If you have any kind of social media, you have seen them: The perfectly timed little subtitles at the bottom of all the videos. But have you ever wondered how they are created?
An interview with the Translation Engineering team leader Chris at EVS Translations in Atlanta revealed the steps behind the process of when we get tasked with subtitle creation:
At first, the video has to be transcribed of course, which means that one of our experts writes down every single word spoken on screen. For this, there is a ratio of about 1 to 10, so for every minute of video, it takes about 10 minutes of transcription. During this process, the Translation Engineers also tag the text with rough time stamps and names to give the team an approximate idea of when the text will correspond with the words. This is the most labor-intensive part of the process, and once it is done it is proofread by a native speaker to catch punctuation mistakes and correct grammar errors that could possibly skew the speaker’s message. To adhere to the client’s standards, we use either internal or client-generated style guides for capitalization, number formats, job titles and company divisions during the transcription.
If the client asked for a translation of the subtitles as well, now is the time that would take place, but if the client asked for pure subtitling, then, in a subtitling software, words and text are matched as accurately as down to the millisecond. This ensures that the subtitles don’t start until the speaker’s mouth is actually moving. To make the subtitles also visually pleasant and easy to read, the Translation Engineering team makes sure to break sentences at natural points, while a waveform generated by the software also helps the team gain precise control over when a subtitle will appear on screen. Now the text is proofread by another native speaker.
Depending on what the client wants, the Translation Engineers can either return the video with closed captions, meaning the subtitles are returned as a separate SRT file that can be added to the video if so desired, or with open captions, which means the subtitles are burned into the video and won’t be editable anymore. Both of these approaches have different advantages, depending on what you might be looking for. If the video is returned with open captions, for example, the subtitles are guaranteed to look the same, no matter where they are presented (website, live seminar, etc.), while the closed captions leave the client open to edit the subtitles in case they reshoot parts of the video and need to adapt the subtitles or make other edits.
Now the file is ready to be returned to the customer! What do you say; are you interested in our subtitling services? Contact us now to find out more!