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Subtitling in Foreign Languages

LRS Recording specializes in helping American corporations cross the language barrier in order to help them enter new global markets.

Subtitling their marketing and training media into any language they need is just one way we do that.  Depending on how the video needs to be used, subtitling can be an effective way to communicate their message.

Do to the fact that we are working with foreign languages; it’s critical that special attention is applied to the subtitle process.  Each language will have it’s own unique challenges.  Some languages will naturally expand the length of the English phrases.  Our experienced and expert translators will ensure that each language is professionally translated for accuracy, colloquial sensibilities, dialect, precise timings and more.

The challenges of the subtitling process can vary depending on the conceptual style, speed of the English narration and format of the original video.  Subtitles are usually “pop on/pop off” in nature and are centered at the bottom third of the screen.  Sometimes the lower 3rds, peoples names and titles, occupy that same area.  We’ve also seen videos that literally use the entire screen for all kinds of creative work.  When this happens creative measures need to be discussed on how and where to put the subtitles.  This is an integral part of our initial discussions with the client and our formatting process.

These days nearly everyone is using some form of a NLE editing system so we basically provide two options to our clients.

No matter which option you choose we’ll need an accurate English transcription of the video script.   If you don’t have one we can provide a transcription service.  We will also need a full-rez video or the highest quality video you have access to.   We can usually transfer files though our secure FTP server.  In cases where the video is too large for the internet bandwidth to handle then other means will be necessary to get us the video via hard drive, thumb drive etc.

Option 1:
Trying to produce foreign language subtitles is not an easy task, and because of that most of our clients prefer this option.  This option requires LRS Recoding to provide a complete turnkey translation and subtitle solution.

The biggest reason why most of our clients request this option is that while most video editors do not have a big problem working with Spanish, they often times are not comfortable working in languages they can’t read or don’t understand.  These usually include languages such as:  Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Russian and more.

An interesting fact here is that we’ve had clients who prefer to do the Spanish and have us handle the rest of the languages.  Once they see how easy we make it for them they often times hand us all the languages for any future projects.  To be honest this is a wise choice for those who do not feel comfortable working with languages they can’t read or understand, as there are many issues that can and do arise when working with these languages.

Here is a quick overview of our subtitle process for option 1.

1.  Your video’s English audio script is imported along with the video to our subtitling software.  Our subtitle experts will process the English script to specific standards relative to the video.  This includes the deliverable format needed (SD, HD etc…) as well as the one to three-line text splits of the English phrases and the Timecode positions of the In and Out points of each subtitle.

2. We export a specific bilingual formatted file for translation.  This gives our translators a visual road map of the one to three-line subtitle format.  This ensures the precision needed for perfectly synched translated subtitles.  The translator will also be given a reference video. This will be an important assett in cases where there are conceptial questions that need to be answered.

Together these files provide all of the critical information needed for them to provide a professionally translated script of accuracy, colloquial sensibilities, dialect, precise timings and more.

Once we receive the translation back from the translator it goes through a quick review process from one of our language editors to check for accuracy and colloquial language flow.

3. The master translated file is then imported back into our subtitle software and our subtitle editor goes through each subtitle to verify that each one is correct.

4. Once we’re sure that the subtitles are correct we then export
a subtitled reference video.  This is sent to our target language proof reader to verify accuracy.

5.  We deliver a reference video to the client and once it’s approved we export the new foreign language video master for delivery.

Option 2:
This option has to do with a media production company/editor who is confortable with working with the foreign language subtitles in their own NLE system.  The beginning of the process is the same as option 1.

1.  Your video’s English audio script is imported along with the video to our subtitling software.  Our subtitle experts will process the English script to specific standards relative to the video.  This includes the deliverable format needed (SD, HD etc…) as well as the two-line text splits of the English phrases and the Timecode positions of the In and Out points of each subtitle.

2. We export a specific bilingual formatted file for translation.  This gives our translators a visual road map of the one to three-line subtitle format.  This ensures the precision needed for perfectly synched translated subtitles.  The translator will also be given a reference video. This will be an important assett in cases where there are conceptial questions that need to be answered.

Together these files provide all of the critical information needed for them to provide a professionally translated script of accuracy, colloquial sensibilities, dialect, precise timings and more.

Once we receive the translation back from the translator it goes through a quick review process from one of our language editors to check for accuracy and colloquial language flow.

3. The master translated file is then imported back into our subtitle software and our subtitle editor goes through each subtitle to verify that each one is correct.

4.  We deliver the “specific format” file needed to work with the clients NLE.  That master subtitle file is then imported into the clients NLE system.

WHO DOES THE TRANSLATION:
I would like to take a quick moment to talk about the actual translation of the English audio script.  We’ve seen a number of times where the end client wants to provide the translation from their translation source.  On the surface this may seem like a good idea but there are very specific protocols that need to be followed to ensure a successful outcome.  If the client’s translator doesn’t have experience with subtitling there very well can be problems that can lead to project delays and unnecessary cost overruns.

For all of the reasons stated above we would prefer to handle the actual translation.  However, if your client insist on providing their own translators, it is imperative that we communicate with them so they have a complete understanding of what is needed to assure the accuracy of your project.

For any questions you may have please contact me at:
info@lrsrecording.com