Have you ever found yourself watching the latest superhero flick at your local megaplex only to wonder what the film might sound like in Polish? Yeah me neither, but just in case, a new app called myLINGO will be bringing real-time alternative language tracks for an array of Hollywood movies to your mobile device, making theatergoing an infinitely more personalized – and hermetic – experience.
Naturally, the app isn’t necessarily intended for moviegoers curious to know what a Polish Peter Parker might sound like, but rather for multilingual audiences who may not feel entirely comfortable with the English-language movie theater experience. That means your tía Carmen who’s up visiting for Cri’ma’, or your abuelo who never quite got the hang of irregular verbs. Also, for those of us with hearing deficiencies and/or a total intolerance for the sound of crunching popcorn, an optional English-language track will allow myLINGO users to raise or lower the volume however they may see fit. And of course, you get the chance to show off your new Beats® to the attractive individual seated next to you (who may or may not actually care.)
As with most of the tech startup landscape these days, the team behind myLINGO only recently earned the right to drink legally in the United States, but good ideas know no age, and Hollywood has already shown enough interest to provide alternative tracks for McFarland, USA, Cinderella, and The Spongebob Movie: Sponge out of Water, with participating theaters spread across the Northeast, Southwest and Florida.
myLINGO’s implications for immigrant communities throughout the country are heartening, though admittedly movies and television have always been a great way to pick up the rhythms and idiosyncrasies of spoken language. But beyond those truly in need of such a service, we can only hope that as one of the last bastions of communal shared-experience, the movie theater doesn’t go the way of subways, bus stops, restaurants, and living rooms, with each and every individual sealed off both acoustically and spiritually from the rest of humanity. But hey, at least now we can all take tía Carmen to the movies.