TV outlet reacts to order to provide subtitles for Serbian

Croatia's RTL TV has reached for irony in response to "a fairly insane request" to provide Croatian subtitles for Serbian movies, the media in Croatia reported.

Source: B92, Tanjug, RTL
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The order to provide subtitles came from the country's Council for Electronic Media, "after it received a complaint from one viewer".

Thus RTL decided to take it a step further and put subtitles to the footage of a statement made in Croatian by Krasimir Balakov, a Bulgarian football coach working in that country.

Balankov, said reports, speaks Croatian well, but spices it up with occasional Bulgarian words and grammatical errors.

The Council decided to take a strong position on the issue and "needlessly complicate and make expensive the screening of films from Serbia, and probably from Bosnia and Montenegro," the media reported.

Before the wars of the 1990s, Serbs and Croats spoke different dialects of the same language, which was in the former Yugoslavia known as Serbo-Croatian. Montenegrin and Bosnian were also introduced as separate languages after the breakup of the country.

The phenomenon of translating from Serbian to Croatian was first observed in Croatia during the regime of the country's former President Franjo Tuđman. At that time, Serbian director Srđan Dragojević's film Rane was subtitled, but the opening scene and accompanying subtitle caused the audience to break into laughter. The words "Jesen 1991. (Fall of 1991)" were written on the screen, and the Croatian translation was exactly the same: "Jesen 1991."

As war-time regimes were replaced, the practice also changed - "but obviously not good", noted the reports.

And as Croatian translators are struggling to "think up differences" between the two languages and justify their effort, RTL called on the members of the Council for Electronic Media to resign in the wake of their order.

Meanwhile, the Croatian Audio-Visual Center (HAVC) issued a statement saying that "films in the languages of ethnic minorities are legally exempt from being translated".

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