Which subtitling/transcription software should I get?
Thread poster: Yetta J Bogarde

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:31
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Feb 22, 2013

I love subtitling, but I don't have my own specialized software.
One of my clients have sent me a video and an Excel document to be completed for subtitle use. I have to create a full transcription with full time codes 00:00:00:00 (hrs:min:sec:frames) using the spreadsheet.
There has to be 25 frames per second.
Then after that I should translate it into my target language.
It sounds like a lot of fun. I have 2 monitors and will buy a foot pedal.
But what kind of software should I get? it must be able to calculate the time and frames.
And what do I charge?


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:31
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Design your workflow first, then select the software Feb 23, 2013

I translated video for dubbing for 18 years before I ventured into translation for subtitling. No, neither one is more difficult than the other; merely two different techniques, under two different frames of mind.

So I used open-reel sound recorders for many of those years. Then Express Scribe came up, and I retired those recorders. I still have a barebone VHS player hooked to my computer, to convert analog into digital audio, haven't used it for quite a while.

Video translation for dubbing ends with the script. The dubbing director will do the time-spotting.

So my video for subtitling workflow - adapted from translation for dubbing - is a three-step process, described on this page. Some people do both translation and time-spotting at once. I do the time-spotting and reviewing simultaneously.

As my usual deliverable is a finished subtitled video or DVD, I must embed careful reviewing into my workflow. Some translators' output will be reviewed by someone else, so the other option (translating & spotting at once) may be more efficient for them.

On my first step, I focus on translation only. So I use Express Scribe (the pro version plays digital video as well), and write my subtitles using Windows Notepad. I adopt 2 lines x 32 chars as my standard limit, so I set the Notepad window width to exactly that, and get it to break lines automatically. When a line overflows, I'll know that subtitle is too long and must be shortened.

There are countless software options for spotting. Some users will tell you that you must use a $4-digit program to be considered a professional, others will tell you this can be done with freeware, like the most popular Subtitle Workshop.

The essential criterion here is compatibility of the output subtitles file. If you'll be burning the subtitles/authoring DVDs yourself, you'll have more options. If you'll be delivering these files to someone else, e.g. a TV station or a video distributor, and only one of those $4-digit programs will deliver the proprietary file format they use, do your cost/benefit calculations to decide upon buying it.

Most of the information you'll need, including some very good tutorials, may be found by searching on http://www.videohelp.com .


 

Sylvano
Local time: 06:31
English to French
Heard that a thousand times Feb 23, 2013

Yetta J Bogarde wrote:
I love subtitling (...) It sounds like a lot of fun.


A bit of a common place from people who never approached that specialty, if you ask me. It still is work, Yetta.


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:31
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much, José Feb 23, 2013

I have done a lot of audio transcription and translation of subtitles for films and TV-series in the past - that's what I meant by 'love subtitling' - but of course those exercises do not entail so much technical manipulation, with spotting etc.

I am going to check out the different links you so kindly sent me, José, your guidance was very useful.

I am especially interested in Subtitle Workshop, I suppose that can count the frames as my client is asking?


 

jbjb  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 07:31
Member (2005)
Estonian to English
+ ...
subtitle file Feb 23, 2013

Before starting work you should be certain that the file format you can create with Subtitle Workshop is compatible with your client's needs.
Ask them to send you an example what the Excel file should look like together with the timecode.
Then take any timecoded subtitle file from the Internet and try out saving it in different formats in Subtitle Workshop - and see if you can match the file.
Subtitle Workshop offers various text formats that can be converted to Excel - Sonic DVD Creator is one format that can be converted to common Excel subtitle files easily. But you should be certain that you can create a file based on your client's specifications before you start.
Otherwise Subtitle Workshop should be fine for this purpose.
You should also ask about a required frame gap between subtitles. You will have problems with Subtitle Workshop if the required gap is 2-3-4 frames.


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:31
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Vow, thank you so much Feb 24, 2013

It's great to have all this expert help at hand.

 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:31
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
This may be a dumb question Feb 24, 2013

But do I still need express scribe Pro for working with a foot pedal

 

seastar0615
Malaysia
Local time: 12:31
Chinese to English
+ ...
Cavena Mar 11, 2013

I'm using Cavena as this is required by my client. Sorry I just want to ask a question as I'm being charged at certain amount monthly for Cavena license. It's around 1500Euro.
Anybody using cavena? Mind to tell how much does it cost actually?


 

Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 04:31
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Faster way Mar 11, 2013

Wouldn't it be better to contact Cavena and ask them? http://www.cavena.se/en/About-Cavena/Contact-details/ Then you can tell whether your client is fleecing you or not.

 

Van Lee Pereira  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:31
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Express scribe Mar 12, 2013

This is a great software. It's easy how to use it, and it's far better than transcript some file in Windows Media Player.

 

Monica Paolillo
Italy
Local time: 06:31
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Get some training first Mar 12, 2013

Dear Yetta,

transcribing is one thing, producing transcription for subtitle use (with timecodes, frame gaps etc.) is quite another and requires specific training. I wouldn't opt for Subtitle Workshop if I were you because I don't think you would come up with accurate cueing and, especially if your client is requesting a very specific format, you may find yourself ending up with a lot of post-delivery time-consuming tasks to do.

If you own and use a Mac I recommend Annotation Edit (www.zeitanker.com). I have also tested a bunch of professional tools for Windows and I have to say none of those are as user-friendly as AE. Besides AE exports into a larger variety of formats. Still, after buying software packages, you will really need time to learn how to cue and assign accurate timecodes.

Good luck!

Monica


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:31
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Monica Mar 12, 2013

After researching and learning a lot I talked to my client about their expectations and my limitations. I'm awaiting their decision.
In any case, it's been quite interesting and enlightening.


 

Rafael López Sánchez  Identity Verified
Spain
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aegisub Apr 29, 2015

Hello everyone,

I am a freelance audiovisual translator and the co-founder of Traduversia, an e-learning site for translators (www.traduversia.com). Recently, we have created an online course on how to use Aegisub. My mother tongue is Spanish, so the course is in that language. Anyway, I hope you find it useful and interesting.

Link: http://traduversia.com/curso/subtitulacion-con-aegisub/


 


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