Censored subtitles – your f***ing joking!

Recently I came across an article that discussed the battle of censorship in subtitling movies and translating an offensive word with something more acceptable in the subtitles. You can read it here.  This is a completely alien concept to me I must admit. I cannot ever recall watching subtitles on UK TV or on a DVD and finding the subtitles replace the language being spoken with a less offensive word. Of course the vast majority of films I watch are in the English language and are American, British, Australian, Canadian etc. Perhaps our culture’s are less offended?  According to the same article other regions of the world require a more conservative dialogue.  The difference here is that the subtitles are then not same language subtitles but a translation from English to the native language of the country.  But assuming that the films still must pass censorship boards for all its content – not just the language – it strikes me as a little extreme.  Shouldn’t translations be as accurate as possible?  The writer or director chose such words for a reason – to convey a particular message – changing it risks losing the dramatic effect – whether it be for shock, emotion or comedy. I’d love to hear from anyone who has come across such censorship or if you have a different view and think its a good thing.

It reminds me of the extras on Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz DVD’s. The distributor requires the film makers to provide a softer version for TV/aeroplane  viewership etc thus resulting in some of the offensive language being dubbed by the actors by different words.  I found the Hot Fuzz version on You Tube but to put the fun back in, I have added subtitles both for the replacement dialogue dub and what the original ‘offensive’ language was. To be honest, it’s really not difficult to guess! Enjoy!

Last week saw the UK TV Premiere of Hot Fuzz on the channel ITV. The director Edgar Wright asked on Twitter for people to let him know if any of the TV safe dialogue was used to replace the offensive language. Since I was watching the film with subtitles on I was able to tweet the evidence that ITV had kept in the ‘offensive’ language and this too was reflected in the subtitles, as I think it should be: