Subtitling services seem very simple on paper. How difficult can it be to translate some dialogue and create corresponding subtitles? Surprisingly to many, subtitling has many intricacies that might not be obvious at first glance and can be a very complex endeavor. If you’ve ever seen any fansubs on foreign films, it becomes very obvious that translation quality is the first hurdle, as many fall short of expectations. Creating subtitles as a professional service takes expertise and a high level of planning to produce a high-quality product. Many companies looking to hire language service providers grossly underestimate the level of specialization needed to perform this service. In addition, many of them also fail to recognize the potential risks of choosing an unqualified team to work with.
We have compiled a list of the most common challenges faced by experts in subtitling, which hopefully illustrates the intricacies and nuances of this area of expertise.
- The length of text vs the width of your screen
This is an issue you will come across any time that translated text needs to be fitted into a fixed space, meaning that the subtitles need to be short enough to comfortably fit on the screen to be read fast and easily by the viewer. To easily solve any issues related to this, the translator should be conscious of each line of the subtitles’ character limit.
Text expansion is also a common issue in video translation and transcription service, as English tends to have fewer characters in words than other languages. In this case, it is important to ensure that the edge of the screen does not cut off the text and that not too much of the display is taken up by text.
- The length of text vs the speed of dialogue
Another issue in video translation and multilingual subtitling is when your video content’s dialogue is faster than your viewers’ reading speed. It can be that either your subtitles are moving too fast for viewers to keep up with, or the dialogue in your video slowly moves ahead of your subtitles.
To provide quality subtitling, voice over services and audio video translation, the best thing to do is plan ahead. The subtitles may need to be rearranged so that the subtitles are shown a few seconds before the speaker to give the viewer some time to read.
- Multiple speakers
Things can get very difficult for audio/video translation and multilingual subtitling service providers to subtitle fast-paced conversations between several speakers. You have to consider screen space and pacing and make sure that the corresponding text is on the screen as people are speaking while keeping in mind the related issues from our issues outlined above. Here it is vital to give the viewer enough time to read the subtitles before moving on to the next.
It is not easy to recreate the style of a video. For example, when working with multiple speakers, it can be very difficult to capture all the different personalities, leading to the essence of what someone is saying being lost.
Besides, when translating subtitles, it is vital not to include any literal translations, as these will stand out and confuse the viewer as well as greatly diminishing the viewing experience. It also includes converting things such as weight, distance and times based on the regional equivalent. The language used in subtitles should have a flow to it and be easy to read and comprehend for the viewer for them to be able to focus on the video content they are viewing.
- Choice of font
If you are providing a subtitling service, the choice of font is a very important part of the project. It is important to ensure that the text is readable on screens of different sizes and at different distances. This is due to consumers using different devices, such as TVs or smartphones, all at different viewing distances, with differing screen sizes.
In addition to this, the text’s size should also be considered, as some texts are naturally larger than others. This is where the font can become very important as, on some, the letters are too bold or too narrowly spaced for a comfortable reading experience.
Globally, consumers are not only viewing more video and audio content, but they also are becoming more and more conscious of quality. As a result of this, in-language multimedia content is not only expected but is also taken as a given. If you aim to build brand engagement and loyalty, the translations’ quality needs to be evident. Investing in quality audio/video localization services is essential to reach customers who expect the best quality service.
Here we enter!
Braahmam allows you to take advantage of professional audio and video translation services. Audiovisual localization is more than simply translation. Many technical and cultural aspects need to be considered. Outsourcing this task to a language service provider such as Braahmam allows you to allocate more resources to your video marketing efforts and other areas of your business. As a high-quality language service provider, Braahmam can deliver the following services to solve the issues outlined above and more:
Creative and accurate adaptation of subtitles and voice-over content in required languages. It ensures better search results and user engagement. It also helps learners understand the content better.
Subtitling with open and closed captioning options. Open captions or hardsubs are burned into the video. Closed captions (CC) or softsubs can be turned on or off by your viewers.
Delivery of subtitling files in the format you desire: MicroDVD, MPSub, SAMI, XSUB, or any others. They are also created in the cloud and available for easy viewing and downloads.
Use of automation in transcribing content in the same language. This is a necessary step that enables quicker translation or subtitling by our professional audio-video translators.
Whether you know all about the do’s and don’ts of audio and video translation or if you are looking for an introduction to audio and video translation or are simply asking, “How do I translate audio and video files?”, Braahmam provides best-in-class translation and localization services for all Indian and foreign languages.
As you can see, subtitling is subject to many considerations, perhaps more than we could even fit into this blog. In addition to language experts, you also need subtitle specialists who understand how to work within the limitations set out by the challenges we discussed above. The translation is only 50% of the work when it comes to subtitling. Audiovisual translation poses many challenges, which is why it is essential for any company looking to hire a language service provider that the provider understands the intricacies discussed and have the proper qualifications to keep up with the quality demands from consumers. As Donald Kendall once said: “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
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