I told S4C about the petition. In the reply came the following:
You mention that the petition is for S4C viewers outside Wales. Is this for those living outside the UK? You may be interested to know that S4C are currently working on increasing the number of programmes available to watch outside the UK. To find out which programmes are available for international viewers, you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter containing details about the current programmes available on demand on our website, and those programmes coming soon.
I suspect that all of you who are interested already know this, but am sending it just in case!!
I’ve been watching Peppa - it’s simple enough for me to get 80% of it!
I’ve also been watching Pobl y Cwm, without subtitles. I get about 1% of it.
What’s the SSI view on subtitles - does it help or is it better to immerse and hope eventually it all becomes clear?
I am lazy and I have yet to find a way to watch with Welsh subtitles that is not live. As I tend to watch recorded programs, I use English subtitles, but noticing the differences in meaning is fun.To be honest, most subtitles are riddled with mistakes. My hearing is definitely getting worse, so I tend to use subtitles to help and sometimes end up laughing helplessly as a result!!
I think Hendraig might be referring to watching it via broadcast means, which I believe is possible outside Wales (but within the UK) on Sky and similar means.
However, I was referring to watching it via the web/internet, i.e. via S4C’s Clic service. This has an option towards the bottom-right of the screen for “isdeitlau”, which ( for this programme and a few others) can either be Off, Welsh, or English. Sadly, it seems that not many programmes have Welsh subtitles, although I think most do have English ones, but the popular soap “Pobol Y Cwm” does have them, as well as Rownd a Rownd. They don’t seem to have got round to making “Pobol” available on the international page, but maybe they will one day.
(Not sure if it’s possible to watch anything live via the International Clic service; it is possible via the UK Clic service, though I have rarely if ever done so, and am not sure about what subtitles, if any, you would get in that case).
It seems that watching S4C on BBC iplayer, only offers English subtitles. Whereas watching via Clic, gives options for both Welsh and English if available.
Two questions: I remember when the Welsh subtitles on S4C had rare words translated into English (in square brackets) to help learners, I thought this was useful, if not why was it stopped? or did that subtitler move on?
I’m still watching with English subtitles, though trying to get what I can from listening, I’m assuming that as my Welsh listening improves I’ll switch to Welsh subtitles, then finally none at all, Is this the wrong approach, if so why?
Hmmm. I’m not sure that it was to help learners. A lot of native speakers need help with obscure (especially technical) words. The ubiquity of English often means that people will have encountered an English term long before they come across the Welsh equivalent. If you listen to the news on Radio Cymru, it’s far from unusual to hear them say “[technical term in Welsh] neu [equivalent in English]”.
I’d recommend a different approach - that you listen without subtitles, then (if you can face and/or find the time to listen a second time) listen with Welsh subtitles, and then only if you can bear a third repeat to listen with the English subtitles.
This forces you to pay much closer attention to what you’re hearing - it’s like taking off the stabilisers on a bike - and although it’s more psychologically challenging, it will give you much more valuable exposure to the language. It’s pretty well understood now that the concept of ‘multi-tasking’ is a misnomer - when we try to pay attention to more than one thing at a time, we’re actually swapping from one to the other very quickly, and there’s a cost to that swap as well. So while you’re in the process of reading the subtitles, you won’t be listening to the spoken word…
I personally didn’t get bored, but there is also the time factor as well, and you may consider there are better uses of your time than to watch the same thing three times.
Doing it the way Aran suggests is undoubtedly the best thing if you can do it, but in the early stages it can be extremely hard to catch the words, especially if you don’t know or haven’t been exposed to many words.
Now (for that particular programme at least - I know the characters, and am used to the kind of things they say) I try to do without subtitles altogether (earphones help), but If I’m really not getting something, what I sometimes do it pause it, go back a minute or so, and switch on subtitles just to get that bit, then switch them off again. (This is all via Clic).
I’ve always loved that “new language effect” when I don’t know the language well enough yet, and everything said in it seems wonderfully profound and meaningful to me, when all native speakers seem incredibly eloquent and smart, and every program - a source of wisdom.
I could use Clic, of course, but my laptop is rather small and it’s a bit difficult to use it with Toffi on the sofa and likely to start typing!! (One of my Cavaliers used to put his big hairy paw on the keyboard and type “sseeeexxxxx” regularly!! He was an entire male, but advertising that way didn’t help him!)
So I can get English subtitles or none, usually. To get Cymraeg I would have to watch live!! It is rather a bother that some programmes have started to give English subtitles on screen which you can’t switch off!!! I think this is for repeats, but often it is not practicable for me to watch or record at another time!!
p.s. Has anyone heard whether ‘Dim ond y gwir’ is coming back? It seemed to go very suddenly with a lot of loose ends untied!!