DEAR NOLLYWOOD (YORUBA)!

There’s isn’t much so I’ll get right to it. And no, this isn’t to disparage the Nigerian movie industry – the Yoruba segment – but an appeal to see things done right. Sometimes I wonder I it’s really that hard to write in simple, correct English – it isn’t! So why do we still get crappy subtitles? Is it so compulsory?

Yeah, I know English is a second language in Nigeria but it’s one we’ve been speaking now or almost a century. In any case, having subtitles in a movie production should be a professional undertaking so I expect a decent level o subtitling. These days, I cringe when I have the ‘misfortune’ of seeing a Yoruba movie. I’m an editor, so it’s really headache-inducing and embarrassing to see messed up subtitles on the screen.

The world is a global village now and locally produced movies aren’t restricted anymore. These movies are shown on satellite TV to audiences outside Nigeria who understand the English Language used in subtitling but not the Yoruba language spoken in these movies. People travel with these movies; you can find them on YouTube and blogs. So it’s not too much to ask for if a movie you know will possibly be aired internationally has correct subtitles.

I know these producers mean well but some things are only worth doing when done right. I can’t stand seeing a movie while my mind mulls over who’s laughing his head off in Ghana (those ones are always looking for fodder) or Kuala Lumpur. Yes, the aforementioned also produce movies with horrible subtitles but they’re not our movies and definitely none of my business. My concern is strictly about what we put out there and it really should be done with excellence as the watchword.

I’ll just put a few examples below for the heck of it.

Brace for impact…

I’m pretty sure we all know what he’s saying and what the subtitle should be. But by Jove, how hard can it be to spell armed robbery?!

I’m pretty sure we all know what he’s saying and what the subtitle should be. But by Jove, how hard can it be to spell armed robbery?!

Maybe I’m a bit slow. But there are tons of words to use here. A simple ‘relax’ would do. How the flip-flops am I gonna put my mind at ‘arrest’ when it should be at rest?

Maybe I’m a bit slow. But there are tons of words to use here. A simple ‘relax’ would do. How the flip-flops am I gonna put my mind at ‘arrest’ when it should be at rest?

Good Lord! No words here people. No words.

Good Lord! No words here people. No words.

Double slam right here. This right here is funny and I can’t really say why; is it the situation or the translation? But what does ‘tight together’ mean?

Double slam right here. This right here is funny and I can’t really say why; is it the situation or the translation? But what does ‘tight together’ mean?

If we’re gonna be literal here, this man is dead already – the prayer killed him. The Almighty should ‘Ill’ an ill person? Why not just write, ‘Kill him Lord!’? Obviously, we know ‘heal’ is the correct word to use here.

If we’re gonna be literal here, this man is dead already – the prayer killed him. The Almighty should ‘Ill’ an ill person? Why not just write, ‘Kill him Lord!’? Obviously, we know ‘heal’ is the correct word to use here.

Finally…

I’m not calling this one out because there’s no real blunder except that it should be ‘trousers’. That’s forgivable.  But damn, this is awkward.

I’m not calling this one out because there’s no real blunder except that it should be ‘trousers’. That’s forgivable.  But damn, this is awkward.

I understand that we might not have the best movie technology, we might not be able to afford the best cameras or best production quality but having to read subtitles without stress shouldn’t be too much to ask for.

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14 Comments

  1. Pingback: DEAR NOLLYWOOD (YORUBA)! | royalprincessite's Blog

  2. Reading subtitles without stress really shouldn’t be too much to ask for. I mean, seriously! At least employ the services of a Yoruba English professor, if you must. An English student even. But by everything good in heaven and on earth! GET THE SUBTITLES RIGHT!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loool ‘tight together’ 😭😭😭😫killed me. I think it’s coz most filmmakers are independent. So 1 person is doing the bulk of the editing & directing & cinematography instead of dividing it. Which can only lead to shoddy work in all the areas

    Like

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