Poll Your Opinion on Subtitles for Klingons

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by HugeLobes, Apr 9, 2018.


Did You Like Having Subtitles for Klingons?

  1. No - Kahless is turning in his grave.

    21 vote(s)
  2. Yes - Kahless gives a thumbs up from Sto-vo-kor

    27 vote(s)
  1. HugeLobes

    HugeLobes Captain Captain

    Mar 28, 2018
    Okay, I didn't get very far into Discovery because I found it tedious beyond measure, but here's one thing that really bugged me: subtitles for Klingons.

    I think this probably sounded good in theory. They're aliens, so they shouldn't speak English. Cool. Problem is, scenes spoken entirely in Klingon lose their energy because you never know how the actors are speaking their lines.

    One of the best things about Klingons was their grandiose way of speaking, seeming to savour every word. Martok could have read the Burger King menu and made it sound thrilling. Hearing Klingons actually speak seems like it would have been way more engaging.

    What do you think?
    Thotch, Mad Jack Wolfe and lawman like this.
  2. MakeshiftPython

    MakeshiftPython Commodore Commodore

    Oct 10, 2013
    Baja?! I haven't got anything in Baja!
    I get why they did that. They were doing what the TOS movies largely did where Klingons among Klingons spoke their own language, and DSC wants to feel more cinematic in that respect than the previous TV productions.

    It didn't bug me that much.
  3. lawman

    lawman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 20, 2007
    I'll be surprised if many people around here disagree. It might have seemed like a good idea on paper, but you'd think a screen test would've made clear that it just couldn't work — that the actors couldn't act effectively in that language (much less under all that makeup). At best they should've reduced it to a sentence or two when Klingons were speaking among themselves, just to make clear they were "really" speaking Klingonese, then transitioned into English.

    I mean, when you watch a sword-and-sandals epic about the Roman Empire, do you want to see the characters speaking Latin?...
    Thotch likes this.
  4. Orac

    Orac Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 22, 2007
    The TARDIS
    I fucken loved it!

    More please.
  5. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Take it sleazy Moderator

    Mar 13, 2001
    The Good Place
    I like it, Klingons should be more alien. Plus I'm perfectly capable of watching a video and reading subtitles.
  6. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 17, 2007
    Finally, aliens speaking their own language. About effing time. Star Wars has been doing it since forever, AND without subtitles.
  7. apepa

    apepa Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 29, 2018
    I quite liked it when Kruge and his lackeys did it in TSFS. But in Discovery all the Klingons speak in this slow, dull monotone and it's very very tedious.

    Plus, any self-respecting Star Trek fan should understand Klingonese by now, so the subtitles are unnecessary anyway.
  8. ItIsGreen

    ItIsGreen Captain Captain

    Oct 29, 2015
    Coventry, UK
    Personally, I don't speak Klingon. So if not for the subtitles, I wouldn't have a clue what they were saying. :shrug:
    Mad Jack Wolfe and cultcross like this.
  9. Butters

    Butters Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2008
    The Northwest
    When used in moderation, but it slowed up the pace in many of the long discovery scenes, and made the Klingons seem more lumbering and indecisive than we are used to.
  10. apepa

    apepa Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 29, 2018
  11. Myko

    Myko Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 15, 2004
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I liked it, but some of the actors did speak very slow and strange. T'Kuvma's dialog was pretty bad but I though L'rell and Voq did a good job.
    Grendelsbayne likes this.
  12. lawman

    lawman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 20, 2007
    This seemed like one of the recurring complaints in the episode discussion threads over the course of the season. I'm honestly surprised to see how many people are weighing in here to say they liked it.

    (To give credit where due, Mary Chieffo as L'Rell did seem to do a noticeably better job acting through the language and makeup obstacles than any of the other Klingons. Even so, she was more engaging when speaking English.)

    I agree that the Klingon language worked, when used in moderation, in STIII and TNG and DS9. I can't help but think it sounded different then, however—more naturalistic, less plodding. I don't know whether to blame DSC's language coaches or the directors or the actors or the makeup they were wearing or what, but it just didn't work for me.
    Jadeb likes this.
  13. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    I like it a lot in theory, not so sure about the execution.

    My biggest issue is when Burnham turned on her translator and they spoke English. I was REALLY hoping they'd carry over Star Trek Beyond's overlapping voice translator, which is the way it should always be done, IMHO.
  14. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 16, 2016
    Bloody awful. In fact painful.
    Mad Jack Wolfe and Jadeb like this.
  15. Jadeb

    Jadeb Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 11, 2017
    I don't mind it in moderation. But the problem in Discovery was that there was so much of it when the Klingons had so little of interest to say.
    Thotch and lawman like this.
  16. Michael

    Michael In alignment with canon Moderator

    Jul 10, 2007
    Aloha Quadrant
    Klingons speaking Klingon and the subtitles were a cool idea in theory, but the execution made it sometimes painful to watch and follow what they were actually saying. The scenes with Klingon dialog really tended to drag. Even worse, they chose one of the most illegible fonts they could have chosen for those subtitles, making it even harder to follow. And I say that as someone who watches almost all his entertainment with subtitles on.
    lawman, Mad Jack Wolfe and Jadeb like this.
  17. cultcross

    cultcross Points based moderation system Moderator

    Jul 27, 2001
    La Barre
    This. Subtitled Klingon has been done before (e.g. in TUC) and it wasn't as painful as in DSC. I like the idea of making aliens more alien, but it made the scenes very stilted and false. All the Klingon actors fared better when translated, except possibly Latif, who used a distinctive intonation (apparently borrowed from Urdu) to make it sound more natural.
    Jadeb likes this.
  18. ITDUDE

    ITDUDE Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 15, 2001
    Sean Connery and rest of “russians” in Red October. I would have been happy with that just fine. But we got what we got.
  19. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 2, 2017
    A lot of the problem wasn't so much the subtitles themselves, but the execution.

    • The font they chose was large (seemed to take up 1/3rd of the screen, and in all caps) yet somehow seemed hard to read at the same time
    • Subtitles didn't seem like they stayed onscreen long enough
    • Given the slow, laborious style of speaking, you had the voice of the Klingon speaking the entire time you were trying to read
    • The Klingon ships (particularly the Ship of the Dead) were visually busy, which means your eyes wanted to drift away from the subtitles to take in the scene - yet if you did, you'd miss the translation
    • The heavy makeup meant that you really needed to play close attention to faces to see details like "eye acting" in order to get the full emotional impact. But once again, you missed all that if you were reading the subtitles.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  20. HugeLobes

    HugeLobes Captain Captain

    Mar 28, 2018
    Yes, but in Star Wars you'll usually find that either:
    • There's one character speaking in English to let you know what the alien is saying.
    • The use of alien language is more for a laugh.
    Granted, I'm mostly familiar with the OT, but you don't really get long, dramatic, or plot-heavy dialogue where all characters speak in alien.

    I think Lord of the Rings shows how it's done. Characters in those films rarely talk in Elvish or whatever for more than a line or two, even when it would make sense for them to do so. But it works because you get to hear these great actors perfectly deliver lines in a language they are familiar with. You then get little snippets of other languages that work well to highlight certain lines.

    Imagine if this whole Elrond speech had been delivered in Elvish. I doubt Hugo Weaving would have managed such a powerful or nuanced performance.

    In Discovery, you have these long scenes where multiple actors coated in ridiculous layers of makeup speak back and forth in a language they don't understand themselves. Ultimately, the only real point in doing this is to make a point. Wicked, Klingons speak Klingon, but it does nothing for the story and takes the edge off what should have been interesting performances.