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When it comes to subtitling movies and TV shows, you might be surprised to learn that there is an enthusiastic community of volunteers around the world who are devoted to finding, creating, and translating the best subtitles possible. These people work tirelessly, often for free, all year long in order to offer their services in making closed captions, syncing, or translating subtitles that already exist.
Why, though, would somebody want to do such arguably tedious work for free? Consider it a form of altruism. It is imperative that all people – regardless of culture, linguistic barriers, or disability – all have access to educational, informative, or artistic content. Access is power. And subtitlers broaden the horizons of access, opening the doors for as many people as possible to enjoy movies, TV shows, and documentaries.
Whenever content is not translated from its initial language, that show or movie is, by necessity, exclusive. To put it another way, it automatically excludes – not everybody is going to be able to understand it, often due to linguistic and cultural barriers. Although this is clearly not intentional, it is a byproduct of creating art in one’s native tongue, nonetheless.
Not all forms of exclusion are intentional or explicit. A writer obviously cannot be held accountable or expected to write in every language that exists. That would be ridiculous (and impossible). Obviously, a writer is going to write in his or her language … the fact, though, that language is intrinsically exclusionary is a different issue, which is why there are people who work towards making art as inclusive as possible by subtitling and translating movies, TV shows, and documentaries.
Cultural barriers, of course, are not the only ones that exist when it comes to media like movies and TV shows. The group of people with whom subtitles are most commonly attributed, of course, are the deaf and hearing impaired. Without closed captions, people who are hard at the hearing would not be able to watch movies and TV shows, regardless of language. Without trying to pull off the impossible feat of lip-reading every piece of dialogue in the movie, subtitles are the only way for this community to enjoy movies and shows. Once again, we are able to see the ways in which subtitles make film and television as inclusive as possible … for everybody, not just a few.
This is precisely why there are thriving and active communities of subtitle enthusiasts out there, hard at work, to translate every piece of audio in a movie into words. Or to translate those words into other words of a different language. It is truly a noble task. And I applaud and salute all of those who utilize their free time to help others in this way. You deserve far more credit and appreciation than you receive.
At any rate, I suppose what I am trying to say is that, thankfully, the people who spend their time subtitling movies and TV shows are passionate about what they do. This is why you can usually expect a subtitles site to transcend being merely a site on which you can download subtitle files.
More often than not, subtitles sites tend to be very robust and enthusiastic communities of people who care about subtitling in one way or another. And, of course, they all care about movies and TV as well. So, even if you are not as interested in creating subtitles yourself, these communities are likely to have plenty of conversations that you are likely to enjoy.
Which is why that is one of the first aspects that I look at when I am evaluating a subtitles site. It is fairly standard with this kind of site to at least have a forum or something of the sort for subtitlers and movie enthusiasts to discuss techniques for subtitling, their favorite films, high and low-quality subtitles, post requests for subtitle tracks, etc.
This is, however, not necessarily going to make or break a site. I suppose, at the end of the day, it really just boils down to what you hope to get out of your subtitles site. Are you someone who likes to participate in creating subtitles? Or are you someone who simply needs a reliable and user-friendly means of accessing subtitle files quickly? If the latter is the case, today’s site is probably right up your alley.
The site in question is Titlovi, a Bosnian subtitles site. And there is much to love about it. There are two kinds of subtitles sites on the web: those that are majority forum based, and those that put their subtitles and movie info forward but also have forums and plenty of community features.
Titlovi, I am happy to report, seems to be the best of both worlds. They have managed to provide tons of high-quality subtitles, some of the best subtitles site design that I have seen to date, and an active and thriving community, all in one place. Could Titlovi be the best subtitles site of 2020? Well, let’s dive in and find out!
Like I just said, Titlovi offers up some of the highest-quality site design that I have ever seen when it comes to a site like this. Unfortunately, subtitles sites are not exactly known for their stellar, responsive, or user-friendly site design. In fact, more often than not, a subtitles site will be very shoddily thrown together, extremely data-heavy, and, thus, not super easy to use or navigate (not to mention unpleasant to look at).
Fortunately, though, Titlovi breaks this trend. From the moment I arrived at Titlovi’s home page, I was pleasantly surprised. The site is image-based, sleek, and smart. High-resolution images of movie posters and featured items speckle the front page in a way that makes the site look less like a traditional subtitles site and more like an entertainment news site, to be honest. That is probably because Titlovi is not merely a subtitles site. It is many things (and we will cover all of them in a moment).
The site menu bar, too, is responsive, seamlessly offering up dropdown menus with a flare of style when you hover your cursor over them. Choose from the following: Home, Articles, Subtitles, Movies, Series, Forums. Or, of course, a bit above the site menu bar, you can always type in whatever title you are looking for and just conduct an easy search straightaway.
My only design gripe is the fact that they could make it much easier to browse for subtitles. A more complex tag system, for instance, could help. Also, being able to browse by language would be immensely helpful.
Content and Features
The site menu bar of Titlovi really tells the tale here. This is much more than just a site on which you can access tons of high-quality subtitles. Titlovi also functions as an entertainment news site, a film and TV series archive and info site, and, of course, a forum.
In the Articles section of the site, read the latest news in movie announcements, box office numbers, and film and TV show reviews. Titlovi has the potential to be your one-stop-shop for all things related to media (short of actually streaming or downloading content).
On the forum, you can discuss just about anything you wish. Predominantly, posts pertain to movies and TV shows, naturally, but this is an open space where members of the community can discuss just anything that is on their mind (assuming it remains within the community guidelines, of course).
Titlovi has, at the time of this review, over 14,000 pages of subtitles for you to browse.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
Titlovi is also entirely optimized for mobile devices, offering a different (and equally intuitive) layout when you access the site on your phone or tablet. Again, this is yet another rare design trait when it comes to subtitles sites, so I am very happy to see that Titlovi offers such a mobile-friendly experience.
Suggestions that I have for Titlovi
As I said before, I want to see Titlovi expand their browsing and searching tools. A solid tags system outlining, say, actors, languages, movies, networks, etc. would make it much easier to browse the enormous archive of movies that Titlovi has subtitles for. Also, an advanced search function couldn’t hurt. When you are dealing with so much content, you need to have a solid means of browsing it.