The Challenges Of Subtitling

Subtitling is a kind of translation of a source text that is usually placed below the screen and is accompanied by the original video sound. Dear or hard-to-hear people use subtitles in order to be able to understand videomaterials. Creating subtitling is not an easy task and we will tell you why.

  1. Space restrictions. When translating subtitles you should be aware of the maximum number of lines and characters per subtitle in order to make translations compact and understanding at the same time.
  2. Time restrictions. The subtitle reader should not hurry and catch all subtitles that were placed on the screen. Therefore, the translation must contain words that the audience understands.
  3. Creative translation. In subtitling process, translators should work either with form and meaning at the same time (translator must know where to cut and add information; it is related to meaning as well).
  4. Do not forget about cultural differences. In videomaterials there are a lot of actors and actresses who performed characters with different cultural backgrounds. The translator should not forget to take it into account when performing translation of subtitles.
  5. Ignore Automated Translation! This is inappropriate to use MT in subtitling projects because it is literally a word-to-word translation and in videomaterials people do not talk like robots (the exception: cyborgs 😊) If you are using MT in your subtitling projects, you will kill all the liveliness of a speech and it will look like unnatural speech.

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