Subtitle Translation and Captioning Services

September 5, 2014 Samantha

Professional subtitle translation takes skill, experience and training. Our subtitle translators are industry experts using their skills in linguistics, writing, perfect timing and accuracy – not only can they translate in a meaningful way, but they have the technical and creative ability to adapt their writing to fit within very specific constraints. Using a subtitle translator without these skills can mean you’re left with subtitles that are badly timed, inaccurate and in worst cases, make no sense at all! With that in mind, here’s our top four biggest mistakes a rookie subtitle translator can make.

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Lost in Translation

Subtitle translation services require a direct translation of meaning, but should also make sense and maintain the tone of the original dialogue. This can be especially difficult when speakers back track what they have said or use double negatives. A good subtitle translator will understand what a speaker means and balance it with what they have said in order to correctly translate the meaning. A rookie will often miss these subtleties and create a line of text where the meaning can become lost in translation.

Subtitles that Match Keep the Style and Tone of the Original

Word orders and grammar can vary dramatically between languages, but in subtitles, the meaning of sentences needs to be in sync as much as possible with what the foreign speaker is saying. An experienced linguist working in subtitle translation services will have enough proficiency and understanding of both source and final language to work with this constraint in the most effective way. A rookie can make the mistake of translating the dialogue in an order that loses syntax or is grammatically incorrect.

Clear and Concise Subtitles

Anyone who translates subtitles subtitles on a regular basis will know that English is one of the more concise languages to write. Therefore, English subtitle lines will tend to be shorter to allow for enough space when translating into corresponding foreign language lines. Effective subtitle translation means keeping lines long enough that there is time to read them before jumping to the next but not so long that they obscure what is going on or that they appear out of sync and unprofessional. A rookie can often create subtitles that take up too much space on the screen, meaning there is insufficient time to read them and obstructing the picture in the process.

Subtitle Expertise

Subtitling is not like transcription or straightforward translation. .SRT and .SSA files need to be formatted perfectly or the knock-on effect can mean entirely non-functioning subtitles. Time codes need to be accurate to the millisecond too, so subtitle translation is highly complex, time consuming job. A rookie translator can often mis time subtitles so that they appear either too quickly or too slowly on the screen.

If you are interested in our .srt or .ssa subtitle translation services, why not get in touch? We also offer transcription services from one language to another and document translation services. If you have any questions or would like to discuss either video transcription or audio transcription services, contact us today!

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Samantha

Transcriptionist and Virtual Assistant.

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