It’s not often that I watch an advert for a movie and TV series that grabs my attention and makes me want to watch it…especially when that main reason is how they have done their captioning in their advert.
But that’s what the French-based Netflix series, Lupin, did. And I was hooked.
Whilst watching it, I was also particularly impressed with a specific way they have done their translated subtitles in English in a specific scene. And if it wasn’t for that simple yet clever way of writing the subtitle, the context is quickly lost.
Even though I tend to focus on subtitles for deaf people, on this occasion, it was essential for anyone who doesn’t speak French and is following along with the translated subtitles.
You can watch the video below to continue:
…listen to the podcast here or on your favourite podcast player…:
…or read the transcript.
Here’s the thing, I’m not really the kind of person who is up-to-date with the latest film, the movie and music and TV programmes. I just take it naturally. Whatever catches my eye, I watch it or play it or listen to it.
But there is one TV series that really caught my eye because of the clever way that they have promoted it. And it’s a Netflix series called ‘Lupin’.
If you are able to hear what I said, Lupin, well it is actually spelt L-U-P-I-N. It’s a French mystery thriller detective series based in France, french-speaking. And it got that charisma and suave and that gentleman burglar, which is really based around the historical fiction written by Maurice Leblanc and is based on a character that is known as the ‘Gentleman Thief’ or ‘Gentleman Burglar’ called Arsène Lupin.
I hope I’m pronouncing correctly. So let me know if you are French speaking: I want to do it right. Do it justice.
But today I want to talk about two specific moments relating to the series on how
- it caught my attention and I watched it (and by the way, it’s very good. It’s awesome. I highly recommend it).
2. how they use the power of captions to make it engaging, fun, funny and really inclusive as well.
Because there’s a moment in the series that I was just so in awe that I had to stop, repeat it and take a picture of it on my phone and I’ll come to that in a minute.
And in the meantime, don’t forget, if you want to support me, you can do everything that would be really helpful for me, like Follow, Like, Subscribe, Dream, Heart, Drive, Eat…whatever it takes to support me, support me in any way that you can. It would be really awesome if you can do that.
So let’s roll it back a little bit and I won’t spoil anything too much. But it’s such a great series, Lupin, and it’s just so charismatic and so suave and smooth.
It’s really because of the main character, um, the guy who play the character, Omar Sy, and he was so dazzling and smooth and suave and you can’t help but like the character who is actually a burglar. But there’s something about it. It just wowed me and I loved it. I really loved it.
But how did it capture my attention in the first place? Well it’s actually because of a very well put together Netflix advert that I have seen on Twitter to check it out here.
The Netflix advert which pokes fun of mispronounciation of ‘Lupin’
You can watch the advert below or scroll down to read the open captions.
Are you pronouncing “Lupin” correctly? pic.twitter.com/xMkEGSrvVl— Netflix (@netflix) June 13, 2021
Man: “Play Lupin [mispronounced]”
TV: “(Beep) I do not understand your request.”
Man: “I said play Lupin”
TV: “(Beep) TV error”
Man: “Lupeen [mispronounced]
TV: “(Beep) TV error”
“Play Lupin” [mispronounced] (TV beep)
“Lupine?” [mispronounced] (TV beep)
“Lapain” [mispronounced] (TV beep)
“Lapeen. Lapern” [mispronounced] (TV beep)
“Loop it” [mispronounced] (TV beep)
“Lipin, liposuction, lasagne…babe!” [mispronounced] (TV beep)
“Lupin” [mispronounced and bewildered] (TV beep)
“Lupin” [mispronounced with a touch of desperation] (TV beep)
“Lupin” [mispronounced and exhausted] (TV beep)
“Can you play Lupin?” [mispronounced…and not a question] (TV beep)
“Just play Lurpin!” [mispronounced and desperate] (TV beep)
“Lupin!” [mispronounced and demanding] (TV beep)
“Lupin!!!” [mispronounced and full-on begging] (TV beep)
Omar Sy on TV speaking French: “Je suis Lupin”.
“Lupin.” (TV beep) That’s it!”
Why the advert and its open caption is so clever
Because he doesn’t know how to pronounce it, he just goes though all sort of pronunciation that doesn’t make sense. But the really clever part is the way the caption had added such important context. And it was so, so well done because it really was the way that making sure if you are reading that caption, yes you’re trying to pronounce Lupin correctly, but added more context in terms of he is mispronouncing it and then they twist and played around.
I thought it was so well done and I really, really like it and I applaud them for doing an advert, just making fun of how the people who are not speaking French, they didn’t know how to pronounce.
But it was so well done and that really caught my eye. And it’s not often something that is like a Twitter advert or promotion or marketing or anything like that catches my eye and makes me want to watch it.
But that did!
The importance of context in captions
I have always talked about how you should never add things in the caption that does not make sense. Do not add things for the sake of it, for fun. It has to make sense. It has to follow along what that person is saying.
Obviously, if it’s captioned, there are also things like the music and sound effect; everyting that comes around, that’s really, really important. But this particular example, they added context. And I have talked about in certain speaking gigs that done in the past about how it’s very important to add context to the caption, if you need to.
So for example, you might say one thing in an angry way, but then you might say the same sentence in a happy way. So you need to add that context so that people who are following along and can’t really hear the differences between the two ways of saying it, you need to add it in there.
It was just so brilliant. I just loved it. It made me feel like I could laugh along with it. I can enjoy it. And it made me feel like I’m part of it . It’s inclusive. It made me feel like I am part of a whole banter about “Ha! We can’t pronounce Lupin correctly” so we’re going to say all sorts of ways of trying to make it work. And it was brilliant. I really think they’ve done really well to capture my attention and I’ve shared it and captured other people’s attention too.
Of course, it helped that it was very well reviewed and people have really highly praised in all sorts of media and publications and websites. But you still have to capture people’s attention in that way. And it did it that way for me and I’ll get into it…I was hooked, first of all. And thank you to subtitles, you can follow along in its natural form.
I believe you can watch it dubbed in English, but I feel like you’ll catch the complete essence of the series if you watch it in its natural language and just turn on subtitles. So for people who complain about subtitles, you’re welcome.
See? It can be very helpful for situations like, I don’t know, watching a foreign film or foreign programme, foreign, anything that is not necessarily in your native language.
Another brilliant example of accurate captions with context
Then I got into it and then I just enjoy the series a lot. But then there were a specific scene that really grabbed my attention. And I’m not going to do a spoiler alert because it’s just going to be a particular point where it revealed something that might require investigation by the character. If you don’t want to know, just come back in thirty seconds. But if you do want to know what happened here is what I really, really liked it specifically how they captioned it.
Now the character Assane Diop, he got this letter and in this letter he was reading out loud and as always the subtitle are this displaying what he’s reading because it’s written in French.
And then I notice two words that were spelt incorrectly. And I thought it was a mistake. And I just thought, “oh, here comes it’s like auto-caption again. Ha! Oh, let’s just move on. It’s always correct anyway so I can forgive those two mistakes“.
But those two spelling mistakes in two separate words were deliberately written down. And that is because in the letter, it was trying to leave a clue about two words and it was deliberately written in the wrong spelling.
And whoever had written the subtitles made sure that the spelling mistake in the letter and when he’s saying it, the spelling mistake is also deliberately put in the subtitle as well. And as soon as I realised that it was deliberate and it’s trying to replicate the letter and…I was just like, “wow, I’ve never seen something like this before”. And I had to stop it, I had to pause it, rewind it to take pictures on my phone and just share it with you.
And it just really blew my mind. And it shouldn’t because it’s a small thing. You think “oh, it’s not that big a deal”. But it is a big deal because it was done so perfectly. It’s so accurate and even taken into account of the mistake in the letter, which is part of the story, and brought the story with you so that you can be involved in the subtitles.
And again, you don’t have to be a deaf person to be able to appreciate that, because if you don’t speak French, how are you to know that there are spelling mistakes in the letter? And suddenly you’re like, “oh, wait a minute. That didn’t make sense.”
But it is just so well done and made me enjoy it even more. And gradually, eventually the character realised, “wait a second, there’s spelling mistake there, we should investigate it”. But it just made it very inclusive.
And I applaud whoever has typed that in and the team involved to make it happen, it was so well done.
This is not just about deaf awareness…
Like I said, it helped that it was such a good series. I really enjoyed it. I watch the two series. There is a third one coming in 2022. Can’t wait for that. But it just shows that if you do it right, people can enjoy it more. It is even more important because if a foreign film for those who don’t speak French and you want to make sure that you have a subtitles, then you can follow it as much as possible. It just shows how important it is to have accurate subtitles and making everyone be part of the story, the narrative.
And if you are not deaf, that really doesn’t matter. It’s not the whole point about talking about deaf awareness. It’s talking about how important it is to have accurate subtitle or caption and how important it is to make sure that people who create videos, not only upload it, but make sure it is accurate and make sure that everyone is included and following along your video. Isn’t that what you want when you’re doing your video content.
Like I said, it’s not common for me to be so excited about how they have done subtitles. It’s not common for me to be shouting about a specific promo trailer or promotion video about a particular movie or series. I’ve never done that. I’ve never been excited by it, but I wanted to talk about it to make people aware about the power of having inclusive content, the power of making people involved and feel like you are part of a story and feel like you can follow along.
And I’m going to say again, this has nothing to do with deaf awareness. This is about making sure that everyone who doesn’t speak French, in this case, everyone can follow along and everyone can enjoy the series Lupin.
Even if you don’t watch it, it was brilliant. But you can hopefully appreciate those two points they’ve talked about. And I’d love to know what you think; is it not awesome? I think it’s awesome.
But if you don’t think it’s awesome, then leave a comment and I will just disagree with you. No, I won’t do that. I would just appreciate what you say and if you have different thoughts to it, context to it, if you’re going to have a debate, fine. But I’d love to know what your thoughts are.
And I thought it was so well done. And thankfully, the series was so good with really, really good.
Thank you for listening to me fall in love with the programme and the way they’ve captioned it. If you have enjoyed it, make sure you do all the following, the liking, the subcribing, the hearting; do it all. I’d really, really appreciate it. Let me know your thoughts in a comment as well.
In the meantime, I will speak to you again soon.
- How Netflix Series ‘Lupin’ Wowed Me With Their Clever Captions - July 20, 2021
- Why learning French in high school was a big struggle - July 7, 2021
- Why I will never learn oral languages again - June 23, 2021