The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry will develop a system to show Japanese TV programs with subtitles in foreign languages, including English and Chinese, to provide a more comfortable viewing experience for foreign visitors, according to sources.
Behind the ministry’s decision were requests from foreign visitors for more foreign-language subtitles for domestic TV programs. The envisaged system will be offered for news programs related to visitors’ safety and security during their stay, as well as variety shows.
A TV station broadcasts a program in the original Japanese, then the contents are automatically translated by a system to produce the foreign-language subtitles. Finally, the subtitles are sent to TV screens via the Internet."
where do I begin with this?
I know that Japan has more foreign tourists than foreign residents, but I still don’t understand why broadcasts related to “safety and security” are going to be translated for tourists’ sake rather than the millions of non-Japanese who actually live here.Obviously anyone living in Japan should be actively studying Japanese, but think about what subtitles could mean to foreign-born residents. All my early Japanese studies were supplemented with English-subtitled Japanese pop culture. Putting subtitles on everyday TV programming would send a message to non-native speakers, a acknowledgement that they exist and that they deserve to know what’s happening even if they’re new here.Who is writing these subtitles? The word “automatically” suggests a machine translator, but that would be a disaster. Machine-translated Japanese becomes gibberish in English, presumably that goes for other languages as well.I would understand the need for on-the-fly translation for live news broadcasts, but what about variety shows? They are filmed weeks even months in advance and are heavily edited (to add Japanese subtitles, for one thing). Shouldn’t they prep English subtitles in advance? They could be broadcast as closed captions.But all this leads to the biggest question of all: is writing subtitles for Japanese variety shows my DREAM JOB or my WORST NIGHTMARE? Because the shows are awful and this would mean closely watching them for a living but if I were writing the subtitles I could have fun with it on some level. Maybe every “おいしい!” could be a different synonym for “delicious” instead of the same word over and over again.at this point it sounds more interesting than teaching english, anyway(link to news story, via Sandra Barron)