language translation services Archives - Into23

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.

What are the main translation methods and techniques?

The process of translation may seem like a mere exchange of words and phrases from one language to another but as any quality freelance translator will tell you, there is a lot more to it than that. A good translator will use a variety of translation techniques and methods depending on the language it’s being translated into and the target market it’s aiming to reach.

Translation’s beginnings

The Gilgamesh on a partially broken tablet

A section of ‘The Gilgamesh’ on a partially broken tablet – Wikimedia

In history, the translation of writing goes back as far as the Mesopotamian era and is believed to have started with the epic Sumerian poem, The Gilgamesh, which was translated into a variety of Asian languages around the second millennium BC. The need for translation began to increase with the development of religious texts and theories. The word translation is derived from a Latin term that means “to bring or carry across”. The word metaphrasis in Ancient Greek, which means “to speak across” created the word metaphrase which was the first term for a “word-to-word” translation. As translation and translation studies became more common, defined techniques and methods took form. 

Translation methods and techniques

Vinay and Darbelnet Translation Technique

Vinay and Darbelnet – Time Toast

J.P. Vinay and J.Darbelnet were pioneers of translation studies as they created and published formalised translation procedures in 1958 with their book titled, Comparative Stylistics of French and English: A Methodology for Translation. It was one of the first times translation methods had been categorised and since it has become the basis of technique for modern multilingual translation services

Vinay and Darbelnet’s methods and techniques

While a translation method can be applied to an entire translated text, translation techniques and types of translation vary based on what elements will be translated. Vinay and Darbelnet detailed seven different techniques within two methods of translation.

Direct or literal translation method

This method is used when similar concepts and structures of the source language can be used in the translated language. Languages need to be similar in a variety of ways for these techniques to work as these types of translation techniques are not able to capture a lot of nuances found in language.

Borrowing technique  is a technique that involves borrowing a word from one language and using it in another. So the translator will make the conscious choice to retain a word while translating the rest of the sentence. You’ll often see this with English as the English language tends to borrow many words from other languages. While not explicitly a translation technique it is common with globally familiar words. 

Borrowing examples: sombrero, café, kimono, hamburger, kimchi

Calque technique  Many words don’t translate well into other languages, the calque technique is used by translators in this instance. A translator will coin and come up with a new word or term in the translated language. 

Calque examples: gratte-ciel in French is a calque of ‘skyscraper’.  An ‘Adam’s apple’ is calque of the French phase pomme d’Adam. Beer garden is a calque of the German biergarten

Literal translation technique – This technique is the most straightforward in that each word is translated directly. This is generally ineffective for languages that are not closely related and is generally only used with select legal or corporate translation.

Indirect or Oblique translation method

This method is most often used when languages and cultures are substantially different, such as English to Chinese translation. This method will usually change the structural or conceptual elements of the text to preserve its meaning.

Transposition – This technique involves a shift from one grammatical structure to another, usually with languages that have different grammar structures. 

Transposition example: Rendering a French noun with an English verb, Je l’ai vu avant la rentrée can be directly translated to English as  “I saw her before school started”, this changes the noun la rentrée into a verb.

Modulation – The modulation technique is extremely common in marketing when localizing into a new market. Modulation changes and adjusts the original text completely but it preserves the same meaning and patterns so that it is recognisable in target translated language. 

Modulation examples: Lebensgefahr in German means danger to life, whereas in English we would say “danger of death”. A literal translation of this phrase from English to German would sound odd and confusing to a German person. Another example is how French speakers refer to the top floor of a building as dernier étage which translates as “last stage” in English. A literal translation of this phrase from French to English would baffle many prospective English apartment buyers and renters.

Equivalence/reformulation  – Similar to modulation and also an essential technique for any localization strategy, this technique preserves the meaning of an expression or proverb by using something equivalent in the translated language. 

Equivalence/reformulation examples: The English phrase “It’s pouring,” which refers to a downpour of rain doesn’t translate into German but the meaning can be altered to give the same effect, es regnet in Strömen (It rains in streams).

Adaptive – This technique is a sort of cultural substitution or equivalent in that one cultural element is replaced with one that will be better suited and understood in the language and region it’s being translated to. 

Adaptive examples: Baseball or NFL football in the US 🡪Football in England

Choosing the best translation technique 

Out of these basic and common techniques, how do you know what translation tools, translation techniques or methods are the best for your business or localization strategy? Every business, strategy and approach is different so the best way to get a return on your investment is to use certified translation services. Quality translators will assess your documents, software, website, eLearning platform or eCommerce software to ensure that your business successfully reaches your target market and audience. 

Into23 offers high quality translation services in any language your business needs. Contact us today for a free quote so we can help your business enter new global markets and enterprises.

What’s the difference between notarized and certified translation?

Notarized or certified translation?

Notarized and certified translation services are some of the most requested services among translation companies. These two different types of translation are often confused with one another and are, at times, requested when they’re not needed. While they share some similarities, there are differences between these two types of translation and in the way in which they are used. If you are a business that has begun to expand globally and are putting together a marketing strategy, it’s not always easy to know which of these services you’ll need. So what are the differences between a notarized and certified translation and in what instances are they required?

What is certified translation?

highest quality translation standards

Man signing image by Sozavisimost on Pixabay  – Certified translation is for when you want the translation to be as accurate as possible.

Certified translation refers to translations that are done and signed by a sworn translator. The purpose of certified translation is to prove that the document has been translated correctly and is of the highest quality. Certified translations focus on the quality of the translation and are meant to ensure that it meets the highest-quality translation standards. Further, the translator is held liable for the translation and information presented in the document.

What is notarized translation?

certified legal translator needs to have a professional degree

Certificate Image by stux on PixabayNotarized documents focus on the legal side of translation.

A notary has authorisation from the government to authenticate and oversee specific legal documentation. Notarization proves that a document meets a set of standards and that it abides by a law or regulation. A notarized translated document focuses less on high-quality translation accuracy and more on meeting the legal standards and requirements of an institution or legal system.

What is the difference between notarized and certified translation?

Where things tend to get confusing between the two is that both certified and notarized documents have legal connotations to them in that the translator or the notary is liable to documents they are working with. The biggest difference between the two is that a notarized document doesn’t have the same demand on translation quality.

A certified legal translator needs to have a professional degree that majors in translation and they usually complete tests that prove their capacities as a translator and allow them to be part of formalized unions and groups to ensure consistent high- quality translation. This step is not required in notarization. When a document becomes notarized, it has often gone through a certified translation already and the notarization process is the additional step in ensuring that the document meets certain requirements. When the document is handed over to be notarized, a public notary isn’t looking for its translation accuracy but rather that it meets a set of legal requirements and that the person that did the translation is accountable for the information that is contained in it. Notarizing certifies the document or certificate itself, rather than the translation. Certified legal translators often sign an affidavit that is sworn in the presence of the notary which will contain the notary’s seal and signature. Sothink of notarization as an additional legal authentication process.

When to use certified translation services?

Legal documents are the most common types of documents requiring certified translation services. Here are a few common examples,

  • Immigration paperwork
  • Court documents
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage or divorce certificates
  • Backgrounds checks
  • Service agreements
  • Business contracts
  • Patent translation
  • Adoption paperwork
  • Medical bills
  • Business licenses
  • Legal deeds
  • DNA exams
  • Academic qualifications and/or transcripts


They usually complete tests that demonstrate their capability as a translator and enable them to join formalized unions and groups to ensure consistent high-quality translations.
The translator will then sign and stamp the documents, provide an official statement verifying its accuracy and provide credentials attesting to their skill and quality.

When to use notarized translation services?

When it comes to a notarized document, which performed, the translation is not important, what is important is that it meets a set of legal requirements which is all a notary will check for. The most commonly notarized items are usually on education-based documents and related administrative documents. For example, if you have qualifications that were acquired in another country and are in one language and you need to provide these documents to another education facility in a different language. Notarizing these documents proves that the education credentials from one country translate to meet the same standards in another.

Examples of items that don’t require certified translation or notarization

While having certified translation is essential for sensitive information and legal documents, these services also come at a different cost. While it’s important to employ a good translation agency for your translation and localization strategy, not everything needs to be officially certified. Examples of items a translation company can localize and translate that don’t necessarily need to be certified,

  • General workplace procedures or training guides
  • Marketing items such as signs, social media posts, websites, etc.
  • Email notices
  • Essays or homework
  • Most eLearning platforms and courses

While it is important that all of these items be translated properly, especially if you’re localizing, they are not legally imperative materials that require certification.

The importance of language translation services

When it comes to business documentation and translationit’s best left to language service providers and professionals. A quality translation company can help you discern what you need to have certified or notarized and more. Certified translation services can offer the assurance needed for sensitive legal documents that require high quality translation and will meet the standards for any regulatory body and be ready for notarization if required.

At Into23, we have a team of certified legal translators here to help your business thrive and meet the highest standards of translation. With all languages covered, let us become your language service provider and help your business succeed globally.

Why Google Translate Isn’t Effective Enough for Business

How accurate is Google Translate?

Even machine translation software like Google still has languages that defy translation.

In April 2006 Google launched a service that quickly became every internet user’s go-to for quick language translations. Google now boasts that it can translate 108 languages covering 99% of the internet population.

Yet in a world with over 7000 languages why aren’t more being included?

Many languages defy machine translation software, even though they are spoken by millions of people such as Bhojpuri (52 million), Fula or Fulani (65 million), Quechua (8 million), or African languages such as Luganda, Twi, and Ewe. So why is it that languages like Czech or Swedish, who have relatively smaller or similar numbers to these other languages, get translation support while the others are barely recognised?

Machine translation, like Google Translate, rely heavily on algorithms that are learned from human translations that require millions of words of translated text called parallel corpus. For translation machines to be effective they require a staggering number of parallel corpora for each language. An ideal parallel corpus will have content from a variety of contexts such as novels, news reports, and other pieces of writing that make up a language.

For languages like Czech or Swedish, as they are part of the European Union, a large part of their parallel corpus comes from official parliament documents. These countries are also important for big tech companies in terms of eCommerce marketing, language translation services and more, meaning that they have a larger parallel corpus to work with. With other languages, a large basis of their parallel corpus has come from the bible, which resulted in some entertaining doomsday prophecies from Google Translate prior to 2016.

In 2016, Google started using a new technique called neural machine translation which claims to have reduced translation errors by 60%. Neural machine translation is a type of artificial intelligence that can mimic some forms of human thinking. Sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, right? The neural machine translator can associate meaning to certain words and phrases. It can look at a sentence as a whole rather than translating each word. However, the database required to make this neural machine translation effective is still substantial.

Neural machine translation has been effective for select languages but what about the thousands of others?

When West Africa was hit with Ebola or when Haiti was hit with an earthquake in 2010 difficulties occurred when those that were there to help could not communicate with the locals to get them the resources they needed. With little translation support for the languages spoken in these areas, it shed light on the need for diversifying machine language translations.

With COVID-19, health information has been needed in many languages which machine translation has been incapable of helping due to poor translation quality.

Further, for countries that have low literacy rates or no written language, locals may not even be literate in their mother tongue, using voice messages to communicate which increases the need for audio translation.

So, while expanding on neural machine translation is revolutionary in terms of very basic internet communication and translations it lags in terms of international need and diversity, especially in times of crisis. So what about for business?

Is Google Translate effective enough for business?

Google Translate is a convenient tool so it would be a stretch to say never to use it as it usually gets the basic understanding of a text, however, it is far from ideal in getting a quality translation that would be needed for business. Especially if you are aiming to enter the global market, need website localization, eLearning translation services, or are bolstering your eCommerce platform.

Here is why Google translate is not effective enough to be used in business.

  • No Proofreading

    One of the appeals of Google Translate is the speed in which it produces translations, however, this comes at a cost as it doesn’t equate with a quality translation. When you use certified translation services you are guaranteed a properly formatted and grammatically correct quality translation. Further, Into23’s translation services offer 24/7 availability with a quick translation turnaround making them nearly as fast as Google.

  • No Accountability

    Google does not have to be accountable for any inaccuracies in its translations as it is a free service. Any user can also manually input their translations and at times malicious and incorrect translations are allowed through. What’s more unnerving is that Google isn’t even accountable to your security or privacy as it collects data on whatever content you place into its text box to translate. When you work with translation professionals, your confidentiality and privacy are ensured.

  • No Customisation

    The translations from Google Translate will not be catered to your specific business needs and you run the risk of having nonsensical or inaccurate translations. In today’s global market it is important to speak to clients and customers in their own language, such as with website localization, and if the first impression of your content is incorrect it sends the message to any prospective customers that you are not the right business for them.

  • Legal Concerns

    Misinterpretations in formal and legal documents have the potential for serious safety or financial concerns which can lead to legal disputes. In a study performed on the terms and conditions of airlines, it detailed the risks of machine translations for legal documentation and its possible negative outcomes.

Businesses Need Certified Translation Services

No matter what type of business you run if you need to translate in any language, using multilingual translation services is crucial for business success. From transcreation for marketing to eLearning or eCommerce translation services, Into23 offers high-quality translation services in any language. Into23 works on your time and your schedule with 24/7 accessibility and fast turnaround. Get a free translation services quote today by filling in the form below or uploading your files to our quick quote portal.