Friday, July 2, 2010

dear sbs

Dear SBS,

Souvlaki to star power, the changing face of SBS
THEY have made sense of Inspector Rex and Ingmar Bergman, translated Mongolian yak herders and Zulu warriors. But it seems the show will soon be over for SBS's internationally acclaimed subtitling unit.

News that 10 members, or one-third of the unit, will soon be made redundant has been greeted with disbelief by staff and viewers, who see it as one more step in the Anglicising of Australia's once proud multicultural broadcaster.
SBS, you have always been my favourite. When I see that the translation on the thing I am about to watch was done by you, I have faith that it will be an accurate translation, both linguistically and of intent. I know that when I turn to you, I will get to see non-Anglo faces, hear non-Anglo words, regardless of whether I can understand them or not. I know that you will give me things that are difficult to find in our Anglo-monoculture.

When I was tiny, you gave me Akira, and the Ninja Scrolls, and all those Chinese Ghost Stories; as I grew older, you gave me news in languages I was learning, and Inspector Rex, and movies that allowed my mother to use languages she'd spoken well before she'd learnt English. Now that I am grown(ish), I don't watch you so much, but you're my first stop when I'm buying movies in languages I don't speak. I want to give you money for these things, to support you in these endeavours, because the things you give us back are so important; by which I mean, translating the world for Australia, ensuring that those of us from non-Anglo cultures can share ourselves with our friends, or ensuring that we can learn about and access cultures not of our own, and not of Anglo-ness.

If I wanted to watch that other stuff, I'd turn to some other station.

SBS, I am going to miss your awesomeness. Sorry it had to end this way.

All the best,
A Penguin

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! When I was growing up, the only two channels I had were the ABC and SBS. So many wonderful things on that channel, transporting me from the dominant monoculture of white rural Australia to other places and other lives.