If Humans had Subtitles 

By Lisa Placeres ‘24

People deal with all kinds of hearing struggles in their daily lives. Sometimes it’s hard to hear what someone is saying to you when you can’t read their lips from underneath their mask.

It’s embarrassing enough when someone is speaking to you, and you still can’t understand what the person is saying after asking “What?” twenty times, and you have no choice but to awkwardly nod your head yes and hope for the best. 

Then it turns out that they were asking, “Do you think my outfit looks bad today?”

 Problems like this wouldn’t exist if we all had subtitles in real life! If words appeared above our heads when we spoke, everyday life would become a whole lot easier. Imagine not having to repeat yourself 100 times just for the sake of someone’s bad hearing.

Of course, every great invention has its pros and cons. A pro would be everyone’s reading skills would become much better. Few people enjoy reading books and having subtitles would force people to read. 

Having subtitles would also promote longer conversations between people. Let’s be honest, half of our conversations end because we can’t hear what someone is saying, so we smile or nod and then stand there awkwardly for the rest of the time being. 

Subtitles could also help us communicate better with people who speak different languages. For example, say a person is in a foreign country where he or she speaks another language. It is much easier to read something and put it in Google translate than getting the incorrect spelling and translating the wrong thing. 

Now for some cons. Subtitles in real life would promote a lot of eavesdropping. Private conversations would no longer be private if you were in the same room with more than just the person you are talking to. For example, no one wants Sarah in the room when Johnny and Jimmy are talking about Johnny cheating on Sarah. 

Last, subtitles would take away from eye contact. When someone is speaking and you are looking above his or her head instead of at them, it might give off the impression that you don’t really care about what they are saying. This would take some getting used to if subtitles in real life became an actual thing.

Overall, humans having subtitles in real life doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives.