Subtitle Fails in Movies

Fatih Bilgic
Feb 5, 2022
Subtitle Fails in Movies
Subtitle Fails in Movies

People rely on great, accurate subtitles. Whether it’s a parent with very young (loud) children who’s attempting to enjoy a movie, an elderly person with a hearing impairment, or just the 85% of people who watch videos on Facebook with the sound off, it’s crucial to have reliably good subtitles.

In this article, however, we’re going to talk about what happens when adding subtitles to a video goes wrong. What happens when a captioner goes rogue - or when you truly can’t tell what they were trying to convey?

(Our answer: some pretty hilarious things that you don’t want for your business!) Read on to see our take on some of the biggest subtitle fails in movies (you can see the original screengrabs here). We’ll close by talking about how Maestra’s own video subtitle generator can help you avoid subtitle failure by enabling you to quickly add subtitles in any language.

How Loki Really Feels

“I do not like the Thunder Guy”

The captioner for a Chinese bootleg version of this movie wrote in “I do not like the thunder guy.” This is ridiculous because, of course,  Loki knows the name of “the thunder guy”. Thor is Loki’s adoptive brother and Loki’s been trying to sabotage and overthrow him for his whole life.

Harry Potter’s Secret Sister

“Hally Porter!”

Maybe it’s a cry for help, or maybe it’s a subtitler who really wants to see a movie about a female wizard. At any rate, someone has captioned this “Harry Potter” clip with the name “Hally Porter.” Let’s hope they notice the title of the movie soon and realize what they’ve done.

Archeologist or Archeology? You Decide

“This is Indiana Jones. The famous archaeology.”

This scene sees Elsa introducing Indiana Jones as “the famous archeology.” They were close, but you know what they say: “Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” Unless Indiana Jones’ job is to study himself, we’re going to call this a fail.

They’re Definitely Not Trees

“We are not oaks, we are hobiks.”

In this scene, Merry is actually saying, “We’re not orcs, we’re hobbits,” but the person (or more likely, program) doing the subtitle work on this must have been living under a rock, accidentally replacing “orcs” with “oaks”. The “oaks” mistake is somewhat understandable, since there are trees that go to war in this trilogy, but the “hobiks” mistake is unforgivable.

The Caption You Do Not Want

“Do not want!”

Sometimes a well-intentioned localization might wonder horribly astray. It’s not that difficult to translate the word “No,” but the person who created these subtitles failed epically at it. “Do not waaaaaaaant!” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Vader’s infamous “Noooooo!”

All the World’s a Stage

“Which you not be massage use that stage too much.”

This caption fail is almost too convoluted to understand. There’s something about a massage and something about a stage - but apparently, the caption was originally supposed to be talking about a Massachusetts State Trooper. Subtitle fails are somehow even more amusing when they’re in films as serious in tone as The Departed.

First the Bait Shop, then the Drugstore

“I need a bait and eyeliner.”

Marvel captions may be among the funniest on our list. Do you want to conquer and enslave the world? Just get yourself some bait and eyeliner. Clearly people can’t resist fish food and well-placed eye makeup.

Ur Grammar Needs Help

“Report to the new Quartermaster for ur documentation.”

We have a feeling we know how this happened. Something tells us that the person who did the subtitle on this article chose texting shorthand to create their articles and then went back and wrote the words correctly afterward. However, they must have overlooked this one, resulting in this interesting caption.

The Backstroke That Won the West

“The Backstroke of the West.”

It’s a unique take on the title of the third Star Wars prequel, that’s for sure. This strikes us more as a translation error or a captioner gone rogue. We can’t figure out the connection between swimming and revenge, probably because there isn’t one. (To be fair, the sith-west connection is a bit foggy as well.)

This Humiliating Mistake Gives us Qualms

“This is my bargain in humiliating qualm!”

Although the original words of this dialogue contained a Shakespearean insult, the person who captioned this must not have heard of it before. Instead, the person wrote that Loki shouted, “This is my bargain in humiliating qualm!” A pretty hilarious change of pace, if you ask us.

Avoid Subtitle Fails: Choose Maestra

Although subtitle fails are amusing to the rest of us, they’re decidedly not funny to the companies who have paid a pretty penny for subtitle services. If you want reliably fantastic and accurate subtitles, Maestra has what you’re looking for.

Our auto caption generator can save you a great deal of time and can translate your subtitles automatically into over 50 different languages. All you need to do is upload audio or video files and the subtitles will be automatically generated.

From there, just check your subtitles for accuracy with our advanced subtitle editor, and export it. You can format your subtitles by choosing font size, color, wrap, and opacity. Because you’re able to go in and check the subtitles for accuracy, you can minimize “Hally Porter” moments of your own.  

To find out more about the video subtitle generator in the Maestra suite, fill out a contact form! We’d be happy to tell you more about the features, pricing, etc.

Fatih Bilgic
Feb 5, 2022

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