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How do you subtitle video content?

By Josian Phillips, 

Global video content is on the rise and there are many reasons why you should consider subtitling your video content. You will increase your audience by a substantial degree. Subtitles are better for SEO and they lead to increased audience engagement and retention. However, if you are to really reap the benefits of video subtitles, you need to ensure you use a professional translation service.

While there is the option to simply use free, automatic translations, this is ill advised. Inaccuracies are almost certain when you go down this route which can negatively impact on your company image. Moreover, you will not take advantage of the huge SEO potential that is available to you if you do not use the assistance of experts. They will know exactly how to tailor your video subtitles so that it features as high up the search engine result pages as possible.

So how do you go about getting your video content translated and subtitled? Here it is explained in eight easy stages.

The eight stages of subtitling video content

  1. Determine your requirements
    The first thing you must do is determine the nature and the scope of the project. This includes everything from deciding on languages and your budget, to the way you want the subtitles to be presented. You need to have all of this ready for the process to go as smoothly as possible.
  2. Find a suitable translation company
    You need to find a credible translation company to give you the helping hand you require. This is not something you should rush into, and you should not simply source the cheapest company you can find. If you do this, you are almost certain to suffer a lack of quality. This is why it is important to choose a company that has a considerable amount of experience and a good reputation in the industry. It is recommended that you speak to the agency rather than deal with everything via email. This will either fill you with confidence that this is the right company for you, or alert you to red flags that will make you reconsider your options.
  3. Pre-production
    Once you have found the right translation company simply submit your video to them. If you do not have the written script don’t worry, they will transcribe the text from the video. If there are any other requirements that are specific to the project, the company will inform you of this during the initial conversation so they can gather everything they need.
  4. Translation
    Simply sit back and let the translation experts work their magic. It’s worth enquiring how long this is going to take beforehand so you have a realistic timescale for the project.
  5. Time coding
    Time coding is a pivotal part of the subtitling process. It is essentially the fine-tuning stage where sentence format is adjusted correctly and changes are made so that timing is perfect. This is the most difficult part of the process, as some languages take much longer to say things than others. It is all about getting the balance right between ensuring the original meaning is kept intact and giving the viewer plenty of time to read the subtitles. This is one of the main reasons why you need to hire a professional company for subtitle translation, otherwise your subtitles are likely to be way out of time, making it difficult for the viewer to follow.
  6. Quality assurance
    All of the best translation companies will conduct quality assurance. They will test the video with native speakers to ensure it is easy to read and understand.
  7. Subtitle delivery
    After you have approved the placement and style of the subtitles, you then have the option to have the subtitles burnt-in to the video or delivered in one of the available subtitle formats, such as .SCC and .SRT.
  8. Project delivery
    Last but not least, the project will be delivered to you. Again, the way in which you receive it will depend on the company you choose. Nevertheless, in most cases you will simply need to download the project via a link. However, the files could be posted on a hard drive and delivered to you in this manner if they are large.

If you’d like to discover more about our video translation services, please send us a message or call us on 01225 580770.

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