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Best Practices and Guidelines for Subtitles

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.

Top 6 emerging translation trends of 2022

What types of marketing translation trends are becoming prominent in 2022? Here’s what to expect for the remainder of the year.

Content translation services have seen a massive increase in demand, with much of this growth being linked to the internet, the pandemic, our global expansion and uses of technology. The market worth of this industry has grown and is looking to grow further in 2022 as the pandemic has slowly stabilised and more people and places of business took their work and education online and have kept it there. 

What has driven growth in the translation industry in 2022?

Man in pjs

The pandemic saw more people working from home and increased online spending. – Photo by Thirdman

The biggest driver behind the growth of the translation industry has been the increased need for people to access information in different languages and cultures, coinciding with the growth of technology and our reliance on it. Technology has made it possible for people to communicate in meaningful ways across the globe in various formats and languages, which became increasingly important during the pandemic. Language translation technology has also come a long way, making it faster and more accessible for people and businesses to get what they need.

While translation solutions come in many forms, depending on your business or need, these areas are some of the most noticeable upward trends of 2022. They are relevant aspects to consider if you’re looking to expand globally. 

Multilingual customer support

Chatbot

Trends show that people prefer to contact companies via messaging apps when looking for support. – Photo by mohamed_hassan

If you have a platform that has been localized for customers, you’ll also need multilingual customer service support. As more people use their phones for everyday tasks, from emails to banking, these services must be provided and serviced in the customer’s language. The same goes for customer support. Today, 67% of consumers expect to be able to message or chat with a business when they need support. As this number is likely to increase, businesses that want to continue to reach their customers globally must consider multilingual customer support in their localization strategies. A marketing translation agency can provide support and resources in multiple languages to help fortify an existing localization strategy or start a new one. 

Increased use of machine translation post-editing

Machine translation has become an essential part of the translation industry and is a trend that has continued upward for several years. 

What is machine translation post-editing?

Machine translation is when you enter content into an automated software translation tool, and the machine converts it into the target language. Google translate is the most well-known machine translator that most of us use in our daily lives. However, the results of these machine translations alone vary drastically in terms of accuracy and are not sufficient enough to be used in business for a variety of reasons.

Related: Why Google translate isn’t effective enough for business

The post-editing portion comes after the machine translation. A professional translator will go over the machine translation and compare it to the original text to get the most accurate translation. Machine translation post-editing is desirable for businesses and marketing translation as it offers a quick turnaround at a lower cost.  

The machine translation market has been steadily increasing and is anticipated to reach 230.67 million USD by 2026. 

Increase usage of eLearning platforms

Woman wearing a mask

The pandemic changed our lives, but one of the largest impacts was felt in the education sector. – Photo by Edward Jenner

The pandemic may have kept us at home the last few years, but eLearning platforms kept us learning and connected. Forbes estimates that by 2025, the eLearning sector could be worth as much as USD 355 billion dollars. As the business and education sectors looked towards online learning tools and software to maintain a global reach, the videos, courses and quizzes also needed to be updated and translated for global audiences. This newfound flexibility offers benefits to businesses, educators and students as people can work and learn on their own time from the comfort of a home or café. eLearning and eLearning translation shows no signs of slowing and will continue to increase in demand as more and more people and businesses maintain a work/study from home approach. 

Businesses using media localization

Two different types of media are trending right now, podcasts and videos. Podcasts are now being used for business, pleasure, and education and have seen a large rise in listeners, especially considering they’ve only been around for two decades. It is estimated that there will be around 424.2 million podcast listeners worldwide in 2022 and that podcasts will be a USD 94.88 billion industry by 2028.

Videos are also an essential part of today’s media market. In 2019 alone, the average person’s video consumption was 84 minutes daily. Enter the pandemic, and by 2021 that average was nearly 100 minutes per day. Now we’re in the beginning part of 2022, and video streaming and downloads are anticipated to account for 82% of the global internet traffic. A study done by Wyzowl found that 81% of businesses now create at least some video content. Point of fact, if you’re not using videos in your business marketing materials, you should be. 

With the impressive rise of both video and podcast consumption, the need for localization, such as audio transcription services, multilingual voice-over services, or subtitling services, becomes necessary for going global and is a trend that will continue well past 2022. 

Subtitles have become a must

As previously mentioned, videos are currently making up the majority of consumer internet traffic. To make business ads, videos, and video courses more accessible for everyone, subtitles have become essential. 

Even outside of any language or subtitle translation, many of the videos people consume on social media are often viewed on mute, meaning that if a video doesn’t have subtitles, it’s more likely to be skipped and scrolled past. Subtitles have become a required feature for views and impressions, even when the language hasn’t been changed.  

Further, if you do require language translation for a video to reach new audiences, subtitling is generally more affordable than dubbing and is just as effective in reaching your target audiences. 

Multilingual SEO strategies 

By now, it’s obvious that the biggest trend is the translation and localization of businesses in general. This is an upward trend that was growing even before the pandemic. Going global means having an online presence and reaching and connecting to audiences in new and meaningful ways with technology. While website localization is becoming more common, it is often an afterthought. Businesses are now opting to create a multilingual SEO strategy from the get-go so that their business content and practices are aligned with their global goals from the start.

What is a multilingual SEO strategy?

It is the practice of optimizing your SEO in more than one language. This includes everything from websites, eCommerce platforms, video content, social media, customer support and more. The best way to develop a multilingual SEO strategy is to work with a translation project management company that offers multilingual translation services and marketing translations. This ensures an effective strategy that is aimed at a specific target audience and ensures effective use of your business’s resources along with a quality translation that showcases the values and goals of your business. 

Into23 offers quality translation solutions for all major global languages to help your business enter any global market. Bring your business into 2022 and beyond with our transparent and quality language solutions. Contact us today for a free quote to start your global journey.

6 Creative ways to update your eLearning courses

eLearning voiceover

Image byTumisu on Pixabay

eLearning courses fit perfectly in today’s modern world and in comparison to traditional learning, eLearning has substantial benefits to both learners and employers. Students who take online courses have graduation rates that are 9% to 21% higher than students in a traditional education setting. Further, the use of eLearning for companies shows that when employees take eLearning training their retention rates increased by 25% to 65%. It’s apparent that eLearning has become an essential way of continuing education and skills in the 21st century but like all technology, to stay relevant and successful, eLearning courses and platforms need to be updated regularly.

Why you need to update your eLearning courses?

eLearning translation

Image by MUJU_pixel by Pixabay

eLearning content needs to stay up to date to stay relevant, this includes not only technological features but context and tone as well. Dated aesthetics or content won’t hold the attention of a young learner and to make a course successful they need to be catered to the modern generation.

In 2017, Adobe announced that it would stop supporting flash with a phase-out that started in 2020. The majority of eLearning courses in the early and mid-2000s were once built with Flash but now HTML5 is generally the standard used in many eLearning courses which also makes courses mobile friendly. The best eLearning platforms made this transition as soon as possible and the companies that missed out on updating their eLearning software found themselves with courses that their learners could no longer use.

Certified Elearning tranlation

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

If you’re overdue for a revamp of your eLearning courses here are six areas to look into when updating your courses.

1. Modernize graphics and visuals

It may not seem like much, but visuals play a huge part in the success and retention of a course. If your course looks like something that should still be on dial-up you aren’t going to gain the attention of any modern learner. 

Take a look at your images and be sure that they represent your market audience in a modern way, that includes where the photos are located and what’s in them. For example, if you have a picture of a workplace and the people in the photos are sporting 90s attire and are using massive old school computers, you’ll want to give that a modern makeover. This also means having a look at your templates and designs up to date, so if your design has a MySpace feel, it’s time for an overhaul. This also applies to eLearning localization, if you are updating your courses to expand globally make sure that the content you update with is relevant to the localized audience, that your eLearning voiceovers match the dialect and accent, and that your eLearning translations are done by professional business translation services.

With that, evaluate your templates and get them back to basics with a clean and simple look and feel that will give them a more modern and timeless feel.

2. Varying your format 

If your course uses the same font throughout and follows the same format of plain content with a recap, it’s time to shake it up. Ditch the lists and bullet points and start including charts, graphs, and infographics. Infographics are especially useful for summaries as they are visually appealing and easy to read which increases retention.

3. Microlearning

Updating your old courses doesn’t mean you have to get rid of them, you can repurpose them into a microlearning library by breaking down the course into smaller sessions. This creates a microlearning library that allows access to concise content that is very accessible to learners. Microlearning libraries allow learners to jump in and quickly get the exact information they need with little hassle. 

4. Make them interactive 

When eLearning first kicked off most of the content on it was rather static and often consisted of the information, usually laid out in short paragraphs and bullet points, then followed by some sort of standard assessment. Since then, technology has broadened to allow for the creation of highly dynamic and interactive content. Ditch the multiple-choice for a simulation, make use of videos and create exams and content that allow learners to immerse themselves with the content, and give them opportunities to practice what they’re learning. 

5. Social learning

Find ways to connect your learners outside of their courses with the use of social media. Not only does it create a community but it offers continued means for your learners to expand on their knowledge, as well as create and collaborate. It ensures that your learners have a space to ask questions and foster new ideas. This is also really important if you have learners from around the world as it’s a great way to bring people together. 

 6. Entertain 

Are your courses entertaining? If you’re not entertained by the content, then chances are your learners won’t be either. Creating an enjoyable course experience is one of the best ways to ensure course success and knowledge attainment. Try to avoid using too much text and don’t shy away from humour by adding images, memes, a joke, or even a comic strip. Something that will break up the course and make your content more memorable. This is especially important if your target audience is a younger crowd. Just ensure that if you are localising your eLearning platform that you use media localization as not all graphics, memes, and jokes translate over to other languages and cultures. This is why it’s important to use eLearning localization services to make sure your courses reach your learners the way they’re meant to, no matter where they are in the world.

Need help taking your eLearning platform global? Into23 has all your global translation solutions with high quality translation services and multimedia localization services by certified legal translators. Contact into23 today for a free quote to get started.