Creating Spanish subtitles

Hero Curve Element
Creating Spanish subtitles

We wanted to learn more about the challenges of creating Spanish subtitles, and so we caught up with Rosa, an experienced subtitler.

Interview with Rosa

KH: Rosa, how long have you been creating Spanish subtitles?

Rosa: I specialised in Audiovisual Translation at university and so was keen to break into subtitling work as soon as possible. That was about 8 years ago.

KH: Your native language is Spanish? Where were you born?

Rosa: I am really lucky from a linguistic point of view. My mother is originally from Argentina, my father from Spain, but I was born in Scotland! This means I am in the rather unique situation of being able to handle European Spanish subtitles and/or South American subtitles – and am able to understand a Glaswegian accent if needs be…

KH: What is the difference between producing subtitles in Spanish and straightforward document translation? Are different skills required?

Rosa: Absolutely. The tone and register in spoken language tends to be more informal, and this needs to be reflected in the translated subtitles. As a general rule, if there is a choice between using a formal or informal word or phrase, I would opt for the informal version if creating subtitles. With written translations, I am not necessarily restricted on sentence lengths and so on. With subtitles, I need to adapt the language so that my lines do not exceed a certain character length, I have to know all the subtitling conventions about how to split my lines and sentences to ensure they are easy to read. Where shall I stop? It is a very different discipline.

KH: Given you are comfortable working in both European Spanish and South American Spanish, will your subtitles differ depending on in which countries the subtitles will be viewed?

Rosa: Depending on the source media, they probably will differ. South American Spanish and Spain Spanish use different plural forms for “you”, there are vocabulary differences, different idiomatic expressions, and the countries from different parts of the world have different cultural outlooks. All of these factors need to be taken into consideration when creating subtitles.

KH: Thank you so much Rosa.

If you would be interested in finding out more about our Spanish subtitling service, then do please get in touch and one of our project managers would be happy to help.


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