Sunday, December 14, 2014

The campaign for Gaelic subtitles on Gaelic TV

A campaign to have an option for Gaelic subtitles on the Gaelic television Channel BBC Alba is gathering momentum in the Gàidhlig speaking and learner community. Spearheading the campaign is the website Gàidhlig TV. This observer will testify (as a Gaelic learner) that it doesn't help the learning curve at all to have the English subtitles at the bottom of the screen. There are also claims that many of the programs on the Gaelic Channel have more English than Gaelic in their content. The campaigners state:

"Established in 2008, a great deal of the channel’s programming for adults contains English language content – a deliberate policy decision by broadcasters - with no Gaelic subtitling/captioning, dubbing or voice-overs. English language subtitles are imposed on the majority of programmes for adults, with no opt-out opportunity. Gaelic subtitles - for the very language the channel is supposed to represent - are not provided as an option, therefore limiting access service provision for fluent speakers or learners of the language (learners are a key target audience for the channel also). English language audio is systematically and regularly included in programming. The very high level of English language content has prompted a variety of commentators to question the channel’s purpose. There have been cases of ‘Gaelic’ programmes being conducted almost entirely through the medium of English."

The on line campaign is also active on twitter where regular analysis of English content in so-called Gaelic programmes is analyzed. 
It does seem entirely appropriate to this observer that money intended for Gaelic television should simply be for that - to promote the Gaelic language and that means Gaelic subtitles too. 


Anonymous said...

The subtitles allow me as a supporter of Gaelic but without an interest in learning the language to watch some very interesting programs. If you want to shut me out fine, but I would have thought a better idea might have been to offer the option of subtitles or not, or even for learners just to simply cover up that part of the screen?

I also watch many foreign language films that have subtitles, should these also be banned for the sake of learners?

I would have thought that there was a wealth of material out there for Gaelic students and ostracising the likes of myself by removing subtitles was not in the interests of the language

Graisg said...

Morning/madainn mhath anon,

No don't want to cut you out of it at all. It is possible to have English subtitles as an option too. Here's something from the campaign site:

"2. GTV: If a TV channel already provides a subtitling service in one language, what is involved in providing subtitling for another language as well?
AL: Language translation is an obvious way for a TV channel to extend reach, so if it operates in a multi-language community then it would naturally be considering how to reach a wider audience by – for example – subtitling or dubbing. Subtitling across the language barrier on recorded material is not hugely expensive and the techniques are well known. Normally second-language subtitles would be delivered so that they can be displayed optionally, rather than burned in on the picture which everyone receives as would be done for a foreign language programme import."

There is another important issue here and that is that Gaelic subtitles would aid literacy in the language so much. Many speakers of Gàidhlig never had the chance to be educated in their own language so literacy skills are pro rata poor compared to those whose first language is English.

Anonymous said...

Maybe when we find the key the new notice board in Nairn could get some subtitles or is it to remain entirely within the Gaelic domain?

Micheal MacKintosh said...

My wife doesn't speak Gaelic but even she can't understand why the English are 'stuck to the screen' at the bottom of the page, without allowing us to switch them off. The English subtitles are very distracting as they are not 'switch-offable' - most annoying. It would be far better if we had a choice. As a Gaelic speaker, I would prefer to have Gaelic-only. But at least lets start by getting rid of the 'compulsory' English.

Anonymous said...

Why are there not any subtitles on the Nairn information board ? Maybe they'll do that once they get it opened.

Graisg said...

Try the B side anon

Anonymous said...

Or maybe they can put in a notice to tell us how much it costs the council to send the garlick kids to school in a taxi for a year.

Graisg said...

While you are researching that one anon please find out how much taxis for pupils to English only schools cost too please and a look at the cost of school transport overall.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe Tommy will use his noggin and pay a locksmith with some of RCC funds to actually get the noticeboard open.

Graisg said...

Maybe it might not be possible to do that without permission from Highland Council because it must be their property?

Anonymous said...

£300,000 a year is what it costs to put pupils in the highlands alone to Gaelic schools of their choice.
Why.? If they want to learn Gaelic, then that's their choice and they should be paying for it. Me thinks it's more to do with the extra funding the schools that teach Gaelic get from the council, than actually a real interest in Gaelic.
They should be going to the nearest school in their catchment area, or be paying their transport. We don't pay for highland dance classes!

Graisg said...

where do you get that figure from please anon? We've been here before if it's press figures, here's part of a response from the then Ceannard of Bòrd na Gàidhlig to the Inverness Courier in 2011:

"With regard to the costs of school transport for Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis the actual figure we have from Highland Council is not the £260,000 quoted in your article but £77,600. In the context of the £12.131 million spent by Highland Council, this is just 0.6% of the schools transport budget and is, we understand, the second lowest transport cost per pupil of seven Inverness Primary Schools. " And here's some more useful information from Art Cormack in a response to the Lochaber News in 2012 - "The Highland Council spends less than a quarter of 1% of its budget on Gaelic, while it serves an area where 6.7% of the population speaks Gaelic. The Highland Council collects at least £5.7m in Council Tax from Gaelic speakers which surely gives Gaelic speakers the right to expect some of that (their) money to be spent on Gaelic services.

According to its own figures, the Council spends a total of around £4m on Gaelic. But that figure is misleading since the majority of that spend is on education which the Council would have a statutory duty to provide in English, in order to educate the children currently in Gaelic medium education were that option withdrawn.

It is the case that the cost of educating a child in English across The Highland Council area is around £3,300 while the cost of educating a child in Gaelic is only £2,600. Not included in those figures is the Scottish Government’s Specific Grant for Gaelic Education - £945k that would not be available to The Highland Council for any other purpose and which reduces even further the already favourable cost of educating a pupil in Gaelic." Always think beyond the headlines when it comes to Gaelic - it's an easy target for journalists.

a supporter said...

I cannot read or write Gaelic, I do not speak it or understand the spoken word, but it's our language and I support it 100%

I'm always saddened when I read ignorant comments about Gaelic, just how Anglicised do folk want Scotland to be?

We were once severely punished for speaking it, and snobbery or the such like means that some folk are in denial that it was once the language of Nairn

I enjoy watching programs on Alba but understand the need for a choice over subtitles

I would hope that Gurn readers become more educated before making spurious negative comments on the matter