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preparing a template for translators
Thread poster: DQ Carder
DQ Carder
English
Mar 27, 2008

What information do I need to include with the template?

My first thought was to send the transcribed dialogue with timecode for the beginning and ending of each line.

But then I thought, maybe it would be more helpful to send the English subtitles, which will already be edited down to shorter lines . . . or would this not be preferable, since it might take a bit of context out?

I want to make the best template possible for our translators and I figure you guys know what makes a good template, so please fill me in!


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Ivars Barzdevics  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:04
English to Spanish
TCR-CPSub- more Mar 27, 2008

Hi,

I would send the following:

- Edted English subtitles
- IN and OUT time-codes
- Time on-screen
- Max. characters per subtitle (clarify whether this is with or without counting spaces)

And as the translator is not necessarily a native speaker of English, any information that you consider he / she might not know: (Cultural references, acronyms, puns,.....)

I hope this helps,

Ivars


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DQ Carder
English
TOPIC STARTER
Re: Ivars Barzdevics Mar 27, 2008

Thanks. I think I've got a plan.

I'm going to making a transcription removing any redundancy, ums, stuttering, et cetera. I will lay this out with in and out timecodes for each chunk of text or "paragraph", rather than by subtitle. I will give guidelines on how long lines may be and how long each line must be displayed for, and let the translators determine how to break these chunks up. That way, if one language needs more words to say the same thing (or less), they have more freedom to do it right.

Since I am handling the English subtitles, I will then take the same template and use it for English subtitles.

An example would be:

IN TIMECODE (whatever it is) — OUT TIMECODE (whatever it is)
I took the boys to school today, but they were in such a rush that they forgot their packs and their lunches and we had to go back, but one of them left their homework out of their pack and we had to go back again to pick that up, and then the car was running low on gas so we had to stop to fill up, and finally we got them to school but they were an hour late.

I know that's a horrible run-on sentence but it's the kind of thing I'm dealing with. A translator would take the above and cut it into chunks that fit the character limit and timing rules, including the timecode.

For certain shots timing on the audio needs to be more precise, and in those cases I will be more specific.

Having never translated into another language, I'm not sure if all this is necessary. Would it be easier on the translators if I simply gave them the English subtitles, timecoded and all?


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Ivars Barzdevics  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:04
English to Spanish
Better subtitle by subtitle Mar 27, 2008

DQ Carder wrote:

Would it be easier on the translators if I simply gave them the English subtitles, timecoded and all?


Yes, it would be faster and not such a hassle for the translator if you send the edited English.subtitles. I imagine you'll be supplying the vídeo as well, so if anything is missing as a result of the editing, the translator can always hear the entire line and this is often very helpful.

Also, make clear the Cps (Characters per second) for each project. From my experience (I subtitle for DVDs) the average for a feature or an episodic is 17 cps, and for VAM 20 cps. But bear in mind that these figures may vary from studio to studio.

Ivars


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Sylvano
Local time: 06:04
English to French
No video? Mar 28, 2008

DQ Carder wrote:
But then I thought, maybe it would be more helpful to send the English subtitles, which will already be edited down to shorter lines . . . or would this not be preferable, since it might take a bit of context out?


I'm getting the impression the translator won't get the program itself to watch while translating... Am I wrong? Hope you're aware it's the only way for him to get full context and do a decent job...


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:04
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's not enough & other things Mar 28, 2008

DQ Carder wrote:
I'm going to making a transcription removing any redundancy, ums, stuttering, et cetera.


It's not enough. You have to "voraciously prune" most of the lines, otherwise the spectator will be reading too much, with no time left for watching the action.

For instance:
"It is my deephearted opinion that..."
often has to be subtitled as:
"I think that..."

I will lay this out with in and out timecodes for each chunk of text or "paragraph", rather than by subtitle.


Nope. You'll be multiplying the spotting work by the number of languages. Do it by subtitle. The same spotting will require only minor adjustments here and there for languages of the same root, e.g. ES/PT/FR/IT, or DE/SV/NL.

I will give guidelines on how long lines may be and how long each line must be displayed for, and let the translators determine how to break these chunks up. That way, if one language needs more words to say the same thing (or less), they have more freedom to do it right.


... only if you'll be using translators relatively inexperienced in subtitling, who check their subtitling seminar's workbook all the time for guidance.

Since I am handling the English subtitles, I will then take the same template and use it for English subtitles.


Have a look at Subtitle Workshop FREEware at http://www.urusoft.net , especially its Translate feature. I won't delve into possibilities, as they are well covered there. Though it supports some 50 subtitle formats, if you are using one of those "oddball" subtitling systems, you might have a hard time converting. Anyway, it renders several subtitle file formats that are all plain text files, so they can be initially translated using Word and some CAT tool for translators who just can't live without them. I don't know about Trados, that too many people want to shove down my throat (won't try it until they send people here to torture my whole family), but WordFast would leave timecodes unharmed. These files can also be manually translated using Windows Notepad. But the easiest way would be using SW Translate feature. As it's free, no translator should refuse to download and use it.

(snipped)
I know that's a horrible run-on sentence but it's the kind of thing I'm dealing with. A translator would take the above and cut it into chunks that fit the character limit and timing rules, including the timecode.


In the method I suggested above, the translator will see the subtitles before and after the one they are working on, so they can rearrange the breaks. If they get skilled with it, they may even adjust the timecodes for their language, i.e. their own translation.

For certain shots timing on the audio needs to be more precise, and in those cases I will be more specific.


Timing should be precise all the time, otherwise you'll get complaints from bilingual spectators. In subtitling, the original audio will always be there. As I also translate for dubbing, I know that there I can do as I please, because I'm creating a wholly new soundtrack.

Having never translated into another language, I'm not sure if all this is necessary. Would it be easier on the translators if I simply gave them the English subtitles, timecoded and all?


It doesn't work. My best example comes from sales training videos. "Customer needs" in EN necessarily turns into "necessidades do cliente" in PT. So in such cases I have to rebuild the whole phrase.

What you can do, if your translators are physically distant, is to convert the hi-quality 720x480 VOB video into 320x240 AVI compressed with DivX. They won't need anything much better to do time spotting, and this will save a lot of bandwidth and disk space for all involved. Maybe I'm wrong, but I had bad experiences spotting video with MPEG files, times tend to "slip". I only use AVI for this.

Hope this helps.


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DQ Carder
English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks everyone Mar 28, 2008

Ivars and Sylvano, thanks—and yes, we will be supplying them with the video.

José, thanks for all the good advice and the links. I will definitely be utilizing it. When I said I was going to make a transcription that wasn't "pruned down", I didn't mean I would actually use that for the English subtitles, but now I'm going to skip that step altogether. I am -definitely- going to be editing the English subtitles into shorter more efficient sentences. Our video is full of long-winded lines.

I believe the time slipping you mentioned is due to the MPEG GOP pattern.


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kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:04
English
+ ...
Translation templates May 21, 2008

The best way I've found to deal with translation templates is to make up a timed caption file in the original language (Usually UK-EN in my case) which is broadcast ready i.e. a proofed and checked final version. If you can include translators notes to explain any slang or obscure terminology, do so. Even if the translator doesn't always need them, they won't be insulted by extra information. If any words such as "right", which can have different meanings appear on their own, unless it's blatantly obvious which sense is meant, elaborate if possible.

Ideally, each caption should be a sense group, which makes it easier to translate, and should not be absolutely crammed full of text, as translations often need more space than the original text.

If you can export all of the timecode information, that also makes life easier for an experienced subtitling translator, especially if they translate using subtitling software. It also makes it easier for you in the long run as you should be able to import their translated file directly with all the timecode information intact.


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