The Knowledge of the Translator

Tips for Translating Subtitles More Efficiently

What is Subtitling?

Subtitle translation is a translation service that usually focuses on transcribing the dialogues of TV programs, TV series, documentaries, and feature or short films, and translating them in a language other than in which they are being spoken.

In the first years of the film industry in Turkey, the subtitle translation was not a frequently used service as it is today. Subtitles were more like short explanatory notes added to the certain scenes of the silent films when needed. As of today, the demand for subtitle translations keeps rising along with the increasing diversity in TV and film industries as well as the film festivals all over the world.

Where is Subtitle Translation Used?

On the other hand, with the possibilities and conveniences provided by today’s advancing technology, the ratings on digital platforms also keep increasing day by day, besides television channels and movie theaters. Each of these innovations and developments increases the importance of professional subtitle translation services, and makes the subtitle translation an indispensable sector.

How is Subtitling Done?

A preparation made by the subtitle translator before starting the process will significantly contribute to the quality of the subtitle translation. As in other types of translations, the most noticeable differences between the source and the target language must be determined at first. Afterwards, the sociocultural structures of the source audience and the target audience must be analyzed in order to reveal the differences that can affect the translation (if any). Additionally, watching the recording in its original language and then with the source language subtitle (if any) makes it easier for the subtitle translator to master the subject and to translate the recording more properly. One of the most noteworthy topics here is the emphasis on dialogues. In shaping the translation, the position of the emphasis on the sentence is a very effective factor for the subtitle translator. Furthermore, using correct spelling rules and punctuation is also very important.

Software Used in Subtitling

There are some software that can be used for subtitling. Some of them can be listed as follows:

  • Subtitle Workshop
  • Aegisub Advanced Subtitle Editor
  • Subtitle Edit
  • Gaupol Subtitle Editor
  • Jubler Subtitle Editor

What are the Types of Subtitles?

Subtitles can be prepared by translating directly from the source language to the target language, or in the same language to serve different purposes. Although this work is entitled as 'transcription' in the field of translation, a number of subtitle translation rules also maintain their importance here, such as 'synchronization'. In addition to the dialogue translations; closed captions are also prepared for deaf and hard of hearing audience members in order to indicate the sound effects such as honk, scream or door knock.

How to Translate Subtitles with High Quality?

1. Synchronization

'Synchronization', which is one of the keywords of high-quality subtitle translations, means that dialog and subtitle flow in harmony. The most crucial aspect to be considered by the subtitle translator here is that the dialogue heard on the screen and its subtitles are in sync, and that the appearing time of subtitles on the screen is well-adjusted.

2. Differences Between Languages

Due to possible differences of expressions between the source language and the target language, the translated sentence may be longer or shorter than the original sentence in the dialogue. For this reason, a professional subtitle translator pays attention to the reading time of the subtitle on the screen by taking these differences into consideration in order to provide a high-quality subtitle translation. Subtitling software options, which keep diversifying and developing today, can save time for subtitle translators with their timecode adding features. Subtitle translations, made by paying attention to all these details and by benefiting from experiences, can improve the quality and enable the audiences to connect with the movie, TV show, or the documentary they watch.

Which Criteria Are Used when Determining Subtitling Prices? How Do the Subtitling Prices Differ?

Many different factors are taken into account when determining the subtitling prices. For this reason, factors may differ according to each translation company. Prices are calculated according to criteria such as the language of the text to be translated, the target language, the number of words, how much time the translation will take, and the level of urgency. That is why it is important to determine your needs correctly with your service provider.

Author: Esra Çengel

Date of Publication: 01/28/2020

Target Audience: All Translators, Students from the Department of Translation, Beginner Translators, Translators Who Want to Improve Themselves, Readers of Interesting Contents, People Who Need Translation Services

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