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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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April 17 2008

Proof Joss Whedon is a social media visionary. Firefly captioning displays uncanny foreknowledge of innovative technology.

Metafilter's head honcho Matt Haughey spotted Twitter while watching Firefly.

Twitter is a "social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time"

See also: Whedonesque's (rather empty) Twitter account.

Amusement.

Ah, the region 2 DVD's of Firefly saying 'Intergalatic Space Talk' whenever characters talk in chinese. I'm not kidding.
Yeah but it was sp-Chinese.

He also warned us about the end of the world. And did we listen ?

... wait, what year have I travelled to is this ?
It would have been nice if they'd have put actual translations of the Chinese curses in the subtitles. Deaf Whedon fans could have had an altogether saltier Firefly experience...
Chinese swear words = "Intergalactic Space Talk"? I love that!

Now I can say things like, "Where the (Intergalactic Space Talk) are my keys?"
Excellent, excellent.
My twitter account is really, really empty too. Where am I going that is fun and exciting? Um, the grocery store.
Is it an intergalactic space grocery store ?

Cos that'd be exciting. Sp-bananas, sp-turnips ... The sp-list goes on.
Can we look forward to see some some twitter messages from whedonesque in the future?
There was a linguist (Neil Smith?) who wrote a book back in the 80s called "The Twitter Machine". Any connection maybe?

[ edited by MysticSlug on 2008-04-17 16:16 ]
There, now its not totally empty :)
The real mystery is why Alan's ass was twittering electronically to begin with.
Don't forget the iHole. Not yet, but don't count it out.
Paul Klee made his "Twittering Machine" in the 20s. It's hardly a new word. Still, I've always been interested in closed captioning quirks. I would have never caught this, though. I've only known of this modern meaning for all of 15 seconds. Amazingly, during which, I haven't been watching Firefly.
Twitter v. To make a succession of small, tremulous, intermitted sounds; as the swallow twitters.

n. a small intermittent tremulous noise or series of chirpings, as the sound made by a swallow.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-04-17 20:02 ]
YoSaffBridge comes out "Chinese" in the subtitles.

And "ruttin'" comes out "rotten" sometimes.

But my all-time favorite mistake has got to be "I don't give a good go-round." 'cause...Gorram sounds so like "go-round."

Gotta love it.
gossi: Actually, the Region 2 subtitles say "Speaks Galactic Language". ;-) I loved it as well and had to wonder: did the authors of the subtitles know it was Chinese and did it for fun, or did they truly think it was a completely fictious language? :-) I don't suppose they consulted with Joss and co., since there were some actual mistakes in the subtitles, so the latter may very well be true. :-)
To be fair to the subtitlers, I have to say, the Chinese spoken in Firefly and Serenity doesn't actually sound very much like Chinese to my ears (I'm not Chinese, nor do I speak any, but I have seen a fair number of Chinese films, in both Mandarin and Cantonese). Much as I hate saying anything remotely negative about Firefly and Serenity, I wouldn't have known it was Chinese if I hadn't been a fan and seen it mentioned/discussed.

Of course, you could possibly argue the subtitlers should have done research and found out.
Id prefer to have Pinyin, with or without tone markers, in the captions.
Well, I feel a bit better now. I watched Firefly from the very first broadcast, in Fox's wacky ordering... but didn't realize that it wasn't a "futuristic space language" until watching the features on the DVD set. Glad to hear I wasn't the only one :)

My wife likes to sometimes watch DVDs with the subtitles on, so I've seen a pretty wide range of captioning, from horribly poor to near perfect. Our Firefly set (US edition) is among the most accurate I've seen, in general - and does realize that they're speaking Chinese. There are a handful of glitches, though, the most memorable, and funny, of them probably being Tracy exclaiming "You're a rabbit, Mal!" - !!

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