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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



Subtitle site “Undertexter” raided by police

Posted by Annemieke, July 10 2013

A Swedish subtitle website,, which used to provide online subtitles for existing movies has lost its servers in a police raid today. The site’s founders are also facing up to two years in prison.

Last year, the owner of a site offering a similar service, Norsub, was warned that his site was breaking the law. He shut it down shortly after the warning was issued and he was fined £1,640. It appears that, although Sweden used to be a country where users could share files online freely, recently companies in Hollywood are cracking down hard on online subtitling sharing in an effort to protect their intellectual property. Their argument is that websites such as Undertexter are profiting from the work of others.

The site’s founder, Eugen Archy, said: “The people who work on the site don’t consider their own interpretation of dialog to be something illegal, especially when we’re handing out these interpretations for free,”. Undertexter’s added on their Facebook page “Hollywood... we will never give up, we live in a free country and Swedish people have every right to publish their own interpretation of a movie/series”.

Ernesto van der Sar is the editor of the Torrentfreak news site. He told the BBC: “"These subtitles are created by the most passionate fans the industry has and they are not in any way out to make a profit, these sites exist because they offer a service to the deaf and foreign language audience that's often lacking through legal channels."

Although it is fantastic that passionate film fans want to make movies available to the deaf and foreign language audiences, this type of subtitling is harmful to the film and subtitling industries. Whilst these subtitles are created by film enthusiasts, they are almost never checked by professional subtitlers or translators. Lack of editing and proofreading inevitably results in a lower standard of the subtitles from both a linguistic and a stylistic point of view, which can and often does detract from an otherwise well-made movie. This does injustice to both the original movie as well as the subtitling profession.

Additionally, in the longer term the trend to online ‘free’ subtitling could force professional subtitlers out of their job and lead to declining quality levels in the subtitling profession. Being a professional subtitler takes time, effort and money. The technical challenges are just the start. The art of subtitling requires the linguist to be able to successfully render speech into two lines of 37 characters without losing any of the directors’s intention or nuances in the script, whilst ensuring that the text flows so naturally that it does not detract from the viewer’s experience. This is a job best handled by professionals.

  Posted by Annemieke, July 10 2013



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



How to boost foreign sales: Multilingual SEO

Posted by Annemieke, December 13 2012

So you have decided to expand your business abroad, and to start by having your website translated. An understandable strategy and one that will certainly get some results.

However, to future-proof your multilingual site and optimise traffic, you need to consider multilingual SEO. Even before starting on the translation of your website, it is essential to research your target market properly to avoid wasting time on having to re-write your copy later on. Conducting Multilingual SEO research ensures that all your copy and link-building efforts support your sales strategy.

Media Lingo generally takes your existing keywords as a starting point for multilingual SEO research. We then determine the goals and objectives for your foreign language site. We then start our research, taking into consideration the following factors when researching the best keywords for your website:

  • Keyword search volumes for similar, alternative and competing terms
  • Long tail keywords vs short tail keywords
  • Expected conversion rates and ROI for each keyword (particularly relevant when tying in with PPC)
  • Competitor keyword strategy

We can then help you implement the identified keyword in the Multilingual SEO strategy in the following areas:

  • Creating multilingual sitemap and navigation structure
  • Creating multilingual URL structure and anchor text for all pages
  • Meta data optimisation targeting keywords as identified in multilingual SEO research including descriptions, keyword strings and page titles
  • Localising source copy in line with multilingual SEO strategy
  • Localising Alt texts for all images
  • We will ensure that landing pages tie in perfectly with PPC campaigns and Organic search results
  • Localisation of blog posts, press releases and articles
  • Submit your blogs and press releases to the relevant directories and companies in your target market.

Media Lingo will supply the list of keywords with their variants and back-translations for future reference.

  Posted by Annemieke, December 13 2012
  Multilingual SEO, Translation, Website Translation



Multilingual SEO & PPC – What you need to know

Posted by Annemieke, October 16 2012

A recent survey suggests that over half of all companies rely on machine or automatic translation to translate their keywords to be used for their PPC campaigns and in their SEO strategy. This is a worrying number, because this strategy is unlikely to get you the results you’re after – if any at all.

Whilst automatically translating your SEO keywords can certainly be a good start to get a feel for search volumes for certain brand terms in foreign languages, it is not a good idea to rely on machine translation to translate your keywords. To give you an example, whilst in English the word Property is a very important keyword for many real estate companies, the direct translation for this word receives little traffic from most other languages.

The trick is to find the best equivalent that correctly translates the services and products you are optimising for, whilst taking into consideration the target market you are aiming at. The best equivalent will also depend on whether you are aiming for “long tail keyword” search traffic or not and what your competitors are optimising for.

Therefore, you need to carry out target market research first and clearly define your goals and objectives within that market. It is important to look at what competitors are offering and optimising for, and to get an overview of the keyword search volumes and ROI for each keyword. Once you know which products or services you want to optimise for, you then need to define the keywords and update your landing pages and onsite copy accordingly. Media Lingo can help you with each of these steps and will ensure you work with a relevant list of keywords that will get you the results you’re after. We can then localise your onsite copy for you as well to really boost your performance abroad.

Give us a call on +31 (0)23 - 2024 723 or email for more information about how we can help you.

  Posted by Annemieke, October 16 2012
  Free Translation, Machine Translation, Multilingual SEO, Translation, Website Translation



How pro bono translation can lead to paid work

Posted by Annemieke, August 08 2011

CAWN, a small international NGO based in London, carried out a funded research project on violence against women and asked Media Lingo to translate the report into Spanish. When Media Lingo, a subtitling and translation company in Kent, asked their network of Spanish translators if they would be willing to help out with the translation of the 60-page Toolkit for Intersecting Violences, almost 40 linguists were keen to get involved. The work was divided over nine translators with expert knowledge of the subject and proofread by local volunteers at CAWN in South-America. The charity gave the translators feedback and acknowledged their work in the translated version, which in turn has led to more work for the volunteers involved.

Pro Bono translations cost the charity or NGO nothing, however translators who undertake pro bono work are generally looking for two things. There's the feel-good factor, the satisfaction one gets from putting his or her skills to good use and helping groups of people or charities who are in need of help. The other rewards pro bono translators are looking for relate to professional development, recognition and recommendations.

Pro bono translation work is becoming a popular way to enter the translation profession. The subject matter is often interesting, the charity usually provides useful feedback and references, and translators work together in teams where they can make valuable connections. References are particularly important for freelancers starting out in the translation industry, because prospect clients are normally unable to judge the work a translator has done previously. A good reference from an NGO can just give the freelancer's career the boost it needs.

Media Lingo plans to carry out more pro bono translations to help charities and provide valuable feedback and experience for translators. It points out that pro bono translation is not to be confused with free translation. “Free translation refers to the use of automated tools. In our opinion, no self-respecting translation company would offer so-called free translation. Just as a Michelin-star chef wouldn’t serve up boil-in-the-bag coq au vin, a translation company that is serious about producing high-quality translation would not recommend free translation”, says Annemieke de Bruin, Managing Director of Media Lingo.

Media Lingo is a translation and subtitling company based in Royal Tunbridge Wells. It was incorporated in 2009 and is growing quickly thanks to the unique mix of services offered. Dealing with one company that offers both translation and subtitling under one roof is especially beneficial for companies in the media industry, who need text and website translation as well as video subtitles, because it ensures consistency across all communications and allows for quicker turnaround and a more efficient service.

  Posted by Annemieke, August 08 2011
  Free Translation, Press Release, Pro Bono Translation, Recent Projects, Translation



Thanks to the Pro Bono translators who volunteerd for CAWN!

Posted by Annemieke, June 29 2011

We have just finished the translation of a 48-page booklet for Central America Women’s Network (CAWN) from English into Spanish. A large number of translators offered their time and services for this cause, and we put together a team of nine volunteers who did an amazing job in a short space of time.

A big thank you to these translators:

  • Suani Vera
  • Laura Miguez
  • Virginia Muñoz Bermúdez
  • Ioana Basterra López
  • Mariela Gonzalez
  • Ana Mattioli
  • Aldana Michelino
  • Iballa López Hernández
  • Ana Clara Pergamo

Thank you all. The English and the Spanish version are available on

  Posted by Annemieke, June 29 2011
  Free Translation, Pro Bono Translation, Recent Projects, Translation



Communications Intern - Spanish Translations (unpaid internship)

Posted by Annemieke, March 07 2011

The Oxfam International (OI) Communications team is looking for an enthusiastic Spanish translations intern.  You will be a native Spanish speaker, and have English and preferably French language skills, proven organizational and time management skills and strong communication skills, translations experience will be highly regarded.  Please note that this is an unpaid internship.

Internship Profile

Location:  Oxfam International Secretariat, Oxford, UK
Department:  Brand & Communications

Internship Purpose

To provide translation support to the Brand and Communications team in the form of ongoing tasks and projects within the Oxfam International Secretariat office based in Oxford.  The projects will bring you into contact with the national Oxfam affiliate organisations and various personnel with a communications role.

Key Responsibilities

The Communications intern will support the Communications team with high-quality translation for the day-to-day tasks serviced by the Secretariat.

The internship will involve a range of the following activities to support internal and external communications, both verbal and written. Oxfam International produces all core materials in our three core languages; English, Spanish and French.

• Translating items for the Oxfam International Website including blogs, twitter posts, press releases and media briefings.
• Translating material and ensuring that the meaning of the source text is retained, alongside proofreading and editing final translated versions.
• Using specialist language and developing glossaries.
• Assisting with specific meetings, following the process from planning through to the meeting conclusion and outputs with regards to translation and administrative requirements.
• Working with the wider translations network within Oxfam International (French and Spanish web editors) and affiliates to ensure that the translations process is effective and efficient.
• Supporting the Secretariat to maintain the translations area on the intranet, updating and contributing to the translations group processes.
• Help ensure consistency within Oxfam translations.
• Assisting the team with other projects as required, this will include translating one off documents, e.g. the Oxfam Annual Report, Humanitarian reports.
• Answering general email enquiries (French and Spanish).
• Updating the general enquiries FAQ’s.

There is also opportunity to contribute to new projects the comms team are working on. You are expected to develop a good understanding of the main focuses of the organization and the processes which support out work.

The post-holder will work to a specific workplan and objectives and there will be regular opportunities to discuss progress against these.

Key competencies

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
• Native Spanish speaker, a good standard of English, and French is preferable.
• Accuracy, consistency and attention to detail.
• Proven organisational and time management skills.
• Familiarity with IT programs, including Lotus Notes, and Microsoft packages; Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Knowledge of CMS desirable. • Ability to work both autonomously and as part of a team.
• Previous translation experience is highly desirable.
• Any additional languages would be highly desirable.

This is a six-month (part-time or full-time) voluntary unpaid internship.

The post-holder must be eligible to do unpaid work in the UK.

To apply please send your CV (MS Word format) and covering email

Closing Date:   21 March 2011, 17:00 GMT (GMT +00:00) (GM +00:00)

  Posted by Annemieke, March 07 2011
  Internships, Languages, Pro Bono Translation, Translation



Welsh Translation + Multilingual DTP

Posted by Annemieke, February 11 2011

We recently translated a brochure from English into Welsh for the Researchers in Residence scheme (funded by RCUK with support from the Wellcome Trust). The client also used our multilingual DTP-service.


To find out more about our Multilingual DTP services, please call +31 (0)23 - 2024 723 or email

  Posted by Annemieke, February 11 2011
  Languages, Multilingual DTP, Proofreading, Translation, Welsh Translation



Interpreting for Jack Black at Blenheim Palace

Posted by Annemieke, February 10 2011

Media Lingo was recently asked to interpret at Blenheim Palace, for a number of families at the 'Gulliver's Games' event organized by Sublime promotions for 20th Century Fox.

The Media Lingo team consisted of four interpreters: Ilaria Feltre (Italian), Jana Kohl (German), Claudio Elgueta (Spanish) and Annemieke de Bruin (Dutch). We worked all day and evening in the sunny but freezing cold weather, interpreting for families from all over Europe who had been lucky enough to win a trip to the beautiful Oxfordshire palace.

"You were punctual, efficient and provided a great service and I was very happy!"
(Matthew Loader, Sublime Promotions)

Jana interpreting for Jack Black:

Ilaria interpreting for Jack Black:

Ilaria interpreting for the Fox crew:

  Posted by Annemieke, February 10 2011
  Interpreting, Recent Projects, Translation