length of the source vs the target
Thread poster: marwa ibrahim

marwa ibrahim
Local time: 06:51
Arabic to English
+ ...
Mar 30, 2011

Hello

I'm new to subtitling and trying to get the main rules laid before me. The problem I have encountered while working and for which I'm looking for an answer is that the segments in the target language (English) are, most of the time, much longer than the source sentence (Arabic). Is there a certain rule concerning this? Is there a ratio that should be kept between the number of words in the source vs. the target? Also, is it ok to sacrifice a more eloquent translation for a shorter and clearer one? This "length" thing is very unclear to me. Please help me and if you can send me a link to the basics of subtitling (concerning the problems of length) simply and straightforwardly laid, I'd be grateful.

[Edited at 2011-03-30 00:42 GMT]


 

M_A_P  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:51
English to Italian
Book suggestion Mar 30, 2011

Hi,

I'm currently attending a course in subtitling and we are using this book:

Audiovisual Translation: Subtitling
Jorge Diaz-Cintas,
Publisher: Saint Jerome Publications


It is very helpful indeed in giving an overview on semiotics, linguistics and technical considerations of subtitling (for example, from the index: Feet and Frames, Dialogue lists, Style guides, Spatial dimension, Temporal dimension ...)

You can order a copy at this link: http://www.stjerome.co.uk/books/b/125/ (I received mine in a few days).

HTH


 

Ulf Samuelsson  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:51
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Simple rule Mar 30, 2011

How long the subtitle can be depends on how long it stays on the screen. A good rule of thumb for English is that a normal viewer can read about 15 characters/second while viewing a movie.

If it is visible for 3 seconds,
then this sentence is too long.

http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/UCmTTaVkGUVCkP7M9EUOPONlBrXfLLB0K_N2cO20KuLdEMMLds0cB238V9CQKM_-85o8xcKTlTzJkux6ukcq/Film%20translation%20draft.doc


 

marwa ibrahim
Local time: 06:51
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Mar 30, 2011

So it is all about time? A very helpful rule Ulf, thanks
Thanks Maria Anna. I think I will order that book!

PS
Ulf, the link is invalid


[Edited at 2011-03-30 17:45 GMT]


 

Ulf Samuelsson  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:51
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Yes, time is the key Mar 31, 2011

I wrote a short introduction to subtitling about ten years ago.

It doesn't really deal with any specific software for subtitling, so it should still be somewhat useful.

Here's a more workable link, I hope:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/wj6k2b


 

kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:51
English
+ ...
It's all about time Mar 31, 2011

Some concepts don't translate easily into other languages, so if you can't avoid your target sentence being longer than the source text, there isn't much you can do about it. About all you can do in that case is either let the caption run fast (avoid doing this unless it's something which is easily understood or will be familiar to the audience) extend the reading time, try to edit the text without losing all of the sense or possibly substitute something with a similar meaning, but with a shorter translation.

 


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length of the source vs the target

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