| A few suggestions || Jan 18, 2009 |
I guess that wherever you learn the technique for translating video, they'll also give you some "rules" on that. I have noticed that these rules change from country to country, and also, within the same country, to some extent from studio to studio, and from time to time. So keep your eyes open for what you see all the time, notice what you like and what you dislike as a spectator.
There is one tool that is the most useful mankind has for doing any kind of work, and that's common sense. Use it unsparingly at all times.
I translated video for lip-sync dubbing for 18 years before I ventured into subtitling. No, one is not more difficult than the other; just two different techniques, and two different sets of objectives. For dubbing, my goal was to render a text in the target language that a competent voice artist would be able to give the impression that the translated words were actually said by the original actor, at least most of the time. Apparently I was successful. Once I had a chance to show a video I had translated, and which had been dubbed by a first-class team, to the original actor. He watched it very closely, and asked me whether we had done any image processing for such a perfect lip sync. We hadn't, of course.
While translating for subtitling, I advocate for the spectator. As a mechanical engineer, I consider the eyeballs as "bearings". So I strive for minimum movement, to prevent unnecessary wear and tear to these bearings. In spite of some "rules" on where the line break should or shouldn't be, viz. if after a verb, and adverb, a noun, an article, whatever, I strive to make those two lines as much as possible, with similar length, to minimize "vision travel". I try to imagine the spectator sitting on the front row of a large movie house, having a wide screen. How can I spare their neck the most? So though my most orthodox rule-followers may say here and there that I was "wrong", my spectators are usually thankful for that.
There are countless criteria, such as chars per sec, words per sec etc. for software to assess whether a set of subtitles is "good" or not. I don't use that. I go for the intuitive spectator's feeling about if the subtitling fells good to watch or not. No matter what the software tells me, if people don't feel good about a subtitling job, I won't consider it good.
All this may work for you or not. I self-taught myself video translation for both types, so for me it's more a natural talent-based art than a learned technique. Other people have studied the technique, and do it just as well. However neither way will work without common sense.
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