Interview with Shirin Ebadi (شیرین عبادی) on Deutsche Welle and bilingualism in Canada

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

(I was going to add this to this post but got off on a tangent)

Here's a video in German with Deutsche Welle doing an interview with Shirin Ebadi. She doesn't speak in German but her voice is mostly dubbed over so if you speak Persian but no German you're out of luck.

That reminds me: dubbing voices over is an old approach based on television and not the internet. On TV in one's home country it's likely more convenient to have dubbing (sometimes you might not be paying attention to the TV and can only listen from another room for example), but once a video goes on the internet there should probably be another version with subtitles as well, both for those that are hard of hearing and also for the large number of people that understand the language being spoken. Once you upload something to the internet it transcends borders and thus there should be a few more options available.

Then again, dubbing is always a tricky issue. One other annoyance can be seen on Canadian TV where those in the government speaking French are dubbed over by an English translator, where sometimes you would just rather follow along with the French. Sometimes I wonder if an officially bilingual country like Canada should even have dubbing. What is the point of official bilingualism if those that speak both French and English are to be insulated from the other language every time it is spoken?

The answer may be that this is an access to information issue, but then again the complete transcript of House of Commons debates can be accessed here, so TV isn't the only way to know what is going on.

Final note: even a lot of the people I know back home in Calgary that know no more than a few words of French say that they wish they had been brought up with strict bilingualism, that they wish school from the start had been conducted in both languages instead of waiting until grade 4 for French language classes to start. A lot of people are opposed to the idea of French classes, but supportive of the idea of classes in French.


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