I figured out about two months ago that if I have the captions on when a movie or show is in English, it still helps me understand everything better. I’ve kept the captions on ever since.

I’m hopelessly addicted to Supernatural right now (no spoilers, I’m not even to the end of the 4th season *shhhhh*). It is the first show in English that I have watched extensively with captions, and I gotta say, the captions are driving me nuts.

Most of the time, they are helpful, but when they are wrong, they are making it more difficult to understand. If the captions don’t match what’s being said, I don’t understand what’s being said, and I don’t comprehend what I’m reading. They don’t match up and my head kinda freaks out for a moment. Or there will be actions being captioned that don’t actually happen. Side conversations, [dog barking], etc. That is very frustrating as well, because I get caught up in trying to understand why the captions say something is happening, but I don’t hear it happening. Is there something I’m missing?

Oh! No.

The captions are wrong.


It’s not advantageous to the experience to have fucked up captions, and even though the singular mistakes are small (usually) they are frustrating. I can’t imagine for someone who is deaf or who can’t process auditory input very well at all, how much harder it could be to know what’s going on. How many shows are like this? How many things are there where captions are screwed up? How much of a message is lost?

There have been a couple of times during the show where the captions on screen didn’t match the conversation. I had to go back and listen again, but I can do that. What if you don’t have an advantage? For me at least, unless I’m doing really, really badly, I can at least close my eyes and direct my listening to the source and focus all my attention on what’s being said and am generally able to understand it fine, and under normal circumstances, it doesn’t take me a whole lot longer to process everything that is said. The captions are helpful, they aren’t a necessity to me. I’m utilizing them because I found that they *generally* enhance my viewing experience and allow me to understand everything at a more consistent pace.

What about if it’s something you need?

Good enough dialog where the actors screw up a few times isn’t acceptable as an end result, so why are good enough captions where it doesn’t match up with what’s going on acceptable?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s written about this, and I’m sure there are far more comprehensive overviews, breakdowns and ways to fix it, but this is new to me. I’ve opened up my eyes, so to speak, by accident, but nonetheless. I’m left with one question currently.