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Professional Subtitling Software (UK + GER)
Thread poster: JuliaGoellnitz

JuliaGoellnitz
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:34
English to German
+ ...
Feb 28, 2010

Hi there,

I was wondering if anyone knew which subtitling software is the most widely used in the UK and Germany?
I have been working for a UK subtitling company for a year now using WinCAPS, while at the same time, studying subtitling at a UK University we used SWIFT.

Through the company I had the possibility of getting a special loan for the WinCAPS purchase but now since the contract is running out, winCAPS gave me new options for the licence.
Anyway, bottom line is that WinCAPS is imho ridiculously expensive. Having paid already like 1000 GBP it would be another 2000+ GBP to buy a perpetual licence (and this is a reduced price!). I really don't see how a software that doesn't really do much can cost 3000+ GBP and more importantly: I really don't know if it'd be worth the money.

Does anyone know how much SWIFT is and what other subtitling programmes are professionally used in the UK and in Germany? Is WinCAPS the most widely used one?

I quite liked working with SWIFT, altho winCAPS had less crashes.

Thanks a lot!
J.

[Edited at 2010-02-28 14:04 GMT]


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Frédéric Pizzaia  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:34
English to French
+ ...
Some free tools Mar 1, 2010

Hi,

Here are some free softwares you can use for subtitling :
Aegisub,
Subtitle Workshop

Then, as you know it also depends the kind of project you're handling : translation or also files conversion with a specific extension (sub, vob, srt, txt). Each client has different requirement.

Regards,

Frédéric


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Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:34
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Swift Mar 1, 2010

I also liked it a lot, but I've been told it's just too expensive!

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JuliaGoellnitz
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:34
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
free-tools vs. pro-tools Mar 1, 2010

Hi,

I'm not sure, how these free tools appear when you apply with companies.
Since I have done my Master's degree in Audiovisual Translation (subtitling, etc.) and am a professional, I am prepared to spend some money for a pro-tool. However, I was wondering, which pro-tools are the most popular ones among companies and how the prices differ.


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:34
German to English
+ ...
Another free one Mar 1, 2010

Jubler

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Using freeware Mar 1, 2010

JSkye wrote:
I'm not sure, how these free tools appear when you apply with companies.
Since I have done my Master's degree in Audiovisual Translation (subtitling, etc.) and am a professional, I am prepared to spend some money for a pro-tool. However, I was wondering, which pro-tools are the most popular ones among companies and how the prices differ.


The author of the excellent freeware AVI.NET (for extracting VOBs to AVIs) gives a good explantion on the difference between good freeware and commercial software. He says that results with his freeware are often better than with equivalent commercial software for the same purpose, but... with freeware the user interface is likely to be less-than-friendly (i.e. some settings must be done direcly, and not via snazzy GUI menus), and all tech support is often limited to skimpy instructions on a web page.

A "subtitles" file - any format - is nothing more than a text file. With lots of patience, one could actually build a SSA, SRT, TXT... or any other "subs" file with Windows Notepad. I often use it to manually edit SSA files, and go beyond Subtitle Workshop's resources.

The difference is in processing that text file. The most complete such format is SSA, as it includes all subtitle parameters. Hence it allows to burn subs directly onto an AVI using the free VirtualDub. The most bare-essentials file is TXT, as it contains only subs texts and in/out times. All "features" of the subs will have to be set later, usng, e.g. Adobe Encore, Ulead's whatchamacallit, etc. If all are properly used, quality will be the same.

Now most cable TV subtitling is done on-the-fly. I mean the subs are ready, the unsubbed film is ready, but the synchronized subs overlay is done while it's being broadcast. So that requires special software at the TV station, and such sofware uses proprietary formats that are generally beyond the reach of freeware.

So, if the subtitle files are compatible with whatever the end-client's software requires, it makes no difference if the software used is free or commercial.

I go all the way to fully-authored subtitled DVDs. Of course, authoring is done with commercial software, as it does make quite a difference. However the subtitling is done with freeware, with no loss in quality.

I once learned a lesson from a mechanic. a great genius in wheel alignment here in Sao Paulo. Skipping the technical details, in the early 1970s he beat Ford - the manufacturer - in discovering a specification flaw (and the solution too!) that caused excessive tire wear in a certain car model. Nevertheless, he used very primitive equpment, while other shops had dazzling setups for wheel alignment. Questioned on that, he said, "That machine only measures the alignment. In spite of how mine looks, it's always calibrated to the dot, so that I get absolutely accurate measurements. The real issue is in knowing WHAT TO DO to get them right. And THIS is my specialty!"

So if the translator gets great subtitles, it makes no difference how much the software to generate them cost, as it's only TEXT. Rendering them onscreen is another issue, seldom handled by translators themselves.


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JuliaGoellnitz
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:34
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
it's just ridiculous... Mar 1, 2010

As a subtitler and translator, I do not only just translate subs but also generate them with in and out-time, etc. Therefore owning a subtitling software is inevitable. Depending on the client, I also need to be able to generate different subtitle files, although these might be for backup reasons only, while just one, in my case the w32 (wincaps) file is being used.

I just do not understand why these commercial softwares are so ridiculously expensive (especially when subtitling is so ridiculously badly paid) - it almost seems like it doesn't stand in any relation. Those softwares don't really do much but yet companies require you to have them.

Any ideas how the prices are for Swift and if it'd be compatible with winCAPS regarding the subtitle output file?

J.


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Katharina Hinderer
Local time: 03:34
English to German
+ ...
Eztitles Mar 3, 2010

In Germany one of the most common software programms used for subtitling is EZtitles (produced by ELF Software in Bulgaria). It's very popular among freelancers, because it doesn't cost as much compared to the other programms. The cost of one license is around 1000 Euros (that's what I heard from colleagues, referring to the old version), but they offer installment plans where you pay a fraction every month.

The functionality and export formats should be similar to wincaps and swift. Originally EZtitles didn't have a timeline and shot recognition, but the new version offers both. I've been using it for over 4 years now and am quite happy with it. It might be a big change from working with Wincaps, though.

Good luck with your subtitling!


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kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:34
English
+ ...
Systems in the UK Mar 17, 2010

Many UK subtitling houses use Swift, which costs about the same as WinCAPS.
Swift and WinCAPS are very similar in a lot of ways in terms of what they can do. I've always found Swift to be more user-friendly than WinCAPS, but it's the system I've used most often.

Another option is Isis, which is produced by Starfish Technologies. It's a little cheaper than Swift and WinCAPS and is becoming more popular with broadcasters because of its versatility. The latest versions of Swift now incorporate ideas first seen in Isis.

There are a number of other systems too, but those are the main ones in use in the UK.

The main thing to look out for when investing in a system is compatibility. Although all three systems I've mentioned will export files in most of the same formats, because of the different interpretations of format specs, they aren't always fully compatible, which can cause problems - usually with positioning and safe areas.

My advice would be to find out what system(s) your clients and their other freelancers are using and make your decision based on that.


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Andrei Neagu
Local time: 04:34
Subtitling Software Feb 22, 2013

Best advice seemed to me to be the one from KMTEXT.
It's been quite a while since all of you wrote these lines here. I have learned subtitling on an old WIN2020 which was created by Screen Subtitling Systems Ltd. I did it about 10 years ago, when I had to learn from a master in subtitling, at a major TV station, here in Bucharest, Romania. In Romania, we use subtitling for most major foreign programmes (movies and TV series). Most of the cartoons are now dubbed here. It's not such a great thing, as I have learned much of the basic English from television shows, especially cartoons.
So, I have learned on WIN2020, which is like a dinosaur in subtitling. This software used to require a character/font generator, as all the subtitling was done on Betacam tapes/cassettes.
You had to have one player, with the original material, and one recorder, for the transmission tape.
I have worked on Cavena Delight, Starfish Isis, and am now working on Softel Swift. Personally, the most stable, seemed to be Isis. It didn't have almost any crashes and it worked fine. All of the above mentioned software is professional/commercial software. Swift seemes to be the most user friendly, but it does crash a lot. Cavena also required a character generator.
I don't know if my lines will help a lot, but if anyone has any question, I will be pleased to answer them.
Andrew.


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John Willemsen  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 04:34
Dutch to Bulgarian
+ ...
The discussion maybe dead by now... Feb 22, 2013

but I find Subtitle Edit incredible, and have never had to use other software. It's incredibly easy to use, full of features (which you can use, but don't have to) and exports to any and every file format.

And free to boot!


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Saleha893
India
Technical Query relating SWIFT V.6 Softel subtitling software. May 29, 2013

This query is for SWIFT V.6 Softel subtitling software.
Previously I had MSOffice previously installed on my system,
hence in SWIFT V.6 Preferences I had the MSWord dictionary linked.
After having changed to OpenOffice the spellcheck returns void since it doesn't recognise the OpenOfficeWriter dictionary. How do I set SWIFT to read other dictionaries.

Thanks.


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IT Pros Subs
Italy
Local time: 03:34
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
They were asking about subtitling software... May 30, 2013

...not a subtitle editor. To cue and timestamp subtitles and to do so in a reasonable time frame, with the necessary professional quality and accuracy, YOU DO NEED A PROFESSIONAL PACKAGE.



John Willemsen wrote:

but I find Subtitle Edit incredible, and have never had to use other software. It's incredibly easy to use, full of features (which you can use, but don't have to) and exports to any and every file format.

And free to boot!


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I hope you are right, Monica May 30, 2013

Monica Paolillo wrote:

...not a subtitle editor. To cue and timestamp subtitles and to do so in a reasonable time frame, with the necessary professional quality and accuracy, YOU DO NEED A PROFESSIONAL PACKAGE.


After our several discussions on various threads, I've come to the conclusion that my mostly freeware-based m.o. is clearly inefficient (i.e. the process takes longer than it should to be worthwhile at low rates) and relies heavily on my personal skill.

Now and then I translate subtitles for small and mid-size local professional video producers, of course, corporate stuff, not for cinema/TV. All they want from me is the translated subtitles on a DOC file. Of course, they have internal staff to handle the time-spotting.

I've already asked them how they do it. So far two told me they place the subtitles one by one using Final Cut, which I never had, but I guess the process is the similar to what I'd have to use on Sony Vegas. This looks like the least efficient method possible!... though quality will be undeniably excellent.

Evidence of that is that when the end-client's deadline is abusively short, they ask me to do the entire subtitling job... for which I use Subtitle Workshop and VirtualDub.

It would have been a sound business decision for these studios to buy the subtitling software you call 'professional', as it would pay for itself very quickly. Yet they don't!

So I really hope that this 'professional'-labeled subtitling software is really as efficient and quality-wise effective as you say. Considering the absolutely junky subtitling I see on several Brazilian cable TV channels, they probably use cheaper software than the freeware I have adopted. Time-spotting there often seems to be done using an analog clock!


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IT Pros Subs
Italy
Local time: 03:34
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
IT IS JOSE!!! May 30, 2013

It's exactly that! Efficient and quality-wise effective.

I don't know why you keep insisting on the opposite. I really don't want to keep on debating with you about this. That's a fact for all the subtitlers I know. I don't know about Brazilian subtitles and then again what do those have to do with subtitling software? What makes you think my subtitles are as poor as the ones you describe? Is it just because I use professional software? That's unbelievable.

Also, what makes you think the studios I work with are not equipped with subtitling software themselves anyway? The reason why they need the spotting is that they are swamped and their inhouse subtitlers can't keep up with the volumes.

I know and have heard your point of view an incredible number of times, you keep telling the same to every subtitler and in every forum possible, but the bottomline is that you admitted you are not a full-time subtitler, and that's where things change, that's where you have to increase productivity and the turnaround-to-quality ratio.

And for your information not all professional subtitling software packages are expensive. There is a great package at Eur 245 available for Mac (www.zeitanker.com) that is by far the most user friendly subtitling package I have used so far.

Sorry, I don't really want to make you change your mind because you're clearly not open to consider different points of view and that's not a problem to be honest. Let's agree to disagree. That's more than fine with me.




José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Monica Paolillo wrote:

...not a subtitle editor. To cue and timestamp subtitles and to do so in a reasonable time frame, with the necessary professional quality and accuracy, YOU DO NEED A PROFESSIONAL PACKAGE.


After our several discussions on various threads, I've come to the conclusion that my mostly freeware-based m.o. is clearly inefficient (i.e. the process takes longer than it should to be worthwhile at low rates) and relies heavily on my personal skill.

Now and then I translate subtitles for small and mid-size local professional video producers, of course, corporate stuff, not for cinema/TV. All they want from me is the translated subtitles on a DOC file. Of course, they have internal staff to handle the time-spotting.

I've already asked them how they do it. So far two told me they place the subtitles one by one using Final Cut, which I never had, but I guess the process is the similar to what I'd have to use on Sony Vegas. This looks like the least efficient method possible!... though quality will be undeniably excellent.

Evidence of that is that when the end-client's deadline is abusively short, they ask me to do the entire subtitling job... for which I use Subtitle Workshop and VirtualDub.

It would have been a sound business decision for these studios to buy the subtitling software you call 'professional', as it would pay for itself very quickly. Yet they don't!

So I really hope that this 'professional'-labeled subtitling software is really as efficient and quality-wise effective as you say. Considering the absolutely junky subtitling I see on several Brazilian cable TV channels, they probably use cheaper software than the freeware I have adopted. Time-spotting there often seems to be done using an analog clock!




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