The first step when it comes to subtitling is to produce a suitable transcript of the dialogue (and in the case of captioning other relevant sounds) within a video, file or TV show. Generally speaking, most countries will require some form of subtitle or closed captioning option to comply with accessibility laws for broadcast film and television. Countries that broadcast film or television programs that do not contain their native language will often provide either subtitles (sometimes called open captions) or dubbing to ensure their viewers can understand the dialogue.
With all subtitles the transcript produced should be in the source language, dialogue can be tidied up to enhance readability and accessibility. Once this is complete, a spotter or subtitler will carefully add the timings and dialogue line lengths to ensure they run insync with the spoken word and the viewer has sufficient time to read them.
There are a vast number of subtitle formats and these can be produced depending on what capacity the video will be broadcast in and whether the captions or subtitles are open (burned into the video permanently on display) or closed. If the captions or subtitles are closed, there are a number of different formats that will allow you to style your dialogue (text size, text position, text colour and text style). Generally speaking, web video will require a separate type of subtitle files to a DVD, broadcast or cinematic subtitle file.
It is also worth mentioning that certain subtitles and subtitle formats are used specifically for certain languages or countries. For this reason, it is always prudent to make sure you know exactly what subtitle format you need when translating from one language to another. When translating video or film from language to another it is important to ensure that the dialogue and timings are correct in the source language first. This will avoid any delay in syncing the voice with the dialogue, as well as ensuring that the original tone, timing, tone and style of the original dialogue is not lost or misinterpreted. Finally, it is always advisable that subtitle files are fully proofread by an independent linguist to ensure accuracy and continuity.
With realtime subtitling, subtitles will be typed by a stenographer or speech recognition to cover live events and cater for members of the audience who may be deaf or hard of hearing.
If you would like more information about any of our subtitling services, including real time subtitles and captions, why not get in touch? We are available seven days a week and always happy to help.