Mobile menu

The "practical side" of translating subtitles
Thread poster: Chiara Foppa Pedretti

Chiara Foppa Pedretti  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:01
English to Italian
+ ...
Jan 18, 2009

Hi everybody, that's my first time outside the Italian forum!

I'm writing here because I'm planning to expand my offer by learning to translate subtitles. The problem is: I have so many doubts about the "practical" side of this activity...! For example, I keep asking myself: Should the first line be longer or shorter then the second one? If a particle is in the middle of a sentence, should it be at the end of the first line or at the beginning of the second one? And so on. (I hope I'm not the only one wondering about these things...)

So, I'd like to know if there is any source (books, websites...) where I can find this kind of information.

Thank you in advance.
Chiara


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:01
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A few suggestions Jan 18, 2009

Ciao, Chiara,

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.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Chiara Foppa Pedretti  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:01
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's interesting Jan 18, 2009

Thank you, José. Yours are very interesting points.

I know (I've studied them at university - not because I've followed a subtitling course, but because I had a wonderful professor) the rules you mentioned about the characters per word or the seconds per line, but I always have the feeling I'm missing something. Now I know that what I probably miss is not futher rules, but experience.

I say this because common sense too can be "increased" through experience, IMHO. Or, better, with time you can raise your awareness of common sense. That's in line with your talent-based approach, which I share. Thank you again.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ioana Daia  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 08:01
Spanish to Romanian
+ ...
Citation needed... Jan 18, 2009

The guidelines provided by Simona are from this article
http://www.proz.com/doc/32

And I agree with Jose Henrique. Common sense is essential. And a lot of practice.
I usually go for the division of lines by syntagms, but the other option is as valid, especially for larger screens.
I'm having a lot of fun translating movies and subtitling them, hope you'll like it too.
Good luck !
Ioana


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Chiara Foppa Pedretti  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:01
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ioana... Jan 19, 2009

...thank you! I'll read that article immediately.
I'm sure I'll have fun too (...as soon as I'll have work!!).


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

The "practical side" of translating subtitles

Advanced search


Translation news





SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs