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Subtitle Workshop and different files
Thread poster: Miia Mattila

Miia Mattila
Finland
Local time: 21:59
English to Finnish
Jun 5, 2007

I am a complete newbie to Subtitle Workshop; I downloaded the program in order to learn how to use it, but that's about it.

Now I have a job for which I'd really love to use it (I'd rather not do translations of subtitles in Word, 'cause it takes a lot of time), but stumbled on a very essential (read: a-dummy-should-know-this) problem:

I have the source text file in 5 different formats: .rtf, .pac, .stl, .tcs, and .w32 but I am unable to open any of these files in Subtitle Workshop. Is really none of them supported by SW? Or is there something I can do in order to at least be able to view the movie with the subtitles and edit them in SW (where I can see the amount of characters per line etc. all the time)?

I'd really appreciate any help on this


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:59
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Try RTF -> TXT Jun 5, 2007

Miia,

I think the shortest route would be to use MS Word to open the RTF file and save it to TXT, which Subtitle Workshop can open.

What will happen when you open it will probably a surprise, either a good or a bad one. It all depends on how the subtitles were created. So you should be ready for any level of editing needs.

As you say you are a complete newbie, one piece explanation may be needed. Subtitle Workshop will create subtitle files in a variety of formats, but it won't put the subtitles on the video (either burn them on the image or overlay them so you can turn them off while watching). You'll need specific software to do it, and this software will define what file type you will have to choose to save the subtitles from SW. (You can always re-open the file and save it as a different type.)

If you are not "assembling" the subtitles yourself, your client will probably tell you what software they'll use to do it. You may find information on this in the SW "help".

If you need additional assistance, search on http://www.videohelp.com . Everything I know about video subtitling using a computer came from there, and I'm subtitling DVDs with excellent results.


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Miia Mattila
Finland
Local time: 21:59
English to Finnish
TOPIC STARTER
already tried that Jun 5, 2007

Hello José,

That was the first thing I tried, but unfortunately that did not do the trick (also tried changing the coding to Unicode during save, although I'm not sure if that should do anything)... SW is still telling me it's an 'unsupported or bad file'.

Thanks for the additional info also, it was nice of you to tell that Fortunately I do not have to burn the subtitles, I'm simply translating the subtitle file, the agency is taking care of the rest.

Oh, and just to clear things up; I'm a complete newbie with SW, I've been doing translations of subtitles for over a year, so I'm not a total newbie to that - I've just not had a client before, who would not give me a program :/

I'll check the link and see if I can find anything there


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:59
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Another trick from the bag Jun 5, 2007

Well, if you know what you are doing, another option is to use
Media Subtitler (also free) from http://www.divxland.org/subtitler.php to open the TXT file, and then save as a "clean" file to open with Subtitle Workshop, which is quite "picky" about files.

I don't recommend Media Subtitler for doing the actual spotting job, because AFAIK it uses an adrenalin-based method: you watch the video in real time, and go clicking your subtitles one after the other. However I use it often to create an "adequate" subtitle file from a TXT file, to work with Subtitle Workshop.

I think this should solve your problem.


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Miia Mattila
Finland
Local time: 21:59
English to Finnish
TOPIC STARTER
Media Subtitler opened the file... Jun 5, 2007

but it interpreted the time codes as subtitles - i.e. creating a file without time coding :/ I guess this file is just impossible to turn (without huge efforts) into something a public subtitling program would understand.

Thanks a million anyway, José, for all your help, you've been very kind


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Frode Aleksandersen  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 20:59
Member (2007)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Other software Jun 6, 2007

I really can't recommend subtitle workshop for actual subtitle timing as it has some rather severe limitations which makes it unsuitable for anything but the most very basic of uses. You could use it for some things, like format conversion though.

Instead I recommend you start with something like Substation Alpha or Aegisub. Aegisub is newer and more advanced in some regards, but Substation Alpha (though ancient and can only handle 8bit mono audio files) allows for better accuracy.


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Matthew Holway  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:59
Italian to English
+ ...
Aegisub Jun 6, 2007

Frode Aleksandersen wrote:

I really can't recommend subtitle workshop for actual subtitle timing as it has some rather severe limitations which makes it unsuitable for anything but the most very basic of uses. You could use it for some things, like format conversion though.

Instead I recommend you start with something like Substation Alpha or Aegisub. Aegisub is newer and more advanced in some regards, but Substation Alpha (though ancient and can only handle 8bit mono audio files) allows for better accuracy.


I downloaded a copy of Aegisub (I'm trying to get into subtitling) can you reccomend a good tutorial for it? Also semi-proffessional software.. what do you reckon??
I've read a little about Rocio's Dvit (300 euros) and some of the Wincaps software (they rent it at 700 dollars a year /and a silly price for buying it!!) Also getting the subtitles "ONTO" the media seems to be consistantly problamatic - the software people say their products don't do it.. Why is this?? Wouldn't adding the subtitles as an option in a DVD be painless? Or maybe they mean adding them as an integral part of the film..

Thnx.
Matt Holway (fr,it,sp -en)
www.sicilyenglish.org


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Frode Aleksandersen  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 20:59
Member (2007)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
tutorial link Jun 7, 2007

There's some links to tutorials here on how to time and overlay the subtitles onto normal video files:

http://www.malakith.net/aegiwiki/Main_Page

If you want to add them to DVD Nora Diaz posted some useful information here:

http://www.proz.com/post/578498#578498

Most likely you'll want to just create basic hardsubbed files for proofing purposes.

Usually companies want the subtitles separate so they can add them at the final stage of their products and thus avoid impacting quality. There are tools for creating subtitles that are integrated into DVD authoring software and the like, but usually they're just stopgap measures that allows you to do basic stuff. If you routinely create subtitles then stand alone products do a much better and faster job. Subtitles will also be used for wildly different end products: DVD, closed caption broadcast, digital TV broadcasts, acid/laser etched into film prints, digital cinema etc.

I don't have much experience with the professional software you mention, but according to a friend wincaps is supposed to be really good. After a couple of days learning it they pretty much cleared most of their backlog in no second flat. Unfortunately as a result they also managed to switch to doing all their subtitling in house as opposed to hiring contractors like me ^^;. If you do a lot of work with an agency that use it maybe you could get a limited license through them. Otherwise for normal contracting work it doesn't make much sense to purchase it and renting is the more likely option.

I recommend practicing subtitling for a bit first so you get the basic idea of when lines are supposed to end and start. In addition check with whoever you're working for what standards and restrictions they have. Some will have standards for how long each line can be, a minimum line duration, lead times for start and stop, blinking vs non-blinking intervals etc. Most smaller customers don't really care that much (internal company training videos and the like), but for any business that routinely works with subtitles those standards can vary.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:59
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Subtitle Workshop limitations Jun 8, 2007

Frode Aleksandersen wrote:
I really can't recommend subtitle workshop for actual subtitle timing as it has some rather severe limitations which makes it unsuitable for anything but the most very basic of uses. You could use it for some things, like format conversion though.

Instead I recommend you start with...


Frode,

I met these limitations face-to-face. For some reason, subtitles "slip in time" when spotted with MPEG files in Subtitle Workshop. So I convert these into small-frame AVI files to do that. I won't use these files for anything else, so image quality is not the issue.

I don't know the programs you suggested to start with, but I've been getting good results from SW. I'd say it's an excellent starter, and there is nothing to prevent you from creating the subtitles file with it, and later using other software to add features SW doesn't have, like switching to italics, changing colors, and so on. This will give the beginner a chance to progressively learn its more advanced features, eventually switch to it, and then burn the bridges to SW.

I think a subtitling-translator will have to initially invest in DVD authoring software and then, after having taken off businesswise, go for more complex subtitle generators.

So far I have been able to subtitle DVDs totally on freeware, as the studios that hire me to translate want to do the rest on their own, to keep their staff and equipment busy. There seems to be no difference in the final quality.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:59
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Two ways of doing it Jun 8, 2007

Matthew Holway wrote:
... getting the subtitles "ONTO" the media seems to be consistantly problamatic - the software people say their products don't do it.. Why is this?? Wouldn't adding the subtitles as an option in a DVD be painless? Or maybe they mean adding them as an integral part of the film..


There are two ways of doing it (freeware examples):

1. VirtualDub will actually burn professional-looking (if you set it up right) subtitles on the image, so the resulting DVD will play like a subtitled VHS. Additional DVD burning software required.

2. AVI2DVD will burn a DVD with up to 3 different subtitle files + none, selectable by the "Subtitle" key on the DVD Player remote control. It generates video files which the DVD player will overlay (one at a time) with the images from the video itself.

FYI the latter is very limited in subtitling resources, and renders a somewhat amateurish result. But if you've got the subtitle files, its just one (free) step to having a video subtitled in three languages + subtitles off. It sequentially uses a whole series of other freeware programs.


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