Anyone here going beyond subtitle TRANSLATION?
Thread poster: José Henrique Lamensdorf

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 10, 2009

I wonder if there are any fellow Prozians who don't stop at the translated subtitles, sometimes spotting included.

I began translating management training videos for dubbing in 1987. Later I expanded my coverage to what is known as "corporate video", but seldom did full-feature movies for TV, maybe some 15-20 of them at most. My personal technique yields superb quality, but productivity is somewhat low.

Anyway, the translator's work for dubbing ends with the translated script, when the dubbing director takes over. Sometimes the translator gets a chance to see the final job done.

As the overall cost of dubbing a film is about three times what it takes to subtitle it, by 2004 the demand for dubbed corporate videos in Brazil dropped sharply, in favor of subtitling. So I self-taught the art of translating for subtitles, but continued using the same technique I used for dubbing all those years.

Some research on the web led me to realize that with digital video, DVD, my computer alone would replace all that hardware (viz. char generator, Genlock, editing suite) previously used to subtitle analog videos. And so I discovered the way to actually subtitle a whole video, with amazing quality in spite of using only freeware, on my PC.

A few months later I took the next step, which was DVD authoring. Ever since, I've developed my authoring into automatic and interactive DVDs, often including still slide shows as well.

So I wonder if there are any colleagues here who took the same or a similar route, and who would like to exchange experiences, tips, etc.

[Edited at 2009-06-10 21:13 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, I must be an oddball Jun 16, 2009

I do have a fellow translator and client (she is an outsourcer too) who became a personal friend, that does it all, but she learned more from me than I did from her. Therefore I'm not one of a kind. Her degree is in Law, mine is in Engineering, so it's got nothing to do with one's studies.

From many of the posts I saw in this specific forum, subtitle translators' most frequent concern seems to be finding software compatible with the subtitler's system... and rates (of course, like any translator).

I was frequently asked to set up some course on the technical side of subtitling at home with freeware. Though most large subtitling clients only want the subs, they'll take it from there, there is always some demand from non-video businesses of all sizes that need their institutional, training, product, promotion, etc. videos subtitled.

The reason I never complied that request is that I know basically two ways to subtitle, viz. my way of doing it for a) subs burned on the image, and b) a DVD with on-off switchable subs. In other words, I know one way to do it for each. Of course I tried various alternatives until I selected these two, which I have been using consistently for a few years already.

My intent here was to find fellow translators who also found their ways of doing that, so we might learn with each other's past trials and errors and eventually improve. However it seems that there aren't any, at least here.


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Jing Nie
China
Local time: 12:22
Member (2011)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Why bother to learn so much things? Jul 1, 2009

Dear Jose,

As you know, you have spent many time on learning how to spotting, authoring the DVD. There is no doubt that you are the Master now.

But the fact is , it is almost useless for most of us in this forum. Usually, the clients will provide spotted subtitles to the translator, and the translator can use only MS WORD to handle a SRT file.

Learning new techniques need time and patience, and for the persons who have already have enough works, he/she will consider if it is worth to spend time on learning new technologies.

I started to learn spotting after I am asked by a direct client. At first, I think subtitling is a profitable field . So I learned many video-processing software such as Avisynth, VirtualDub, and even Premiere Pro; and subtitling software such as Subtitling workshop and Popsub.

But the problem is, after I learned so many software and know how to do spotting & hardsubing, I found no place to use them. My clients in US and Spain always send me the spotted subtitles in SRT format, I only need to translate the files.

I tried to develop direct clients, and I thought they will need my all-in-one subtitling services. But the direct client always made me disappointed, almost all of them thought my rate was too high. No wonder, I am in China, all these direct clients are from China too, they are used to low rates. So my rate is not competitive ,I have almost no chance to use the subtitling techniques in real world. I only provide 3 or 4 subtitling & hardsubing services to direct clients since 2007, they are no more than 60 mins in total. I wonder it is worth for fellow translators to master all these software and techniques that will never be used.


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:22
German to English
+ ...
OmegaT Jul 1, 2009

Jing Nie wrote: the translator can use only MS WORD to handle a SRT file.


OmegaT > 2.0.0 can handle .srt files without the need for a word-processor.


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Jing Nie
China
Local time: 12:22
Member (2011)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Thanks for your reply. Jul 1, 2009

My English is not good enough and make you confused.

In fact , I mean translator can translate the SRT file without any subtitling Tools, just MS WORD is enough.
Robert Tucker wrote:

Jing Nie wrote: the translator can use only MS WORD to handle a SRT file.


OmegaT > 2.0.0 can handle .srt files without the need for a word-processor.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Each one's own market Jul 1, 2009

Well, Jing, it's disappointing that you took the trouble to learn all that to do so little.

I was wondering how many translators, maybe in other countries, did the same with better results, i.e. a higher demand.

Of course, no translator will be authoring videos for TV or commercial DVD distribution, but I thought that some translators specialized in training programs like me might have taken the plunge, too, maybe including corporate video for direct clients.

I spent 18 years only translating for dubbing. Now and then I was invited to a studio to watch the dubbing being actually done, and learned a lot from it. I started to translate for subtitling by demand, as a good client of mine couldn't find a translator for technical films FROM my native language into English. That's how I got into it.

Then I realized that for digital video I had all the tools I needed in my computer, by downloading some freeware. Apparently nobody else here took this path.


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
English to Hungarian
+ ...
The answer is in your title Jul 2, 2009

"Each one's own market"

I am not surprised that you are not overwhelmed with responses.
I think you have access to a unique market, you made good use of it, and they are lucky to have you.

In Europe the market nearly always require translations into a number of languages, therefore the client would look for an agency specialising in subtitling, to co-ordinate and supply a complete package. High demand also means more specialisation, leaving the individual to concentrate on just specific aspects of the whole process.

I have several years of subtitling experience, taught myself spotting and enjoyed this kind of work. However, I seldom had direct clients, and usually worked with the aid of programs used by the agencies.

Even when producing subtitles - from informal video interviews - of good enough quality to be used as a teaching aid for "how to do spotting and translating subtitles", it did not increase the number of my direct clients, mainly because of their multilingual requirements.

There was plenty of work, and I think there is still plenty of work in this field. However, in the last few years the industry changed to such an extent that for me it is not lucrative enough to work in this field any more, for rates below what I used to get 5-6 years ago. The market is looking for cheap labour, and they get exactly what they pay for.

Although I dare say I am quite a bit older than Jing Nie, I would never say "why bother to learn so much things", and I don't regret having learned a lot about transcription, subtitling and spotting, and I would have liked to continue widening my knowledge, but in view of the changes in the industry, I turned to other things to enhance my professional expertise, and I didn't regret it.


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kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:22
English
+ ...
My experience Jul 5, 2009

I actually studied microbiology and kind of fell into translation/subtitling by accident.

When I finished my degree, I ended up taking a postgrad in broadcasting, which led into a subtitling/translation job, so I've been doing monolingual and translated subtitling since 1992. I do spotting, transcription, editing, translation and template production and work for a range of clients in broadcasting, cinema and DVD production.

I think being able to offer a variety of services is very important for a freelancer and am always willing to add another string to my bow.


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