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  • Dan Marich

Can You Understand What They're Saying

UPDATE: Thank you to those of you kind enough to point out that I am in fact the idiot Linda keeps telling me I am. When I originally wrote SAP I clearly meant closed captioning. They are not even close to being the same thing and I am sorry for insulting each and every one of you by inferring they were. Please continue to point out the errors or I will never improve my English.


Are we the only one's who, when watching a program on TV that has a lot of people talking in a foreign accent, turn up the volume to try to understand better what the hell they are saying?

I noticed us doing it during Say Yes to the Dress, UK the other day. What is troubling is that they are of course speaking English, a language we should clearly understand, and yet for about 75% of the show, we have no idea what the heck they are talking about. (Yes that is how pathetic our lives are. We watch stupid TV shows, sorry.)

House Hunters International is even harder to understand because they are either speaking broken English, or they have an interpreter speaking for them, in broken English. Linda has followed the advice of some friends who suggested we turn on the closed captioning system for these shows to make it easier to understand what they are saying. It feels like that is wrong to do when watching a TV show in your family room for some reason.

It's even more embarrassing when you are watching a show with people talking in a Southern accent like Barnwood Builders and you can't follow along with what they are saying. Since most of this cast has long full beards you can't even read lips to help you understand.


I know our advanced age does not help us in hearing them any better but what is our reasoning for thinking that if we turn up the volume it will help us understand them better? It's like people talking louder to someone from another country that doesn't speak English. Talking louder is not going to make us, or them, understand any better. It isn't about hearing, it is about understanding.


Almost always when the show is over we are reaching for the remote to TURN DOWN THE VOLUME which has crept up from the original setting of 22-ish, to somewhere around 37. We of course still can't understand them but they are much easier to hear. Then, a commercial comes on and the sound goes up about 30% for that.


The problem for me, using the closed captioning, is that I get torn between reading the words and watching the pictures. So while I now understand about 84% more of what they are saying, I've missed about 93% of what they are showing, so none of it makes any sense.


This is when I usually get up and go play games on my computer, slinking away in shame and disgust with my inability to follow a stupid TV program. I might as well watch Spanish language TV novellas, at least you can sort of understand when they are being funny and get a chuckle out of the show.


Hearing aids would likely help the situation, but since all of our disposable income goes to dog vet bills, that is not an option right now. I could, of course, just read a book and not worry about this, but you can only read so much before you get antsy and need some eye candy to help stave off boredom.


I know that these are not world changing, pressing issues, but they are annoying and frustrating to be sure. I guess I'll stick to watching the MLB network where I understand what is going on and can follow the action.

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