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Subtitling / TranscriptionThere is nothing, these days, that can beat the power of moving images: After all, videos can reach a larger audience than endless pages of writing.

But to address as many people as possible, your video should not be in one language only. The most cost-efficient and smartest solution is subtitling.

What does this process involve and what is the desired outcome? What are the particularities of this type of translating? And why is the timing so crucial here?

To illustrate the subtitling process, let us home in on the four key steps:

1. Transcription

After an initial review and assessment of the video, the audio content is written out – unless a script is already available.

One question to clarify here is whether subtitles are only required for spoken text or for both spoken and on-screen text.

2. Subtitling file

Effective subtitling and an adequate translation can only be delivered if time codes are added to the transcript. This is because the subtitles must always appear in synchrony with the dialog. Even a mismatch of only a few tenths of a second can distract or confuse the viewer. This is why perfect timing is an essential requirement for subtitling.

The following needs to be determined: Should the subtitles consist of one or two lines? Do you want the subtitles to appear on screen for a specific length of time or do you want to set character limits per subtitle?

3. Translation of subtitles

In an ideal case, the translation of subtitles is based on the subtitle file including time codes. The translator can then already use this information to ensure correct timing and readability. The main rule is: The more thoroughly the subtitle file is prepared, the less post-processing will be required – which means considerable cost savings as well as higher quality output, especially if the text is to be translated into more than one language.

Rule of thumb: Subtitles should be as short as possible and preferably even shorter than the source text. This is simply because reading takes more time than listening. You can achieve negative text expansion for example by removing filler words and shortening sentences.

4. Embedding subtitles

VTT subtitle files can be embedded in your online videos on many video platforms or your own website. This way, your customers can easily turn the captions on or off if need be. Alternatively, the translated subtitles are burned into the video (SRT format). This means that the subtitles are firmly embedded in the video in your preferred format and design.

Now, the video is subtitled and ready to be shown.

We will be happy to assist, advise and support you as your trusted partner and an experienced expert in the field of translating audio-visual content and subtitling. We are always open to your ideas and requests and look forward to helping you realize them. Rest assured that your orders are in good hands with us and will be processed competently from beginning to end.