Are There English-Language Captions for Spanish-Language TV?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And why would a Mexican ever call a gabacha a mexicana?

DEAR MEXICAN: I live in Philadelphia, where there are three Spanish-language stations on regular broadcast television. None of them offer English subtitles. I bet plenty of people of all heritages would like to check them out—for the news from Central America or whatever. I called one of the stations, Univisión, about it, but I was told there are no plans to offer subtitles. Channel 35 here in Philly has Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish and Italian programming, all with subtitles. Your thoughts?

Broad Street Broad

 

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DEAR GABACHA: Your letter has been in my ¡Ask a Mexican! archives for so long that your question is no longer needed—but I'll todavia answer it because it allows me to raise a great point. Last year, Univisión announced it was going to offer English-language captions for most of its telenovelas and even some news programs, although it didn't necessarily have gabachos in mind. Rather, the move was prompted by Univisión's realization that assimilation is inevitable in this country, and if it didn't acknowledge that English is the ultimate destiny for every Mexican in el Norte, it would become as relevant to the Mexican experience as canned tortillas. It's not a new tale—the ethnic press has long had a vibrant place in American letters (the first Spanish-language newspaper published in los Estados Unidos goes back to the early 19th century), but the only ones that survive more than a couple of generations are those that understand they're only temporary phenomena, that their days are numbered. That's why this infernal column also has a shelf life: When the Reconquista is finally complete, I will turn the burro over to my gabacho intern so he can explain America's largest and whiniest minority to the ruling Mexi class.

*     *     *

DEAR MEXICAN: I'm a gringa from Iowa, and I've been dating my Mexican boyfriend for about three months now. He knows I'm from a background that's as white as they come, since I'm a German-Norwegian mix. But he fell in love with me because, I think, I shocked him. See, I speak Spanish, I listen to Spanish music, and we even met at a club for cumbia and bachata dancing. And he is puro mexicano with no English. He always calls me his "sexi gringa/guera," pero lately, he's been calling me his mexicana también when we've gone out dancing or for drinks. Why is that?

Melodia Confusa

 

DEAR CONFUSED MELODY GABACHA: Because he loves you—you're no longer just a gabacha to screw, but a mujer ready to meet the familia. Better make sure you incorporate chorizo into your hotdish—and I'm not talking about your hoo-hah.

 
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17 comments
pixiecris
pixiecris

ay calmense everybody! so much aggression...we're all just a mix anyways...let's be real...Spanish, Mexican, White, Black, Chinese, Korean; there's beauty in every iteration of culture if you're willing to open your eyes...so, abre tus ojos....joder!

Vawlkee
Vawlkee

Again Gustavo you put a spin on both message to promote your agenda of hate against non Latins.

I'd wager you'd dry up and blow away if you couldn't call all non Latins (and even other Latins) condescending names.

itchy
itchy

axe dat messkin

elvagotrago
elvagotrago

Melodia's mojado boyfriend is about to pop the question "Does she really really love him,  I mean like por siempre, por fuego por hielo?  Does she love him enough to swallow 40 condoms filled with chiba before a flight back from Cancun?  C'mon mi dulcita, if you really love me...

Charlie Wilson
Charlie Wilson

Nothing will ever replace learing Spanish itself FOLKS! There is nothing like taking the time and making the investment to learn the lanuage and knwoing you can understand exactly what they are saying without having even one centemter of the dialouge get watered down or lost in translations.

Charlie Wilson
Charlie Wilson

This may sound like a stupid question Gustavo, but when you say captioning are you talking about subtitles or are you talking about when you press SAP and audio turns into English?

Charlie Wilson
Charlie Wilson

But it will be soubnd very very BBBBBBBBOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Daniel Salvador Berlin
Daniel Salvador Berlin

Honestly, as a queer Mexican-American in California, I have high standards of English-language television and will switch from channel to channel just HUNTING for one word or one little look that will offend me as said queer Californian Mexican-American. But [also] honestly, the Spanish-language channels do NOT make me happy. with their played out 'Por Ella Soy Ella' or whatever the f**k. Where is Spanish-language GLAAD? ...CONTENTO/A/-OS/-AS

Elsa Covarrubias
Elsa Covarrubias

It goes both ways, if you watch the telenovelas there is a lot of corny Spanglish in the dialogue: I hear "cool" more than chido/suave/padre. Even beer commercials on KROQ are in Spanglish... The lines are blurring more and more and it's fascinating. :)

Tino Cardona
Tino Cardona

If only more white girls were like the one from Iowa

Susie Tafoya
Susie Tafoya

David Tafoya maybe your prayers have been answered.

Alfonso Barela
Alfonso Barela

They are obviously trying to tap a different demographic.. Univision is #3 now with NBC being #4.. On some Spanish channels you can put closed captioning on and it will display it in English..

pwzapster
pwzapster

Broad street Broad:  TV is a biz, not a public service.  Xlations and subtitles cost money.  WYBE ch. 35 Philly is an indy public station so does international programming as one of its services.  As Gustavo explains, when Telemundo, Univision and the rest have a commercial reason, that is when it will make them more money than they spend, to provide English language subtitles they will..

spencerj05
spencerj05

@pwzapster Telemundo has more primetime viewers than NBC so the excuse of it being too costly simply doesn't stand to reason.

What other excuses ya got?

pwzapster
pwzapster

@spencerj05 @pwzapster  case you haven´t noticed, big corps continue to make as much profit as possible by minimizing expenses regardless of market share.

sgbrown10
sgbrown10

@spencerj05 gustavo isnt that mexican ruining his raza blood mixing with evil whitey blood, isnt better to mate with a 300 pound mayata? what is next will there be blond 'aryan' mexicans?

 
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