Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cultural Adjustment, dubbed.

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a sophisticated reflection.

I lay the blame on its origin during the 16th year of my life.

Adjusting to dubbed movies

Stage I: At first you notice, you rejoice in, you grasp for the split second of the original English speech before the overlaid dubbed language kicks in. Something familiar! Something you can understand! But alas, these moments only last for not even the duration of a complete second and you are back, lost and confused, in the world of the new language. Even worse, soon you find yourself with a headache from the subconscious efforts of trying to understand the English beneath the dubbed language.

Stage II: Soon, you get used to the dubbing but become annoyed with it. You can’t help but focus on the delay between the actors’ lip movement and the actual speech. Why? Why would they dub movies? The movie looses so much from not having the original voices, especially Will Smith movies. Really, they do. Besides, it is so frustrating to know that you used to be able to understand every word of this movie and now you can barely laugh at the jokes.

Stage III: But soon, you get used to dubbed movies. You stop noticing the small delay. You become accustom to German Will Smith instead of American Will Smith. You even understand the language and therefore don’t have to ‘remember’ the movie to know what is going on. You even stop noticing that you are watching dubbed movies at all. Happy with such a great success, you decide to go to the local movie theater to watch the newest Star Wars movie. Wait, you just found out that dubbed into German, the word ‘Jedi’ is pronounced ‘ye-dee’. Never mind, you can’t handle multiple hours of ‘yedees’, that is asking too much.

Adjusting to a new culture

At first, you notice everything, the similarities and the differences. You often try to make yourself familiar with and understand what is going on around you. Eggplant? I eat eggplant. Tomatoes, cucumbers? I eat those too. Outhouse? I’ve used one of those before. Cows everywhere? I’m from Wisconsin, I see them all the time while driving past farms in my car. Armenian language? I can figure out a few words, I’ll be able to communicate just fine. But just as in Stage I of adjusting to dubbed movies. These moments only last for a split second before you become overwhelmed with the world of new, strange, and different phenomenon you are now living in. And after awhile, you get a headache from it all…

Eventually, you get tired. This is when you start to get annoyed. Shit, I just stepped in cow shit again? This is the third dog that has tried to attack me while running? And you discover how ‘incapable’ you are without language skills. I can’t cook for myself? I can’t walk myself to school? I can barely tell you what my basic needs are and certainly can not make a joke or engage in a conversation longer than two minutes.

Luckily, you eventually move on to Stage III of watching dubbed movies and cultural immersion. You gain a better grasp on the language and what is going on around you. You understand things. You become accustomed to the things that may have annoyed you in stage two. You become comfortable and make this new setting your life. You stop listening for that split second of English…

But of course, there will still be moments when you can’t handle German Yoda saying “Ye-dee” instead of Jedi. Such is life.