subtitling over subtitling
Thread poster: translation1201
Oct 6, 2011

Hello all,
I'm new to subtitling and my first project is quite complicated. I'm subtitling
an episode of a Spanish comedic web series. 60% of the episode already has
subtitles in Spanish (the characters are being interviewed by a reporter and
much humour is derived from the subtitling of their oftentimes incoherent
speech). What is the normal practice in this situation? Should all the English
subtitles appear at the top of the screen throughout the episode or only when
there are spanish subtitles? Also, I'm working with Media Subtitler. Would i
need a more advanced subtitling programme in order to change the position of the
Apologies if these questions are a bit daft. Like I said, I'm new to all this.
Many thanks to whoever responds

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Just Opera
Local time: 03:25
French to English
+ ...
Normal practice is... Oct 6, 2011

Normal practice is you work from a "virgin" copy of the film without any subtitles and do the English ones.

But I understand the problem with translating these kind of language specific in-jokes. The job of a good subtitler is to find an equivalent in the target language to convey the jokes. Not very easy. Things kind of get lost in translation, like the vous and tu of Godard, something that goes over the head of a non-French speaker:


Her: Should l use ''vous'' (you formal) or ''tu'' (you informal) ?

Him: No difference...

Him: But l can't do without you (toi informal).

[Edited at 2011-10-06 19:42 GMT]

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:25
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Virgin copy it is Oct 7, 2011

... and you work from the sound.

Normally, people would expect you to submit the subtitles, period, whether in Word or txt. The professional subtitling programs are something they would have on hand in-house; you may later have to coordinate the timing with a technician. Previous subtitles are only helpful when parts of the audio are incomprehensible. I once had to subtitle a film from a subtitled copy sent to the Cannes Film Festival, and when "salauds" appeared on the screen, I could swear nowhere had the actor literally said "pigs", but it gave the general drift of where he was going.

You also subtitle parts that seem obvious, unless instructed otherwise. For example, Spanish spoken elsewhere than Spain, or with a foreign/local accent, may be unclear for a native Spanish audience. There was a film where a child shouted "Batman!" audible to all and comprehensible in the context, but as it was unexpected, the technician asked me to put that in as well.

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subtitling over subtitling

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