State of the Union Spanish Subtitles Garbled—Why Do We Need Them Anyway?
January 21, 2015, 05:38 PM
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Did you know there were official Spanish subtitles for the State of the Union address? I didn't, but there are, and the Latino Rebels site reports that they were badly done and garbled. Well, why do we need them anyway? Shouldn't every U.S. citizen know English? Can you really understand U.S. politics if you don't know English?

Anyway, here is the Latino Rebels' bellyaching from their article Subtitle Hell: Spanish Version of #SOTU Is Hilariously Sad

So, another night another State of the Union speech. This year, we decided to catch the Spanish version of President Obama’s speech, which clearly stated it was going to be subtitled and official. And we were so glad we did, because it was hilarious yet typical of how major American politicians and political parties still treat Spanish speakers in the United States: like second-class citizens.

Seriously? "Second-class citizens"? Our society bends over backwards to please Spanish speakers, and they still complain? They are recipients of affirmative action that discriminates against Anglo-Saxon whites. Politicians have their campaign put out more and more Spanish-language communication. We're told we can't get tough on immigration so as not to offend Hispanics? Illegal aliens get more and more rights? So who are really the "second-class citizens"?

Not only was the translation of the speech clunky at times (expected), but the subtitles, oh the subtitles. Any Spanish speaker who really was looking forward to watching this speech would have been greatly disappointed and confused. Want proof? Here is an actual clip from tonight with the actual subtitles flying past the video. If you were a Spanish speed reader, you might have understood it, when the translation actually made sense. We guess. Just watch. And laugh. Then shake your head and realize that when it comes to communicating in Spanish, neither Democrats or Republicans have gotten it.

How demanding.

Time to hire actual people who understand that communication must be authentic and thoughtful. It’s almost as if someone said, “Crap, just run the subtitles. It’s only Spanish.”

By the way, there is an official transcript in Spanish. The White House could have just shared that and called it a day. Avoid the more complicated attempt at subtitling a live speech. Instead, it clearly took more than it could handle with this one.

The truth hurts, but have no fear, maybe Democrats and Republicans can agree on one thing: both parties need to take Spanish 101 lessons again.

Better yet, have all citizens learn English. After all, if politicians are lying in just one language, at least it's easier to keep up with them.