How do you translate fair videos?
Thread poster: Rudoline

Rudoline
Germany
Local time: 11:29
Jul 19, 2013

Hello everyone,

i am currently assigned to establish a process on how to translate videos of fairs or exhibitions efficiently and with a high quality.
The problem with these kind of videos is that there is no script for the spoken text and therefore this spoken text can not be translated so easy.

We translated our last videos as following:
1. Transcribe the spoken german text
2. Translation from german into english
3. Editing the written text into a right spoken english text
4. Giving the text to a studio where a native speaker speaks the text.

This process took a lot of time and didn't have a very good result.

My idea is now to employ an english native interpreter with very good german skills who can translate the spoken german into spoken english. His translation is going to be recorded and given to a professional speaker.

Does anyone have experience with these kind of translations? And does the idea with the interpreter make sense?

Thank for your help.

[Edited at 2013-07-22 11:18 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:29
English to German
+ ...
Grieß nach Brusel! :-) Jul 22, 2013

Rudoline wrote:
We translated our last videos as following:
1. Transcribe the spoken german text
2. Translation from german into english
3. Editing the written text into a right spoken english text
4. Giving the text to a studio where a native speaker speaks the text.



You must be kidding.

Of course you do a transcription of the spoken text. That's a good job for a secretary. Then you hire an experienced translator to translate the German into English. The experienced translator will take care that the length of the translation will match the video according to your request - voice-over or synchronized. This translator will clock each and every take before delivery, and all takes will be ready for the voice artist at the recording studio.

So. Why on earth do you need to "edit" "written text" into "right spoken" English text? Is this the "Brusel-method"? icon_smile.gif



My idea is now to employ an english native interpreter with very good german skills who can translate the spoken german into spoken english. His translation is going to be recorded and given to a professional speaker.


Please don't make it worse and please hire a professional...


 

Rudoline
Germany
Local time: 11:29
TOPIC STARTER
Can an interpreter translate videos? Jul 23, 2013

I am not kidding. Unfortunately, I havn't seen a perfect translation even from a professional translator.

Last time we did the transcription and gave the text to our translators, the translation didn't sound like good english. Usually you don't speak the way you write and therefore we had to rewrite the text which took us about three days since one couldn't really understand the translation.
In the end we needed the text only for the recording studio.

My question again, is there another way to translate these kind of videos and why do I need a transcription? Couldn't an interpreter just translate, we record his translation and then give this recording to a professional recording studio?


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 17:29
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
At least in my language Jul 23, 2013

This is how I would expect to offer my service as a translator with transcription and subtitling skills, although I have no idea whether this is industry standard.

Essentially this would be similiar to a subtitling job, and the end product would be quite close to what I would be producing on a subtitle case: Translated text/script (in this case in English) with timeline indicating starting and end points for spoken segments, preferably clearly indicating the speaker where possible. Since you seem to care about the quality of your end product, you will then hire a checker to watch the video and proofread the script.

The rates in this case would be similiar to subtitle cases as well for both the translator and proofreader, and ideally you would want to hire a translator with subtitling experience. Obviously it should be higher than translating plain text because of the extra work involved in producing timeline, and it should be higher than the rates for a pre-produced TV program/movie because of the absence of a script to refer to.

Every translator/checker whose hands the case goes through should have access to the video, because context absolutely matters, especially if there are multiple speakers.


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:29
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I don't think an interpreter would work Jul 23, 2013

but a properly briefed translator/transcreator/copywriter should.

I have managed multilingual promotional videos before and I feel that the job of creating the different language versions is perhaps less of a translation job and more of a transcreation/copywriting job.

After all, what you want to end up with is a set of videos in different languages that say the same thing and present the same ideas and, crucially, sound natural in the language they are in. Am I right in thinking that?

Ideally, you wouldn't want to end up with, say, an English translation of the German, but a text that works in English and German to convey the same idea.

A consecutive interpreter in my mind works for situations where someone is speaking and someone else needs to understand what this person is saying but not necessarily for this kind of situation, which requires marketing/copywriting skills, which in turn requires the use of the right (well-researched) words. You don't in this instance want the English listeners to understand what the German voice is saying but you want the English listeners to feel the same way about whatever you're promoting as the German listeners do.
(When I say "English" or "German" I mean English speakers and German speakers, not necessarily the nationalities btw).

I think that the process should go like this:

1) transcribe the spoken German (this is an administrative/secretary's job)
2) provide the German text to a translator/transcreator with a clear brief. Pay this person well and allow this person to ask any questions required. Communication is key.
3) Ask the transcreator to do the voiceover or get a voiceover artist to speak the text produced.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:29
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, I think the order of the procedures for translating video clips and movies from the first post Jul 23, 2013

is right. First the spoken text has to be transcribed by someone who can catch the slightest nuances of the original text -- in most cases someone absolutely fluent in the source language, exposed to it on an everyday basis. You can perhaps have it transcribed by a court reporter, or a really professional German secretary. It might be quite expensive -- something like $600 for one hour of audio or video. Then you can have it translated by a professional translator. Then adjusted for the movie by some movie editors -- the time codes have to be fixed so they go with the mouth movements. Then someone can just read it -- anyone whose language and voice you like for that type of a video.

Sometimes an interpreter (a conference interpreter) might be able to do all the steps at once --skipping the transcription part, but it is a little bit risky. You may save some money this way, but some words and phrases may get lost.


 

tinageta  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:29
English to Latvian
+ ...
The obvious answer Jul 23, 2013

Rudoline wrote:

Last time we did the transcription and gave the text to our translators, the translation didn't sound like good english. Usually you don't speak the way you write and therefore we had to rewrite the text which took us about three days since one couldn't really understand the translation.



Instead of trying to save a penny here and there, hire a good, professional translator*! You might end up saving more in the end.

*A translator whose translation "one couldn't really understand" is not a good translator.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I was puzzled... Jul 23, 2013

... about what could be a "fair video". Nicole got me the answer.

Nicole Schnell wrote:

You must be kidding.

Please don't make it worse and please hire a professional...


As I don't translate from/into German, I can't even speak it, this is not advertising. I have been translating video for dubbing since 1987, and for subtitling since 2004. If I still get frequent requests to do it between EN-US and PT-BR , maybe I am a professional. You should look for someone who does it EN-DE.

You may watch a few of my samples - downgraded to spare bandwidth - on this page to see what it should look like. Incidentally, I didn't get a script for any of all these.

If you are in doubt on whether it is better to dub or to sub a video, be my guest to read this page for some thoughts.


 

Rudoline
Germany
Local time: 11:29
TOPIC STARTER
I see, an interpreter might not be the best solution... Jul 24, 2013

Thank you everyone for your comments. They were very helpful!

@Marie-Helene:
Thank you, you pretty much understood exactly what I meant. The translated english text sounded like a translation and not like something a native english speaker would say. I will consider the transcreation option.

@Jose Henrique:
Thank you to you too. I have seen your work and I have red your article about dubbing or subtitling a video.
For your understanding. We are a big company with locations everywhere in the world. Once a year we have a big fair in Germany where our new products are presented by the product manager to the public. In order to keep our locations up-to-date we recorded these presentations and had them translated into english. This way our employees are informed.

I will suggest to my colleagues to use a translator/transcreator to translate these videos including transcription... . Would you recommend to subtitle videos with a e.g. product manager speaking and to dubb videos containing power point presentations or screencasts?


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:29
Russian to English
+ ...
Professional is also a vague term Jul 24, 2013

It does not have to mean good -- originally the word professional was just used to describe someone who works for money, rather than volunteers, and has the right education to perform his or her job.

I think transcription will make it much easier to translate. It depends on the type of the video, but usually a translator is not allowed to fix anything in the original video -- if certain parts are ambiguous, they have to stay ambiguous, if the grammar is off -- it has to be redenred the same way when translating it.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Suggestions Jul 24, 2013

Rudoline wrote:
Once a year we have a big fair in Germany where our new products are presented by the product manager to the public. In order to keep our locations up-to-date we recorded these presentations and had them translated into english. This way our employees are informed.

I will suggest to my colleagues to use a translator/transcreator to translate these videos including transcription... . Would you recommend to subtitle videos with a e.g. product manager speaking and to dubb videos containing power point presentations or screencasts?


Rudoline, give those points I raise on my dub x sub article a thought and take the chance to read this one too, very useful in your case, and which addresses the "professional" issue as Lilian remarked.

If it's just a talking head, you can subtitle it. Cheaper, and those who understand the original language - even with some limitations - will have additional input. If it's a talking had with PPT-like slides, you may have these slides neatly edited into the video later. See this page for an idea on how it's done.

If there is action to be seen, your presenter will be showing products, what they do, how they work, what they look like, then go for dubbing. Your spectators will have more time to see all that if they are not busy reading subtitles.

If you have some people ad-libbing, giving their unrehearsed opinions, statements, whatever on camera, it's better to subtitled them. Dubbing here is very tricky, and tends to detract from credibility, as nobody will know what was actually said. I mean it's very easy to dub ACME sucks! into ACME rocks!, if you catch my drift.

A competent video translator will work directly from the audio. A transcript will help if the sound is bad, or if there are proper nouns hard to research. Having your product manager review it between translation and subtitling or dubbing is an excellent idea. There is more recommended reading here.

Last by not least: In spite of my DE-sounding surname, I cannot help you with German, as I'll have no idea on what's going on there. You'll have to find one or more people to do the same things that I do between English and Portuguese. I am sure there should be many.


 

Tim Friese  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:29
Member (2013)
Arabic to English
+ ...
You want a translator and not an interpreter Jul 24, 2013

Marie-Helene Dubois wrote:

1) transcribe the spoken German (this is an administrative/secretary's job)
2) provide the German text to a translator/transcreator with a clear brief. Pay this person well and allow this person to ask any questions required. Communication is key.
3) Ask the transcreator to do the voiceover or get a voiceover artist to speak the text produced.


A good translator could work from the German audio, but a good translator costs a lot of money. To save money, consider getting the video transcribed by any experienced monolingual German (and the transcript checked). This is optional if the audio is quite clear, with little noise and no people talking over each other.

Marie-Helene Dubois wrote:

but a properly briefed translator/transcreator/copywriter should.


"Properly briefed" is the key word here. Generally my most difficult decisions and my most difficult projects are ones where I don't understand the purpose of the translation, the intended audience, etc. Tell your translator what exactly you plan on doing and they will be able to work better and faster.

Good luck with the project!


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Apparently neither a translator nor an interpreter Jul 24, 2013

Tim Friese wrote:

You want a translator and not an interpreter
A good translator could work from the German audio, but a good translator costs a lot of money. To save money, consider getting the video transcribed by any experienced monolingual German (and the transcript checked). This is optional if the audio is quite clear, with little noise and no people talking over each other.


Translator = written L1 > written L2
Interpreter = spoken L1 > spoken L2 (and often vice-versa too)

Video translator = spoken L1 > written L2, specifically:
a) full script; or
b) for subtitling; or
c) for dubbing.

"Costs a lot of money" is relative. In most cases it's cheaper (and better, in terms of output quality) to get it directly done by a specialist in any of a/b/c above than doing it into one of them, and having it converted into another.

The exception is when you need it done on the same video into a bunch of different languages. Then a different process - involving transcription and spotting - may be more economical.


Case (a): If you'll distribute the translated script in written text, it will indeed come out cheaper by hiring a monoglot transcriptionist into written L1, and then a text translator into written L2.

Case (b): A subtitling translator will work mostly on conciseness, and using the speaker breaks to break the subtitles accordingly.

Case (c): A dubbing translator will work mostly on developing a text that a trained voice artist can sync to the original speech, so the audience will get the impression that the original speech was delivered in L2.

It's easy to realize that these three outputs will be quite different.


Believe me, dubbing is not merely recording the translation spoken aloud over the original recording. Once I had to dub a two-line utterance, and it's not something an amateur can easily do.


 


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