The evolution of the entertainment industry is a testimony to the growing popularity of cinema globally. Right from its conception, filmmakers have tried to enhance viewers’ experience by incorporating on-screen text or subtitles in their videos. From dialogue cards to modern foreign language subtitling, the written text has always contributed immensely to comprehension and enjoyment of cinema, and viewer’s ratings thereby. Today, with major studios and filmmakers targeting an international audience, subtitling has become a necessity. Let us then get into a few details of the word-philic world of Subtitling.
Subtitling is much more complex than a basic transcription. It is a whole process in itself, which begins with a basic ‘getting down of the written word.’ For Subtitling in the same language of the video, this is pretty straightforward. But when it comes down to the rendering of the video into a foreign language, that’s when Subtitling becomes creative, expressive, effusive and a challenge! What we will discuss in this article is the most important aspect herein: that of translating the spoken word. The goal is to produce subtitles that are true to the emotion and thoughts conveyed by the filmmaker. Conveying the vision of the filmmaker with legible subtitle is a very important aspect of subtitling. Translation thus becomes the primary and major aspect of the subtitling process. Translating into a modern foreign language can be a very challenging task and demands that a translator has a good hold of both the source as well as the target language. Let us consider three things that can be a challenge for a translator in the subtitling process and how can it be overcome.
An Understanding of the Source Language
It is very important that a subtitling translator understands the source language well and should be able to capture the thought and emotions being presented to be able to convey it effectively in the target language. Different language use different sentence structure and word phrases to convey different ideas. The translator needs to be objective in his translation; rather than concentrating on getting the exact words, he should be paying attention to conveying the right thoughts.
An Understanding of the Target Language
Languages evolve over a period of time; dialects come into the picture and these play an important role in how languages are understood and interpreted. Having native speakers translate is thus a necessity. Their knowledge about current language trends, how the language has evolved and which words affect the audience in which way is what will appeal to the targeted audience.
This is more of a technical aspect, which is done with the help of subtitle workstations like SubMagic, Subtitle Workshop and so on. It is a process that includes many steps. First of them is Spotting. This involves synchronizing the entry and exit of the subtitles with the audio. Keeping in mind the scene changes, the maximum and minimum time duration of the subtitle appearance is calculated. The translation is then adapted and adjusted to the characters with the duration of the subtitle in mind. Then, a quality check is done to see that the text and the audio are properly synchronized and meet all the required criteria. To get the best out of your subtitle workstation, you need to get the right software working for you. It is also imperative that your translator is well acquainted with the complete process and has to be involved and available for all changes.
Cinema has the power to touch hearts and motivate people. This legacy needs to be protected and enhanced with subtitles that are true to its maker’s vision. With an international audience to reach, and in keeping with the growing need for Subtitling, Simpson Soft equips itself to translate your creativity to the world.