stranger things Season 4 has now fully unfolded on Netflix and helped revitalize nostalgic sci-fi series as one of the closest things to a community experience that still exists in our increasingly fragmented media landscape. Recent episodes of the show have spawned a whole new set of touchstones for fans to connect through, including a shared realization that, yes, Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” ( currently enjoying a Kate Bush-esque Hawkins Bump (after appearing in the season finale) is a pretty good song and a forced contemplation of it all “Doja Cat vs. Noah Schnaps” thing we face honestly just can’t keep up with today.
We can also add to it list [tentacles undulating moistly], [dissonant gurgling]and all the other frankly incredible subtitles that have popped up this season of the show, which has garnered, uh, a lot of attention from fans online thanks to it intensity their descriptions. Which is in no way an accident, per interview vulture did this week with the subtitle author of the show, Jeff T, and be subtitles QA Editor, Karli Witkowska, an interesting entry into a field that is much more conscious and much less automatic than first impressions suggest.
Among other things bOther subtitlers discuss the role of genre in their work, emphasizing their intention to project not only the basic content of a scene but also its emotion and intensity for those viewers who use subtitles to get a little closer to the full experience of the show . (As Jeff T. points out, it’s the difference between “[two music notes for “Running Up That Hill”] and the description the show actually used for a particularly tense moment, [Epic synth arrangement of “Running Up That Hill” playing”].)
Still, Jeff T. admits he’s “trolled” a bit with some of his decisions (which, interestingly enough, are independent of the show’s creators Matt and Ross Duffer — though the subtitles are subject to a Netflix approval process). “I admit I messed around with it a bit,” he notes, referencing the celebrity [tentacles undulating moistly] Description that has been passed around a lot online. (He also admits to adding at least a few explicit ones dungeons References for his own amusement and presumably that of the show’s nerd fans.)
However, both Jeff T. and Witkwoska make it clear that adding more explicit descriptive or evocative language to the subtitles isn’t just an exercise in Easter eggs or self-amusement: It’s an important step in helping all viewers of the series get a little closer to the same emotional experience with the show. Witkowska: “When it comes to a show like ST where it’s so fun and upbeat, like when they’re riding in the pizza truck and then suddenly something completely different happens, it’s our job that the deaf community can still understand that complete change in atmosphere and tone. If we don’t do that, we’re not doing our job properly.”
You can read the full interview here.