Translate timed text or whole and timestamp later
Thread poster: Richard Varga

Richard Varga
Local time: 02:41
English to Slovak
+ ...
Feb 20

Hi, in your experience, is it better to translate timed subs from an .srt (with sentences broken down) or merge it into a whole and timestamp (and break it)?
Please share.

Veeranna Jogin

Michel Virasolvy  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:41
Member (2012)
English to French
Neither Feb 20

Your source material for subtitling is supposed to be the video/audio file. Transcripts, whether verbatim or timed ones, are supposed to be used as reference material to clear ambiguities up (poor pronunciation, overlapping lines, heavy background noise, etc.), they should never be used as source material, simply because they may also contain typos (worse if your client relied on some algorithm to do the whole file).

Now, directly translating timed subs from an SRT file implies that you'll tweak the translation to match standard compliance in line-splitting (it can differ greatly from source language) and adjust the timecodes one by one to ensure easy reading for your audience. This tweaking will in turn probably create overlapping issues and you may end up wasting more time in the process than you would have if you had simply started from scratch.

Merging all lines of the transcript into a single file to properly translate them is the absolute best way to ensure non-compliance to the very basic CPL rule, forcing you to not only split the lines from scratch but also to cut, rephrase and alter your oh-so-perfect translation to forcefully fit in your brand new timespan, Cinderella-style. Of course this translation will also merge all overlapping lines along with phrases purposefully split ("Are you not going to drink your tea? It's my special tea. My special tea. My specialty"), hiding important information that would be very obvious even from reading the non-merged transcript without the video.

If you really don't have the choice (you already agreed to do the project or you're using one of those online platforms stealing your work with your consent), try the first solution. Otherwise, do the real job. Now, that's just my take on this.


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Translate timed text or whole and timestamp later

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