Subtitles as art [audio sound descriptions]

Are subtitles a form of art? I discovered this week that artist Andrew Wright was inspired to create a new exhibition after watching the series 24 with the sound off, and the subtitles on.  He has made a series of prints replicating the audio descriptions given in the subtitles to describe the sound effects in scenes of the TV series 24.

Andrew Wright

A print from Wright's series of non-dialogue captions from the TV show 24.

This exhibition is currently on display in Ottawa, Canada. Andrew Wright’s show continues to Oct. 25 at Patrick Mikhail Gallery, 2401 Bank St., as part of the show The Triumph of the Therapeutic. You can read more about it here.

In case you wondered what the difference is on a DVD between English and English For The D/HOH (Deaf/Hard of Hearing) it is exactly this. The English subtitles will only translate the dialogue being spoken, the English For The D/HOH (Deaf/Hard of Hearing) will include descriptions of sounds in a scene such as [PHONE RINGS], [RADIO PLAYS JAUNTY TUNE IN BACKGROUND] as well as providing info on the tone of delivery when required such as  [HE RAPS] etc.  I sometimes marvel at the fantastic descriptions of sounds – If any subtitlers/captioners are reading this – do you enjoy this aspect and like coming up with the non dialogue descriptions or can it be tedious and a chore?  Here’s some that people have shared on Twitter recently:

RT @kinch: (Sharktopus moans) = best closed captioning ever.
RT @ctmcdm: When main theme of Indiana Jones movies plays, closed captioning always says “rousing adventure theme playing.” Amen to that.
RT @mooosh: @dekimmel I got to use both SEAL HONKS and ELEPHANT TRUMPETS on a film I’m captioning earlier – very satisfactory!
RT @dekimmel: I could watch closed captioning all day just to see how they characterize non-words. “Exhales sharply” “Screams in terror”
RT @gotgenes TV subtitles just said “[Nerd group laughing].” Think I just found my next band’s name.
RT @EvilNinjaPhil Just saw the Enter the Dragon theme described on 5 subtitles as ‘Dramatic Light Funk With Oriental Undertones’. GENIUS.

If you’ve seen any you like (or hate?) tweet them over to @iheartsubtitles and share 🙂