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Broadcasters accused of clumsy subtitles – should we be dubbing all films and television programmes?

Posted by Annemieke, August 27 2013

David Blunkett, Labour’s former home secretary, who was born blind, has accused broadcasters of providing a poor service to people with hearing and sight problems. He believes they are failing to deal with the issue of an ageing population suffering from blindness and deafness. He also said that the blind were left frustrated when foreign dramas and documentaries were not dubbed.

A spokesman for Ofcom said: "Viewers have made clear to us that they have concerns about the quality of subtitling. So we recently announced proposals to improve this, working with deaf and hearing impaired viewers and groups, as well as broadcasters. We expect to finalise our plans in the next few months."
In many countries, Italy and Germany in particular, the dubbing of foreign-language films is routine and comprehensive. In other countries, such as the Netherlands, most foreign films and programmes are subtitled.

Subtitling and dubbing each have their upsides and downsides. Dubbing tends to be more costly and some of the cultural nuances of the foreign film are lost, whilst subtitles often need to summarize the soundtrack rather than provide a full translation. Dubbing, when done well, can be less obtrusive whilst subtitles may help language learning.

In an ideal world, each viewer could choose to view any film or programmed either with subtitles or dubbed, but this is not (yet) realistic. At the moment, the main deciding factor appears to be a cultural one. Dubbing is regarded as annoying in the Netherlands, while the English tend to find subtitles distracting. But with an ageing population, people with hearing and sight impairments are becoming part of the mainstream, and the need for access to films and television programmes will only increase.

If you are planning a film, documentary of television programme and would like to find out more about subtitling, please get in touch. We would love to discuss your plans with you. Please call +31 (0)23 - 2024 723 or email

  Posted by Annemieke, August 27 2013
  Film and Television, Subtitling



Cheap subtitling: an expensive mistake?

Posted by Annemieke, August 12 2013

Subtitles should enable a foreign audience to enjoy and understand a film spoken in a different language whilst maintaining the integrity of the script. Of course, the translator might need to take some freedom when translating colloquial phrases, but the subtitler should stick to the intentions of the film maker without trying to add or change meaning.

The translator who subtitled the film Pacific Rim recently was widely considered to have strayed too far from the original script. In addition, the Chinese subtitles were criticised for the quality of their translation with suggestions that they were inaccurate and unprofessional. For example, the translation of the phrase "Elbow Rocket" (a fighting technique associated with the Jaizu of Pacific Rim) into "Pegasus Meteor fist" (a technique belonging to Saint Seiya, a completely different manga) caused considerable annoyance.

Situations such as these seem to occur when the importance of accurate, aesthetically pleasing subtitles is underestimated. This may mean subtitling is not factored into the time and cost budget, resulting in a rushed subtitling process and a set of subtitles of low quality which do not do the original film or the audience justice.

To avoid mistakes such as these, it is important to plan the subtitling cost and timescales into your project from the start as well as making sure the finished titles are proofread by a professional editor. If you would like to discuss your project or find out what we can do for you, please contact us on

  Posted by Annemieke, August 12 2013
  Film and Television, Languages, Proofreading, Subtitling, Translation



A new language born in outback Australia

Posted by Annemieke, July 25 2013

A new language has been born in outback Australia. It is called ‘Light Warlpiri’ and is only spoken by a small group of people under 35. The creation of the new language is thought to be linked to the remoteness of the town and is believed to have emerged in the 1970s and 1980s.

This is fantastic news for linguists. When we read in the newspaper about languages that are spoken by few people, in most cases the trend seems to be that languages are dying out. It is exciting to think that new languages are actually being born. The linguist who discovered the linguist is confident that it will survive, saying “Light Warlpiri seems quite robust”.

If you are in need of Light Warlpiri translation though, you may need to wait a while. As far as we are aware, there are no professional Light Warlpiri translators yet. We will keep you posted, of course!

  Posted by Annemieke, July 25 2013
  Languages, Subtitling



10% Off Translation and Subtitling in May and June

Posted by Annemieke, April 26 2013

Now is the time to get your website translated!

If you've been thinking about getting your website translated, now is the perfect time to do it. Media Lingo is offering 10% off your first translation order in May and June! This discount applies to all translations and subtitles that are translated into two or more languages.

Looking to expand your client base?

We have added information on our website about some of the languages we offer and the number of potential clients you can reach through each language.

Have a look on the website to see what we can do for you, and please contact us to discuss your requirements on +31 (0)23 - 2024 723 or

Kind regards,

Media Lingo

  Posted by Annemieke, April 26 2013
  Subtitling, Translation, Website Translation



What we’ve been up to at Media Lingo

Posted by Annemieke, April 21 2011

Wow, the new website is certainly doing its job. We’re receiving more quote requests than ever for our Multilingual SEO and Translation services, and we’re loving it. Over the last few weeks we’ve subtitled a Japanese corporate film, helped out a Dutch client with his Arabic DTP, and recorded a Chinese voice over for an online video production company. The client, David, wrote:

“I was really pleased. [The interpreter] has an excellent clear voice and was really good to work with. She'd also done a lot of preparation, which meant we've got a much better translation than the at-event simultaneous translation. Thanks for sorting this out for me. I felt like you took the problem away, so it's much appreciated!”

Well, that’s always great to hear. Right now we’re in the planning process of some major e-Commerce site translations, we’re about to move onto a new Project Management system to meet the growing demand more efficiently, and we’re always on the lookout for the best linguists out there with translation qualifications and experience, media expertise and a knack for media lingo.

If you’re looking to get your website translated or your corporate film subtitled, give us a call on +31 (0)23 - 2024 723 or email

I look forward to hearing from you!

Project Manager Media Lingo

  Posted by Annemieke, April 21 2011
  Languages, Recent Projects, Subtitling, Website Translation