Subtitles are textual versions of the dialog in films and television programs, usually displayed at the bottom of the screen. They can either be a form of written translation of a dialog in a foreign language, or a written rendering of the dialog in the same language, with or without added information to help viewers who are deaf and hard-of-hearing to follow the dialog, or people who cannot understand the spoken dialogue or who have accent recognition problems.
In the parodies
Subtitles are the most important aspect in the Downfall parodies and its spinoffs. It is the single most defining characteristic of the Downfall parodies meme. Almost all of the parodies that involve the film make use of fake subtitles, usually leaving the original audio intact, or in some cases, use bits of the said audio and splice them on another clip, along with the captions for humorous effect, for example: Getting an audio clip of Hitler saying something close to "epicly", and writing the same in the subtitles.
One of the most common methods of creating subtitles is to use Windows Movie Maker. While the program does not allow for dramatic special effects, it is arguably one of the easiest ways to add basic subtitles. Still, many novice parody makers using WMM will commit serious mistakes such as placing the text on the center of the video (in which case it is not technically a subtitle), fading the subtitles in and out, and using fancy, hard-to-read fonts. All of the above mistakes are made possible due to the lack of a dedicated subtitling feature in WMM and most other video editors, except VideoPad Video Editor.
Sometimes, professional Untergangers remove names of characters said in voice, to avoid not writing their name, while it is being mentioned.
On several occasions, Hitler and other characters break the fourth wall by complaining about the subtitles being wrong.
Complaints by German viewers
On YouTube, the majority of German natives and speakers (or those who see a Downfall Parody for the first time but saw the film) will complain that "the subtitles are wrong". This has become a running gag among Untergangers as well as a source of frustration, such as the case of RBC56's Hitler meets Mr. Burns, where a great number of people (mostly Germans) have complained about the subtitles being wrong, DESPITE the video in question having a warning that states to turn off the sound if you speak German.
Some Germans, however, do admit that they enjoy watching parodies despite knowing what the characters actually say, either by muting the audio, or merely ignoring them. A few others, namely BigUndertaker and Staedty86, are actually known for making parodies themselves, complete with incorrect subtitles and all.
If you want to understand how a German feels when he watches a Downfall parody, watch this video.
- The complaint about the subtitles being wrong has been said by a few who are not German; they are most likely just trolls.
- Incidentally, the first ever Downfall parody was made due to lack of the original movie subtitles.