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The art of subtitling is perhaps one of the most challenging areas in translation.  The full subtitling process involves listening to video content, creating a copy of the dialogue with time codes (known as a spotting list), creating the translated versions of this dialogue, and then adding this into the video using subtitling software.

This process can be completed by a single subtitler, but better and faster results can be achieved by dividing this process between two people. The first person should be a native speaker of the language in the audio, with exceptional listening skills. They must be trained to produce spotting lists that accurately replicate the language used and precisely note down the timing of each phrase. It can also be helpful to include any other sounds or actions in the video, as this provides additional context for the subtitler.

The second person will then use this spotting list, in combination with the original video, to produce the subtitles in their own native language. This stage can be particularly challenging due to the time constraints involved. Subtitlers are limited to a maximum number of characters for each subtitle, which are calculated based on average reading speeds. They must also remain short so that they do not overly interfere with the visual content. Depending on the speed of the dialogue, this means that the dialogue needs to condensed, on average, by 40%, to enable to viewer to read the subtitles as the dialogue takes place.

In order to produce appropriate subtitles, the translator must therefore have excellent language skills in their native language, in addition to their skills in the language used in the dialogue. They need to fully understand the content, the context, and any cultural references, as well as having an exceptional command of their native language. It is essential that the translator has received professional training in the subtitling process, in order for them to learn how to overcome these challenges and develop their proficiency with subtitling software. Subtitlers need to be flexible and creative in order to find the best way to shorten phrases and remove surplus or non-essential information, without affecting a viewer’s enjoyment or understanding of the video or film. 

At Animus, we understand how challenging subtitling can be, and we only work with qualified professional translators who have had specific training in the subtitling field.  We work with professional transcribers to create spotting lists for video and film content and will always ensure this is completed by a native speaker. When the spotting list is ready, this will be passed on to our subtitlers who will then produce the subtitles in their own language to ensure fluency and allow for the exceptional command of language that subtitling requires. Our subtitlers are all professional translators with at least a Master’s degree in translation and professional training in subtitling. Additionally, we ensure that the subtitler working on your project has the expertise and knowledge to accurately translate the content of your video, by making sure specialist content is translated by specialist translators.

Our service is highly customisable and flexible. We can accommodate many specific requirements you may have regarding the format, length, or style of each subtitle. If you are familiar with the subtitling process and would prefer to carry out some of this work in-house, we can also work with your team to carry out certain tasks, such as producing multilingual subtitles from your own spotting lists. We will always facilitate communication between our translators and our clients to ensure the translation and subtitling process goes as smoothly as possible. 

If you would like more information about our services, or a free no obligation quote for your subtitling project, you can email us at info@animustranslations.co.uk, call us on +44 3333 443139, or use our dedicated request a quote service.

Our rates will reflect the original and desired languages for the document, the type of translation required, and any additional services you need.

To receive a free, no obligation quote, or ask us how we can accommodate your individual requirements, please click below.

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