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Have a video or an eLearning video course that needs subtitling? Make the most of your subtitles with subtitling services and these best practices.

 

Subtitling may seem like a straightforward video editing element but there is an art to subtitling, which means there are many good reason to have it done by a professional, especially if you require language translation services. Subtitling services are especially important if you have content that needs to be translated into another language as a subtitling translator can apply the best subtitling practices but can also ensure translation accuracy. 

Two girls in front of a subtitled screen

Subtitles can be found in a variety of video platforms such as business or academic content as well as in entertainment. – Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

 

What is Subtitling and When Do You Need It?

Subtitling is the accompanying written text or dialogue from a piece of video. The text is synchronized with a video segment and is concise enough to be read and understood in a short time. Subtitling can be used to add additional support to a video so that it can be viewed without sound or it can be used to provide content in a language that differs from the audio dialogue and content.  While subtitling is used in the entertainment industry with movies and TV shows, it is also used commercially, especially as businesses make use of visuals in their marketing and localization strategies. For example, eLearning localization has become more prominent on eLearning platforms as they expand to reach a wider global market. The use of video translation services is also being used more often within business websites as part of their global marketing strategies. 

Whether you need subtitles for a video on your website or for your eLearning platform, here are some of the best subtitling practices.

Subtitle Timing and Placement

As the images are just as relevant to the subtitles, the timing and position of the subtitles are very important. 

  • Subtitles need to appear and disappear as the words themselves are spoken but are also on-screen long enough to be read. Around 15-18 characters per second is a good standard.
  • If necessary, simplify the text to make it easier to read but always ensure to caption all important and relevant information. This is especially important within eLearning platform content.
  • Each subtitle should be one complete sentence, with no more than two on the screen at a time. With two sentences on the screen, the shortest one should generally be on top to minimize eye movement, prevent image overlay, and make it easier to read.
  • Synchronization and pauses in the sentences should occur naturally with the speech or when there is a natural change or pause in the course, content, or scene.
  • Font size is important. The font needs to be large enough to read with ease and the colour and contrast of the font also needs to align with the image background.
  • Subtitles are generally placed at the bottom centre of a video. This is to avoid it clashing with images and other word content on screen. The most important thing to consider is the subtitles clashing with the image or video content so positioning can be adjusted if necessary. 

Subtitle Meaning

Ensuring your subtitles capture the meaning from the original audio is even more important when translating into another language. 

  • Using a subtitle translator can ensure that you’re getting the best translation possible and that your subtitles capture the meaning of the content and not just the words. 

Subtitle Sounds

Video editing

Sounds and sometimes even silence are both important aspects of subtitling. – Photo by Matthew Kwong on Unsplash

 

The backgrounds sounds and noise in a video, while not part of a dialogue or speech, can be just as important to capture the meaning of the content. 

  • If dialogue or speech is inaudible a label should detail the cause.
  • Ie. The noisy crowd muffles speech
  • Sound effects, such as a car horn or a dog barking, should be enclosed in brackets and italicised.
  • Ie. (dog barking)

Subtitle Punctuation

The addition of punction and formating can help add clarity. 

  • If multiple people are speaking at the same time, add the names or descriptions of the person or character to identify the speakers
    • Ie. (Claire) You have got to be kidding me?
            (Steve) I told you so!
  • When subtitling a song or singing, it’s helpful to indicate that it is music with a music icon () at the beginning and end of the song.
    • Ie. Take a sad song, and make it better…

The Importance of Subtitling Services or a Subtitle Translator 

Video translation services are essential if you are localizing your video content or in the process of website localization to ensure consistency and quality in your content no matter what language it’s being presented in. Into23 offers quality video translation serviceseLearning translation, software localization services in any language your business requires. Our translators offer the highest quality translation with fast turnaround and delivery. Inquire about our subtitling services and get a free quote.