Audiovisual Translation: Best Practices

Subtitling can be a bit fiddly. That’s why we’d like to share some top tips for setting up a subtitling project.

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The audiovisual translation industry is fast-paced and constantly changing. This is a given, and because of this we try to be as flexible as possible in order to accommodate client requirements. However, we also want to produce the best possible translations for you. To do this, it helps if you can follow certain practices.

In this article, we’ve outlined some practices that should be followed before the audiovisual translation project begins.

Ensure the video to be subtitled is finished

Subtitlers need to work with the final version of a video. This is because they base their subtitles on the audio track, the on-screen titles, the film editing and the frame-rate (this means the number of images per second). They need to consider these factors in order to ensure that the content and timing of the subtitles are as accurate as possible. The consequence of working with the unfinished product can be really serious. For example, the time-coding of the subtitles could become useless if the video is compressed to a different frame rate.

Check that the subtitler can access the video

Whilst confidentiality is obviously a consideration, if the subtitler can’t see what is happening on the screen because the image is excessively water-marked, the quality of their work will be compromised.

Allow time to do the job

A general rule of thumb is that one minute of audio takes between 10 and 20 minutes to subtitle. However, this may vary depending on the complexity of the terminology.

Inform the Project Managers of the audience

This will help us comply with audience expectations. For example, we’ll be able to ascertain what reading speed viewers can cope with.

Specify the delivery format

We can deliver your subtitles separately to the video as an .srt file or we ca deliver them as burnt in the video file. The first is the most common but we are happy to work with your preferences.

Inform of chosen style guide

Guidelines will include information on reading speed, character limits, and line breaks etc. If you don’t have a preferred set of guidelines, we can provide guidelines based on the current mainstream standards.

Provide source files

Having access to a script can make the turnaround time shorter. Furthermore, if a project requires the modification of embedded graphics, it is vital that there are editable source files available. Otherwise graphics may need to be recreated from scratch which can be costly.

We hope this article has been useful! If you have any further queries, please just get in touch!