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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    04 Oct '09 10:37
    It always bugs me when news people turn up at, say, locations struck by disasters, and only want to talk to witnesses who speak English, even if their English is very poor - rather than work with competent interpreters, who are almost always readily available in those situations. The result is, time after time, legions of rather inscrutable foreigners on the TV screens in the sitting rooms of English speaking countries, sounding rather dim and (obviously) inarticulate, whereas in reality they are mostly ordinary smart people with something coherent to say and perhaps a telling point to make about the predicament they are in.

    I worked with people from the BBC and CNN immediately after the earthquake here in 2006 and before we went out into the field we agreed that the people they interviewed would be allowed to speak their mother tongue rather than be expected to trot out their 100 words of inadequate English - something that invariably creates an impression of cluelessness and poor education. Indeed, in some cases dubbing was arranged.

    To me, the fact that Gerhard Schroeder and Jacques Chirac - both reasonably proficient speakers of English (maybe Schroeder less so) - almost never uttered a word on behalf of their respective nations in English, is not unrelated to what I said in the paragraph above.
  2. 04 Oct '09 12:38
    Gee all this time we thought they were just stupid thank you for bringing it up.
  3. 04 Oct '09 16:10
    Originally posted by FMF
    It always bugs me when news people turn up at, say, locations struck by disasters, and only want to talk to witnesses who speak English, even if their English is very poor - rather than work with competent interpreters, who are almost always readily available in those situations. The result is, time after time, legions of rather inscrutable foreigners on the TV ...[text shortened]... of their respective nations in English, is not unrelated to what I said in the paragraph above.
    its because the gringos are either too lazy or too stupid to learn other languages.

    (no sarcasm)
  4. 04 Oct '09 16:21
    Originally posted by generalissimo
    its because the gringos are either too lazy or too stupid to learn other languages.

    (no sarcasm)
    You call sam the sham racist and then you come out w/ this crap. The hypocrasy is astounding.
  5. 04 Oct '09 16:30
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    You call sam the sham racist and then you come out w/ this crap. The hypocrasy is astounding.
    well, sam is a racist and he doesn't deny it himself.

    then you come out w/ this crap. The hypocrasy is astounding.

    no hypocrisy there, I wasn't referring to just whites but english-speaking foreigners in general.
    and its true, from the many english-speaking people I have encountered in my life I can count on my fingers the number of people who could speak other languages.
  6. Subscriber Sleepyguy
    Reepy Rastardly Guy
    04 Oct '09 16:42
    Originally posted by FMF
    It always bugs me when news people turn up at, say, locations struck by disasters, and only want to talk to witnesses who speak English, even if their English is very poor - rather than work with competent interpreters, who are almost always readily available in those situations. The result is, time after time, legions of rather inscrutable foreigners on the TV ...[text shortened]... of their respective nations in English, is not unrelated to what I said in the paragraph above.
    I agree with you that news organizations should seek out the best possible sources regardless of their ability to speak English, especially if interpreters are available.

    It seems though, that are you assuming English speaking viewers leap to the conclusion that (obviously bi-lingual) interviewees are unintelligent because their English isn't perfect.
  7. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    04 Oct '09 22:34 / 3 edits
    Sorry about being too lazy to learn others's languages, we're busy providing an economy and police protection for (and from) the poor who have fled here from Latin America.

    I suppose that means little to you...Brazil isn't Latin America and I don't think I've ever met a Brazilian immigrant.

    But still!
  8. Standard member Fleabitten
    Love thy bobblehead
    05 Oct '09 00:10
    Originally posted by generalissimo
    its because the gringos are either too lazy or too stupid to learn other languages.

    (no sarcasm)
    Or maybe it's because those who run the outlets know that portraying the victims of these events as simple and uneducated tugs more upon the heartstrings, magnifies the tragedy, and leads to higher ratings.
  9. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    05 Oct '09 00:22
    Originally posted by Sleepyguy
    It seems though, that are you assuming English speaking viewers leap to the conclusion that (obviously bi-lingual) interviewees are unintelligent because their English isn't perfect.
    I am not assuming anything like that about all English speaking viewers. Apologies if my choice of words gave that impression. I certainly wouldn't assume it about you, for instance. But I have - over the years - been in situations, watched TV in the company of certain groups and had conversations with people - even certain relatives - who have reached jaw-droppingly crass conclusions and said deeply condescending things about people with minimal English proficiency trying to express themselves.
  10. 05 Oct '09 16:10
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Sorry about being too lazy to learn others's languages, we're busy providing an economy and police protection for (and from) the poor who have fled here from Latin America.

    I suppose that means little to you...Brazil isn't Latin America and I don't think I've ever met a Brazilian immigrant.

    But still!
    Sorry about being too lazy to learn others's languages, we're busy providing an economy and police protection for (and from) the poor who have fled here from Latin America.

    nobody is forcing to you to do that, and by "latin america" you mean mexico, right?
    and even so, that gives you an "excuse" not to learn a foreign language? what a load of crap.

    I suppose that means little to you...Brazil isn't Latin America and I don't think I've ever met a Brazilian immigrant.

    brazil isn't in latin america? are you retarded?

    how is it relevant that you've never met a brazilian immigrant?
  11. Standard member DrKF
    incipit parodia
    06 Oct '09 15:14
    I think part of the problem may be that extended subtitled interviews may well have a 'switch-off effect' as viewers are required to put more effort in to comprehension and decide not to bother (or, at least, that TV execs fear such a response).
  12. 06 Oct '09 16:10 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by DrKF
    I think part of the problem may be that extended subtitled interviews may well have a 'switch-off effect' as viewers are required to put more effort in to comprehension and decide not to bother (or, at least, that TV execs fear such a response).
    in other words, the problem isn't whether we're making the people being interviewed look dumb - but how we're going to maintain the attention spans of people who actually are dumb?
  13. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    07 Oct '09 00:49
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    in other words, the problem isn't whether we're making the people being interviewed look dumb - but how we're going to maintain the attention spans of people who actually are dumb?
    Brilliant nugget!
  14. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    07 Oct '09 08:29
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    in other words, the problem isn't whether we're making the people being interviewed look dumb - but how we're going to maintain the attention spans of people who actually are dumb?
    I recommend puppets.
  15. 07 Oct '09 08:33
    Originally posted by DrKF
    I think part of the problem may be that extended subtitled interviews may well have a 'switch-off effect' as viewers are required to put more effort in to comprehension and decide not to bother (or, at least, that TV execs fear such a response).
    That is a matter of getting used to it (and literacy). When I watch a German movie, I find the dubbed voices hilarious for a few minutes, and annoying afterwards.