Dos and Don’ts of Video Dubbing and Subtitling

Videos are a well-established method of communication these days, and a great way to spread your message. Whether you want to advertise your products, demonstrate a task or simply broadcast a TV show, videos can easily be shared all over the globe in a matter of minutes. However, problems can arise when the received video is not readily understood by the new audience.This is where video dubbing and subtitling comes into play, ensuring that your video is understood by as many people as possible, even if English is not their preferred language. Video localization is a video translation strategy which makes your videos most appealing for the intended audience with the use of video dubbing and subtitling.

There are two types of Video Localization:

  1. Dubbing: This is the process of replacing the original spoken content in the video with a translated, newly-recorded version. It is used whenever we want to provide the audio of a video or an animation in a foreign language.
  2. Subtitling: This is the process of converting the original speech or content of the video to a text format which can then be displayed on the video in sync with the audio. This can be in the same language of the video or a translated language. This means that even if the audience can’t understand or can’t hear the spoken audio they can still follow the dialogue in the video by reading the text.

To avoid any dubbing mistakes, get it done by the professionals at Braahmam.

1.     Dubbing

When dubbing a video, the first step is to extract and translate the video’s spoken content. The translator should be someone comfortable with both, the language of the video and the language that is to be translated into, as well as being comfortable with the content of the video to ensure the accuracy of the translation. The translation is then reviewed to make sure that any errors are removed or corrected.

The next step is to create an audio file which contains the new audio you want to dub the video with. For this you can use any of the widely-available audio editing programs, such as Audacity. Using Audacity, you convert your video file into an audio format such as MP3 and open it up. You’ll be able to see the audio track of the video, and you can run the audio to inspect where the dialogue is spoken in the video. Using the original audio as a guide, you can now record the new voice.

When dubbing video, it is crucially important to synchronize the audio to the performance of the actors in the video, a process known as lip syncing. This usually involves tweaking and fine-tuning the newly-recorded audio using an audio editing program to ensure the audio is in sync with the original. In multilingual videos it is just as important but much more difficult to lip-sync the audio with the video since the words and phrase lengths will not naturally match. We at Braahmam are experts in this process, and we can help.

Once you are happy with the synchronization, you can now use video dubbing software such as VirtualDub to dub your video file. You simply load the video file, click on Audio, browse for your new audio file and open it. The software replaces the existing audio track with the new recording. Now when you play the video, it will be dubbed with your new audio file.

2.     Subtitling

For subtitles, the first step is to translate the script into the required language. The translator should be very comfortable with both the original language the video is in and the language it’s going to be translated into, along with the subject matter of the video to ensure the accuracy of the translation.

This translation will be reviewed to make sure that there are no errors in the translated script.

The next step is often to create a SubRip subtitle file, or an SRT file. SubRip is a software program which is used to work with subtitles and their timings from a video. The SubRip subtitle file contains the video’s subtitle information like the text and format of the subtitle, the start and end time of the subtitles and their sequence.

SRT file are simple text files with a .SRT extension. SRT files themselves do not contain any audio or video. As they are simple text files, any text editor can be used to create or edit them. However, if we want to open them and see the subtitles displayed with the video, we can use software such as VLC, MPlayer, BS.Player, etc.

SRT files need to be in a particular format to work. Here is a snippet of an SRT file which shows the format:

==

1097

01:20:45, 138 –> 01:20:48, 164

You’re not gonna let me die in peace, are you?

==

The first number is the number in the sequence where this text is supposed to appear, then we see the timestamp which defines how long the text should be displayed. The timestamp is in the format HOUR:MINUTE:SECOND, MILLISECOND. Following the timestamp are the subtitles that will appear on the video.

After each section there should be blank line, and then the next section starts, like this:

==

1098

01:20:52, 412 –> 01:20:55, 142

I’m not gonna let you die period.

==

After you have created the SRT subtitle file, the next step is to embed the file into your video. Some media players allow you to load subtitle files when you play a movie, but sometimes you will have to embed the subtitle file directly into your video.  This can be done in a few simple steps:

  • Place your video file and subtitle file in the same folder, and make sure that the subtitle file has the same name as your video file but with the SRT extension.
  • Even though there are many programs available for this, one of the most readily available to most of us is VLC. Even if you don’t have it installed, you can download it from the developer’s website. It is a free program and should only take a few minutes to download.
  • Start VLC and load the movie. Once the video starts playing, click on the Subtitle menu and select Add Subtitles.
  • Browse for the subtitle file and open it. Subtitles should be displayed on your video.

You can create multiple subtitle files for different languages to make the video multilingual.

The biggest issue faced when localizing a video is synchronization. If the subtitles or dubbing are out of sync, viewer will get frustrated and will not want to watch the video. Making sure that your dubbing and subtitles are in sync with the video content is extremely important. The best thing to do is to get video dubbing and subtitling services done by professionals.

Here at Braahmam, we provide a range of Video Translation Services such as Dubbing, Subtitling, Audio Video Translation of Multilingual Videos and a lot more.

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