Is it unusual for companies to provide their own subtitling software?
Thread poster: Melina Kajander
Melina Kajander
Finland
English to Finnish
Feb 17

I hope I'm not asking something that's already been discussed, but at least a search didn't bring up anything quite on this topic.

I'm just wondering, since I've been contacted by some subtitling companies that do not provide freelancers with their own in-house subtitling software, and asking what subtitle software I have/use - and that's a new thing for me, as the main subtitling client I have worked for did provide their own, in-house software, so there was no issue whatsoever of ever acquiring your own. Likewise, the many discussions I now see on this subforum about "which subtitling software" etc. makes me think not all companies do provide freelancers with one...? Just wanted to clarify what the situation actually is now, and whether I should or should not expect trustworthy companies to provide their own software.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Henriette Saffron  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 20:07
Member (2013)
English to Danish
No. Feb 17

Some agencies or end clients provide software, some don’t.
I started subtitling three years ago, and the only untrustworthy client, I have encountered, did provide software.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A matter of security Feb 17

Some companies don't want the subtitles they pay for available as a self-standing SRT file, so that it can leak and be made available for download on the web. So they keep'em close to their chest, in proprietary format and - if possible - within their own servers.

[Edited at 2017-02-17 13:49 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Melina Kajander
Finland
English to Finnish
TOPIC STARTER
* Feb 17

Thanks for your replies!

That's what I thought, that it could be a security issue as well, that's one reason I was surprised to find that not all do provide software.
And interesting, Henriette, that the only untrustworthy client did provide software, as I'd have thought it to be the other way round, but that's very good to know.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
THe shady side of the street Feb 17

Melina Kajander wrote:

Thanks for your replies!

That's what I thought, that it could be a security issue as well, that's one reason I was surprised to find that not all do provide software.
And interesting, Henriette, that the only untrustworthy client did provide software, as I'd have thought it to be the other way round, but that's very good to know.


In the shady side of the street you'll find state-of-the-art locks on every door.

Envision this...
"Your payment is 30 days late. If you don't pay me by tomorrow, the subtitles I translated for you might accidentally find their way to torrent servers for download."

On the other hand, I have the utmost respect for my good clients. I always ask about it, and those who replied "please don't", nobody will ever know that I ever had access to all those great movies they had me working on. They are not listed on my CV, not on my web site, nor anywhere else, not even on e-mails exchanged with prospective subtitling clients.

[Edited at 2017-02-17 14:34 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Melina Kajander
Finland
English to Finnish
TOPIC STARTER
CV Feb 17

Listing on CV reminded me - I do mention a few titles I've translated in mine, but those were all from years ago, I don't even have the files or copies of them anymore, not to mention they weren't stand-alone files in the first place (due to the proprietary software)... But how else could you show what you've been working on in your CV, if not mentioning any titles?

Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
On mentioning titles Feb 17

Melina Kajander wrote:

Listing on CV reminded me - I do mention a few titles I've translated in mine, but those were all from years ago, I don't even have the files or copies of them anymore, not to mention they weren't stand-alone files in the first place (due to the proprietary software)... But how else could you show what you've been working on in your CV, if not mentioning any titles?


I specialize in corporate video, so one major client for over two decades - a training video distributor - allowed me to list the videos I translated for them, as well as to show a few clips on my web site.

I'd be careful about mentioning titles. One day I saw on the local cable TV schedule that a movie I had translated for the original producer, via a subtitling studio, would be shown. I set the DVR to record it. It took me only a couple of minutes to see such a shocking mistake - not a typo, but a common spelling mistake among uneducated Brazilians - that I felt sure it was not my translation.

Now imagine if a prospect had seen that title on my list, and that film on TV!

I prefer to stay safe.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

jbjb  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 21:07
Member (2005)
Estonian to English
+ ...
software Feb 18

Proprietary software is provided by a few global subtitling companies (SDI, Deluxe). Most of the companies don't have their own software. Even some international companies prefer letting translators work in Word and employ teams in India to format the files as needed. The trend nowadays is to let translators use web platforms that basically function as proprietary software.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Melina Kajander
Finland
English to Finnish
TOPIC STARTER
* Feb 20

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
I specialize in corporate video, so one major client for over two decades - a training video distributor - allowed me to list the videos I translated for them, as well as to show a few clips on my web site.

I'd be careful about mentioning titles. One day I saw on the local cable TV schedule that a movie I had translated for the original producer, via a subtitling studio, would be shown. I set the DVR to record it. It took me only a couple of minutes to see such a shocking mistake - not a typo, but a common spelling mistake among uneducated Brazilians - that I felt sure it was not my translation.

Now imagine if a prospect had seen that title on my list, and that film on TV!

I prefer to stay safe.

That's an interesting anecdote, but I doubt most subtitling company project managers scout prospective freelancers' work from TV Although of course that can happen. But surely they also know that films and TV serials are translated by several different subtitling companies? So even if they come across a title mentioned in a CV, it's by no means certain that it's by the translator in question.

I've also seen at least one episode of a series I've translated (for DVD) on TV, and either it wasn't my translation or then it was greatly edited/modified...

jbjb wrote:
Proprietary software is provided by a few global subtitling companies (SDI, Deluxe). Most of the companies don't have their own software. Even some international companies prefer letting translators work in Word and employ teams in India to format the files as needed. The trend nowadays is to let translators use web platforms that basically function as proprietary software.

Translating subtitles in Word is something I haven't heard of, I must say Usually a software is required, whether it's provided by the client or not.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

jbjb  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 21:07
Member (2005)
Estonian to English
+ ...
Word Feb 21

Letting translators use Word or the .srt format is pretty common for companies that are ready to take the trouble of reformatting the translation they receive in their subtitling software.
All films and series are naturally translated a number of times into every language and I dont see a problem in citing them, even if you no longer have the rights to use the translation anywhere else. Some big subtitling companies can translate the same film many times - sometimes they work for a client who gets the copyright for the translation, so if another client orders the translation for the same film, they just have it re-translated by someone else, instead of using the existing translation they have.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Melina Kajander
Finland
English to Finnish
TOPIC STARTER
Re-translating Feb 21

jbjb wrote:
All films and series are naturally translated a number of times into every language and I dont see a problem in citing them, even if you no longer have the rights to use the translation anywhere else. Some big subtitling companies can translate the same film many times - sometimes they work for a client who gets the copyright for the translation, so if another client orders the translation for the same film, they just have it re-translated by someone else, instead of using the existing translation they have.

Yes, this is how I'd understood it; although I'm not sure how much financial sense it makes for companies to have something translated a number of times, but then again that isn't my problem, of course


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I thought someone might ask that Feb 21

Melina Kajander wrote:
Yes, this is how I'd understood it; although I'm not sure how much financial sense it makes for companies to have something translated a number of times, but then again that isn't my problem, of course


It's a problem of RIGHTS on the subtitles.

Envision this, in the not-so-distant pre-globalization times...
Mogul Studios, Hollywood, CA, USA, produced some movie or TV series that became very popular, which was distributed to 100+ countries. The local film distributor for cinemas, VHS publisher, TV station that had the rights so show/resell it in each country took care of translating, subtitling, dubbing, etc. Maybe in some countries Mogul had a local representative, a subsidiary, whatever, who did it once for all of them.

Whoever hired and paid for the localization process owns the intellectual property of that dubbing soundtrack or subtitles file. Merely "snatching" such existing file for reuse is tantamount to piracy, a delicate matter in this industry. If, for instance, Mogul ever became known for using someone else's subtitles without the proper license, pirates would feel justified in making all of Mogul's productions freely available for download on the web.

Then Mogul decides to launch a remastered DVD or Blu-ray international version of one or many of their most successful movies, with menu-selectable subtitles in umpteen languages (let's skip dubbing audio soundtracks to keep it simple). Imagine how much work it would involve to discover who are the umpteen subtitles' rights holders for each flick, negotiate with each of them, and buy the rights. Some might be pretty bad quality. Other such holders may have split, merged, gone out of business, etc. Some might be in a bad financial situation or plain greedy, and struggle to make a bundle from it, making negotiations longer and tougher.

One subtitling studio might have in its agreement that translators are entitled to some additional pay, in case those subtitles are ever resold to anyone else. Not so farfetched. Some such translators could now be flipping burgers again, owning a gas station, or seven feet under. Not always so easy to find.

On another front, Mogul might now stand the chance to sell the rights to Netflix or any other VOD operation. If they offer it with subtitles in dozens of languages, they might ask for a considerably higher price.

So the least complicated, faster, and potentially cheaper way is to get it redone from scratch.
I've oversimplified the entire setup, and kept to a limited number of possibilities, but that's what often happens.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

jbjb  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 21:07
Member (2005)
Estonian to English
+ ...
rates Feb 21

Despite the low rates, your employer works with a net profit margin of 30-40%, so a re-translation is a considerable profit anyway. They don't need to chase a 90% net profit margin (recutting an existing translation), as anything they do makes very good financial sense anyway

Direct link Reply with quote
 
kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:07
English
+ ...
Same subtitling house, same programme, different client Jun 29

A few years ago I subtitled a series for one of the subtitling houses in London. A couple of years later, the same series was bought by another client who awarded us the contract for it. We still had the original subtitle files from the previous client in our archives and the subtitling house owned the copyright, but despite the fact that the programmes were not being re-edited or changed in any way and the file specs were the same, the client insisted on brand new files so we had to redo all six seasons from stratch.

Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Is it unusual for companies to provide their own subtitling software?

Advanced search







Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »
memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search