourth) language. Americans seem to think (rather arrogantly) everybody should speak our language and very few Americans speak a second language. My sister goes to Europe once a year and doesn't speak any foreign languages and it's not a problem because everyone speaks English. Can you imagine a German, Swede or Japanese coming to visit America without knowing a word of English? They'd be in a lot of trouble.
 

Ferdinand Hudson

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Can you imagine a German, Swede or Japanese coming to visit America without knowing a word of English? They'd be in a lot of trouble.
As a Swede I'd say that would be a very rare occurence. They would have to be a complete knobhead as English is taught in schools from an early age. In 1946 English was fully implemented as the main foreign language taught in all Swedish schools. It was on my curriculum by the 4th grade (German alt French by the 7th) but as I understand it they've started teaching languages much earlier in the past decade or so.
 

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