Five keys to good subtitling

Five keys to good subtitling

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The growth of subtitling services is linked to the accelerated growth of multimedia content currently crossing borders and reaching many different countries.

Whether for movies, series, streaming services, “youtuber” content, corporate videos, conferences, webinars or online workshops, subtitles have become a ubiquitous and necessary resource for content creators.

Although many platforms have automatic subtitling features, these features usually can’t offer the degree of specialization your content, industry or target country needs.

A good subtitling service must provide technical, translating and localization skills. So, if you need a professional subtitling agency, always bear the following five points in mind:

  1. Spotting: this is the synchronization of subtitles with audio and/or video content.

Your subtitles must have precise times for appearing and disappearing. Respecting the length of shots, scenes and takes is vital for ensuring your video has clear, fluid, and professional subtitles.

How many times have we seen subtitles appear long before or long after the sentence spoken? What’s more, is it a good idea to provoke the wrath of someone like Bruce Lee with out-of-sync subtitles?

  • Contextualized translation: in this blog we always insist that a professional translation focused on the success of content must adapt linguistically and culturally to the target market.

How many times have you seen laughable subtitles at the movies or on streaming platforms that have little or nothing to do with context? A clear example of how perplexing translation, subtitling and dubbing errors in the film industry can be is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The film is based on a Swedish novel called “Män som hatar kvinnor”, which literally translates to “Men Who Hate Women”. While the name of the movie in English does not outright tell you what the story is about, it definitely gives away far more details about the film than the original title.

  • Display rules: These are rules that help make subtitles reader-friendly. For example:
  • Adequate letter size.
  • Legible fonts suitable for reading.
  • Font colors that stand out appropriately against the background of the video.
  • Adequate number of characters per line for accurate reading. (Maximum 35 characters recommended).
  • Adequate number of lines (maximum 2 recommended).

  • Simulation: simulation involves playing the video to check subtitles. This task allows the subtitling agency to identify exactly how natural the subtitle text reads.

  • Quality Control: As previously indicated, a subtitling service includes several levels of work, so reviews and quality control needs to be applied at various stages:
  • Language review: to ensure the translation is accurate and appropriate.
  • Technical review: to ensure all texts are in the right place at the right time.
  • Visual review: to ensure texts comply with the display rules.

Content success no longer depends exclusively on the clarity and creativity of the subtitles; it is also important to meet translation and localization quality requirements.

If you are looking for a subtitling agency that meets your high-quality standards, we can help you.

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