Are free subtitling softwares enough to match most client's needs?
Thread poster: Kévin Bénard

Kévin Bénard  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:45
English to French
Oct 15

Hello everyone,

My question is pretty much in the title: would a good open source subtitling software be enough to take on jobs from different clients potentially requiring files in different formats, a variety of tasks such as timecuing, recut, conform, or should I necessarily get one with a paid license for that?
I have been working with a company providing me with their own software GTS for two and a half years and I've only just started sending applications to more compani
... See more
Hello everyone,

My question is pretty much in the title: would a good open source subtitling software be enough to take on jobs from different clients potentially requiring files in different formats, a variety of tasks such as timecuing, recut, conform, or should I necessarily get one with a paid license for that?
I have been working with a company providing me with their own software GTS for two and a half years and I've only just started sending applications to more companies, meaning I will need to use something else. All I have been doing so far is timecuing and subtitling, with the occasional recut and SDH, with or without templates. As for supported files, I have no idea what other clients use as I only get .pmw files.

And for those of you who may have used GTS before, what do you think would be its closest cousin?

I would like some advice before I teach myself how to use a new software as I really don't have the time to try too many of them out at the moment...

Could anyone please help me out? Sorry in advance if I can't state my needs thoroughly; all of this may be vague as I have no experience of subtitling outside of the company I work for right now.
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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 08:45
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Aegisub Oct 16

You should be able to do just about anything with it.

 

Monica Paolillo
Italy
Local time: 01:45
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
My answer would be, "No they are not." Oct 16

Hello, Kévin. I'm an experienced subtitler and a subtitling team leader. In my experience, there is no such thing as a free software capable of handling all the scenarios that come up in the typical professional subtitling environment. I would strongly advise investing in professional software because it would look good in your CV and because it would give your client the peace of mind they require to trust you to do a good job. I recommend SubtitleNEXT, which is a very powerful tool and, in my... See more
Hello, Kévin. I'm an experienced subtitler and a subtitling team leader. In my experience, there is no such thing as a free software capable of handling all the scenarios that come up in the typical professional subtitling environment. I would strongly advise investing in professional software because it would look good in your CV and because it would give your client the peace of mind they require to trust you to do a good job. I recommend SubtitleNEXT, which is a very powerful tool and, in my opinion, quite affordable. Check out https://pbteu.com/products/subtitlenext/ Good luckCollapse


Jorge Payan
 

Michel Virasolvy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:45
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
Yes, they are in most cases Oct 16

I've been in the subtitling industry for well over a decade now and I lead a couple of translation teams for a good 7 years to process subtitling and close-captioning jobs intended for DVD releases, cinema distribution, VOD and (sic) Youtube channels. As far as I know only 2 clients demanded a delivery in a format that was proprietary to a particular subtitling software—now defunct. I took a peek at Ayato 3, EZTitles and Wincaps Q4 among various subtitling softwares. I'll be honest, in my ... See more
I've been in the subtitling industry for well over a decade now and I lead a couple of translation teams for a good 7 years to process subtitling and close-captioning jobs intended for DVD releases, cinema distribution, VOD and (sic) Youtube channels. As far as I know only 2 clients demanded a delivery in a format that was proprietary to a particular subtitling software—now defunct. I took a peek at Ayato 3, EZTitles and Wincaps Q4 among various subtitling softwares. I'll be honest, in my opinion, these do not justify a 3k€ investment at all. At my translation school, there even is a little club operating exactly like an agency for various clients and their main subtitling software is Aegisub.

A professional subtitler is not defined by their software. Learn and master the standards (which I assume you already know, but it's an absolute need for the reader who still hasn't), make yourself a proper portfolio of your previous clients and off you go contacting new clients while training on Subtitle Edit, Aegisub or any of these free sofwares that can cover the vast majority of your needs. You might indeed buy one or two of these proprietary softwares to handle the (insanely) rare "I only accept delivery in CAP format with sidecar files" client but you really don't have to. If you feel the need to reassure your clients about your skills, take the time to get a certified translation degree, it's much more reassuring than that "don't worry, I have a car therefore I can drive!" bias. Now, Global Titling System is an in-house subtitling software so you may have difficulties to find a real copy unless someone from SDI Media decides to sell you their license.

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
jonathannpereda wrote:
1) Is there a software (free or not) that could help me to speed up my work?


There is PLENTY of excellent freeware around for subtitling.
However the hidden cost of subtitling is skimpy guidance, no tech support, in other words, you must know what you are doing.
Also, it's not a matter of speeding up your work, but making it possible for you to accomplish some level of quality.
Quite frankly, this depends more on you than the software you use.

(source)

[Modifié le 2019-10-16 10:40 GMT]
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Monica Paolillo
Italy
Local time: 01:45
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Professional subtitling is not just about handling formats and being proficient in spotting... Oct 16

These two go without saying, in my opinion.

The point is whether you can guarantee speedy deliveries under all possible scenarios without impacting quality.

Just a few examples:

- Shot change detection is something that is really useful when you have clients with rigorous guidelines to meet about working around scene and shot changes
- The possibility to handle offsets easily and fast to adapt previously cued subs to new files that follow a different
... See more
These two go without saying, in my opinion.

The point is whether you can guarantee speedy deliveries under all possible scenarios without impacting quality.

Just a few examples:

- Shot change detection is something that is really useful when you have clients with rigorous guidelines to meet about working around scene and shot changes
- The possibility to handle offsets easily and fast to adapt previously cued subs to new files that follow a different timecoding
- Complex positioning and text format requirements
- Automatic subtitling guideline violation trackers also help a great deal when you work under time pressures (reading speed, character limits, frame intervals between subs and from shot changes)

The above are just a few of the typical challenges you have to face as a subtitler.

And I agree with you, a 3KEur investment might not be worth it, but that's why I pointed Kévin to SubtitleNEXT. Another good tool, if you use Mac instead of Windows, is Annotation Edit, which only costs Eur 250.00

Whenever I receive CVs from applicants mentioning free software, I just assume they are no professional subtitlers, but just regular *subtitle translators*


[Edited at 2019-10-16 11:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-10-16 11:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-10-16 11:33 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-10-16 11:33 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-10-16 11:34 GMT]
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Kévin Bénard  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:45
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 16

Thank you everyone for your replies, I think you all made very good points.
I have seen good reviews about SubtitleNEXT and downloaded Aegisub yesterday. A colleague recommended Wincaps. I was kind of expecting different opinions on the matter and I guess only time will tell. I'm considering teaching myself how to use a free software first before I make a decision and it sounds like a no-drawback option for now, as I'm lucky to be getting a steady amount of work from one company already.... See more
Thank you everyone for your replies, I think you all made very good points.
I have seen good reviews about SubtitleNEXT and downloaded Aegisub yesterday. A colleague recommended Wincaps. I was kind of expecting different opinions on the matter and I guess only time will tell. I'm considering teaching myself how to use a free software first before I make a decision and it sounds like a no-drawback option for now, as I'm lucky to be getting a steady amount of work from one company already.

Thanks again for your help and good luck everyone with your current and future projects

[Edited at 2019-10-16 12:49 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-10-16 12:50 GMT]
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