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What’s the difference between subtitling and translation?

Whilst there is a certain amount of overlap, there are a few major differences between the two.

Time coding

Straightforward translations do not normally require time coding. Some media translations do, for example when we translate a voice over or a transcription, but generally these are to be read out by a voice over artist and there are no constraints in terms of formatting or the number of words. When subtitling, time coding is one of the most important jobs and should be carried out by an experienced 'spotter'. We determine the start and end times by going through the footage frame by frame using professional subtitling software. Once all the in and out times have been set and the soundtrack has been transcribed, we need to make sure that the onscreen content and speech is rendered into two lines of 37 characters, and within the in and out time. This almost always means speech needs to be compressed, and it takes a skilled subtitler to do this efficienly without losing any meaning.

Delivery formats

Documents for translation can be supplied to us in common file formats such as Microsoft Word. You will receive them in the same format as you supplied them. If you need subtitles, we'll need the footage and we will deliver specific subitle files. We handle a variety of video and audio formats. You can upload your materials to an FTP. Please supply scripts if you have them as this will save money and time.

Delivery of subtitles

Broadcast and post production companies will require subtitles in particular subtitling formats that can only be generated by professional subtitling software. Media Lingo will can supply your subtitles in many standard subtitling formats.

So, if translation and subtitling are so different, why do we offer both?