The Killing subtitles

The Killing subtitlesBefore the second series of The Killing started there were a few stories in the media saying the BBC were going to tone down the swearing in the subtitles. The accusation was that, during the first series, several Dutch swear words of different strengths had all been translated as fuck. The Guardian has followed this up looking at the subtleties of the translation and how it can alter our understanding of the script.

Naively (and probably because I was awful at languages at school) it never occurred to me subtitles were so hard to do, and that they could alter the meaning of something. However, as The Guardian says, translation “is a job that requires not just bilingualism but an awareness of minute cultural differences between two countries”.

One commenter on The Guardian website tells how he downloaded an episode along with subtitles from a different source to the BBC, saying: “There was a difference – of emphasis generally – which was noticeable”.

It is hard enough following The Killing sometimes and having to read the subtitles without missing the telling looks or reactions of the characters. I think I’m going to forget I read this one and trust the put-upon translators to tell the story in the best way they can.

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Google Realtime

This is less something I’ve noticed recently and more something I was reminded of. Shortly after the launch of Google+, Google ended its deal with Twitter and closed its Google Realtime search. I found Realtime more useful than searching Twitter for unfolding events as it combined tweets with webpages from more trusted sources like news sites.

Realtime would have been particularly useful during the England riots when Twitter was full of rumour and falsehoods which were amplified by people re-tweeting and believing what they read to be true. It also would have helped me last weekend when O2 Broadband went down overnight. A search on Google told me nothing whereas tweets confirmed that there was a problem across the UK.

There was an expectation that Realtime would return, using Google+ as a source but + isn’t really being used for live reporting. Google needs Realtime to compete in the “tell me what’s happening now” market and they can bring some valuable gravitas to it. I wonder if they are still “actively working” on bringing it back as was reported in August.

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EditionsAs part of AOL’s transition to a content production company it has launched an iPad app called Editions. It enters the crowded space of aggregators that promise to filter all the news that is out there and give you a daily read of stuff you want.

They’ve done a pretty good job of it. You tell it what headline sections you want (top news, technology, design, family etc) and it then goes off and builds you a daily magazine. When you open an article it gives you the option to remove that source (I removed straight away) and say if you want to see more on the subcategories the article belongs to. With little effort it soon filters down to what you like.

There are other nice touches. The sections are short so it doesn’t take long to flick through. It shows you the weather, friends’ birthdays (from Facebook) and appointments from your calendar.

The key thing they’ve got right is it localised to the UK – so many of these apps are USA-centric. The only bad thing is the terrible typeface of the logo.