WHAT’S with foreign the TV shows in Filipino?

I recently chanced upon an American movie dubbed in Filipino. The translation sounded funny because it failed to capture the emotions of the original lines. I realized how funny and stupid a taglish or an engalog sounds.

Television outfits say that the main reason for translating boob-tube programs into our own language is that they want the younger kids and the masa to easily understand the programs. Well, that should not be the case.

Watching TV is not exclusively for entertainment. Whether the media outfits like it or not, viewers pick up something from what they watch.

What is seen on TV can be very contagious, that is why translating should be done properly. When translating something, do it right and in its entirety. Don’t make “singit-singit ‘hilarious” lines within a sentence. It makes a learned person’s eardrum want to explode. The English language has a proper translation in Filipino.


Maybe, publishers can also be blamed for the poor choice of words in their textbooks. Young children nowadays watch TV more than they read their books. At least in books, only the words need the thesaurus’ attention. The grammar is fine unlike in some TV shows, where the actors speak bad English and even lousier Filipino because they got used to engalog and taglish. I barely hear a sentence said in pure English or Filipino.

There will come a time that even simple English words will have to be translated. In short, English will no longer be music to a Filipino’s ear.

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This might be an exaggeration, but a time might come when B1 and B2 would have to be translated to SI at SD for Saging Isa at Saging Dalawa and Bananas in Pajamas would be Saging na Nakapantulog. How about Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster and Big Bird, they would become Halimaw ng Biskwit and Ibong Malaki. Sounds funny, right? The time will come when our Asian neighbors, who are sweating blood to learn English, would be laughing at us.

When I was younger, I learned English from Sesame Street to augment what I was taught in school. Wouldn’t it nice that the young kids got the same “privilege”?

However, if the TV stations still don’t want to do away with the Filipino language in their programs, they can put Filipino subtitles and retain the original language used.

On another note, it occurred to me that what we are doing is trashing an advantage, which other countries are dying to acquire.


English is very important. It is still the most widely spoken language. It is widely used in global trade. Don’t tell yourself, “Filipinos can do it by themselves.” I’m not be being unnationalistic or unpatriotic, but wake up. This is already the 21st century and we would not go anywhere if we only spoke Filipino.

There are only around 80 million souls that understand and speak Filipino. What are we going to do? Trade among ourselves? Be an island among ourselves?

Now, if we abhor Western influence, as some of our countrymen do, then we should learn another language — preferably Asian. We could try Chinese, especially Mandarin, because more than a billion heads speak the language. Arabic could also be an option.

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If and when we decide to do that, it would really take a lot of time and resources just to learn it up to the point where we can converse. The main obstacle with other Asian languages is the alphabet. For example, Chinese uses characters and Arabic has another form of writing, both of which are worlds apart from the Filipino alphabet.

It would surely be just like the effort our Asian neighbors are exerting in trying to learn English. But with English, we no longer have to do those. It is already included in our education system and in a lot of other things.

We have already thrown away an advantage in speaking Spanish, another widely-spoken language, let not English suffer the same fate.

Let us not put this advantage to waste. Filipinos are blessed with the “gift of tongues.” Most Filipinos speak several languages and dialects. Instead of putting it aside, let us develop it.

At present, the disease that has befallen the state of the English language in the country is not like AIDS, where the end is evident and it will just be a matter of time. English’s decline in the Philippines is not a lost battle. It can still be won. We can start curing our English malady by putting to a minimum TV shows that can be translated.


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