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Re: <nettime> Free Media vs Free Beer (By Andrew L)]
Benjamin Geer on Fri, 4 May 2007 12:39:59 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Free Media vs Free Beer (By Andrew L)]


> Free Media vs Free Beer
> by Andrew =97 last modified 2007-04-15 13:23
> [...]
>     * EngageMedia.org - an Australian based free software project and
> video sharing site for social and environmental justice film from
> Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific.
>     * Transmission.cc - a new global network of social change online
> video projects co-founded by EngageMedia.

While I'm happy to see things like this happening, it seems strange to
me that those two web sites are entirely in English, and barely touch
on the issue of language and translation, and then only in the context
of making subtitles for videos. EngageMedia.org has videos about many
countries in Southeast Asia, but doesn't even seem to have a way of
indicating which language a video is in, apparently because they're
all assumed to be in English. EngageMedia's "project brief" says:

"We are focussing on Australia, the Pacific and South East Asia, as we
want to build cross-border cultural relations within the region and
facilitate this sharing of cultures through grassroots communication
networks. The project aims to provide a global distribution tool
for local community media makers who would otherwise be unable to
distribute their film widely."

How can you make a regional media distribution tool, never mind a
global one, that doesn't at least attempt to treat all languages
equally?

Also, translation is more than subtitling. Not all videos are
self-explanatory to all audiences. If you're Australian and you don't
know anything about, say, Indonesia, maybe you can understand a video
about Indonesia made by Australians for an Australian audience. But I
suspect you won't necessarily understand a video about Indonesia made
by Indonesians for an Indonesian audience, even if it's subtitled in
English. You might need an introductory text, potentially a long and
detailed one, to give you the necessary background knowledge and put
the video in context. (I could give specific examples of Egyptian
films and videos that would be very hard to understand for someone who
hasn't lived in Egypt.)

Ben






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