Subtitles to a video? Why should I engage translators to perform this task? YouTube can do it automatically, they say. 😊 Indeed, companies often don’t understand why they should engage a professional contractor to make subtitles until they see the quality of automatic subtitles themselves. When recognizing speech, artificial intelligence does not hear everything correctly. Today, any automatic subtitles still need human proofreading.

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Any company may need video subtitling at any time. Sometimes it is translation of a training video. Quite often, these are corporate films or video records of webinars in which slides are provided in a foreign language, etc.

The work of the technical team of Task Force working with video subtitling in Kyiv and throughout Ukraine have several important issues that we are happy to tell you about.

First, subtitles and translation. They are inextricably linked things, because it is the translated text that is the basis of future subtitles. Of course, it must be good, without spelling and punctuation errors. Specialists at Task Force also clarify with the customer their preferences in respect of certain words in the translation (for example, You or you, product names, positions with or without a hyphen, etc.). When the speaker’s live speech is translated, it must also be adapted. That is, incomplete sentences, interjections, parasitic words, etc., must be removed in the translation. The exception is the subtitling of TV series and films, where all the nuances of the speech are transmitted, including interjections, parasitic words and swear words.

Secondly, the length of the text. For example, English is about 25% more capacious than Ukrainian. This means that when a video is subtitled, there will be 25% more Ukrainian words in the translation text. It is important that the translator and proofreaders know such features of languages and are concise so that the subtitles “fit” on the screen allocated to them.

Thirdly, the target language is very important. When a video is subtitled, for example, in Hebrew, it should be taken into account that this language is read from right to left, which means that an unprepared technical specialist can easily get confused and insert subtitles for the video in the wrong place. If captioning in a specific language is required, a translator of Task Force joins the work together with the technical specialist to help him to place the subtitles in the right places.

The complexity of the technical side of making subtitles, of course, cannot be compared with nuclear physics, but it also has its own nuances. One of them is the need to insert timecodes. These are marks showing which text is spoke in a particular second. The shorter the timecode interval, the easier it is for the technical specialist to arrange titles.

In accordance with our business processes at the Task Force translation agency, we transcribe video material into text, which then is translated. Sometimes companies ask to translate videos directly from voice, but this approach has its disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that if the customer is confused about something in the translation sent for approval, it will be more difficult to check the correctness of the translation, since it will be necessary to check it against the original video rather than the transcribed text. In addition, when translating directly from voice, some translators will consider such work as interpreting and invoice the cost at several times higher than for preparing the captions of the original video and translating these captions into the target language.

Contact Task Force translation agency if you need to lay subtitles for videos both in Kyiv and anywhere in Ukraine or the world. Globalization is our everything. We will be happy to help you.

Translation company — translations of any complexity. Translation and interpreting services. Certification. Notarization. Apostille and document legalization.

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03057, Kiev, st. V. Getmana, 6a

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