Thursday, March 19, 2009

tips for hiding hard-coded subs

This post marks the completion of my sixth viewing of the above-pictured drama (雍正王朝). This was the first Chinese TV series drama that I bought. I purchased it on 11/18/2008 which was 4 months ago. I have watched it 6 times already because I did not have very many dramas. Since then, I have watched 3 other Chinese dramas and I have 2 new ones that I will be watching next. Not only that, but I have 4 more on the way from Amazon China. From here on out, I won't need to watch each drama so frequently.

The first three dramas that I bought have hard subs in Japanese. I have tried to avoid catching any glimpse of the subtitles. This time around, I found two ways in which I can effectively hide them. However, it also means hiding that part of the screen as well.

The first way to hide them is to not play the drama in full screen on the computer. Take another window, like the finder window, and cover up the bottom of the screen where the subtitles appear. This will be about the lower 1/4 or 1/5 of the screen. So the DVD player application is not the front window.

The second way applies to my Portable Language Acquisition Input Device (PLAID). On my portable DVD player I can zoom the screen to 2x. Then I can slide the screen down so that I see all of the top. This is just enough to hide the bottom portion where the subtitles appear. Of course the video becomes a little pixelated with the zoom and the right and left edges of the picture also get cut off.

My 2 new Chinese TV dramas that I will be watching next also have hard subs, but there are two differences. The first is that the subs are in Chinese, the same language as the audio. The second difference is that the subs are not actually on the picture. The picture is letterboxed with the subtitles appearing below the video. So if I use method 1 to hide the subtitles, I won't be missing any of the picture. Also, it will be easier to not see the subtitles when they are not directly on the picture anyway.

Even though the new dramas will have Chinese subtitles, I think it is better for me to not be looking at them now. Later, after I have acquired listening and speaking and want to focus on reading, I can use the Chinese subtitles to learn to read, I think.

I'm looking forward to watching all of the new dramas that are coming. I believe that in each drama series, there will be certain words which appear more often than in other series. For example, in this drama, from the very first time through it, I learned the word for "emperor" because the emperor is the main character that the whole story revolves around. In the second and third dramas, that word was also used quite a bit. In the fourth drama, that word is used just a few times and because I knew the word I knew exactly who they were talking about the first time it was spoken in the drama. In that fourth drama, the emperor doesn't appear until near the end. The emperor is just a small part in that series. But from that drama, I learned the word for "kill." People kept saying, "I'm going to kill you!" I had noticed the word previously, but I didn't know if it only meant "stab." But then when someone was killed by a gun, I knew that it was not a word used only with swords and knives.

So I do think it is best to get a wide variety of exposure to your target language. You don't have to guess at what every word means. Somewhere, there is a situation that will make it patently obvious what a certain word means.

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