Eva’s German Subtitling Tips

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Eva's German Subtitling Tips

We work with a number of really skilled freelancers who are especially gifted at subtitling. This week we’re talking to Eva, who regularly works on subtitling from German into English on our larger, multilingual projects.

Interviewer: So, Eva, bearing in mind that our readers are not necessarily au fait with the subtitling process, please could you describe what you do… A typical day for example?

Eva: Well, usually we are sent a video file first of all, with some instructions on what to do.

Interviewer: OK, what type of thing?

Eva: Usually it’s German to English subtitles, though sometimes the subs just need to be in German, so they are not translated. Mostly it is High German to English subtitling, but sometimes it can be in in either Swiss German or Austrian German. I can work from Swiss German to English too and I have a colleague who works to-and-from Austrian German. We both work with Knockhundred on a lot of projects and cover loads of German subtitling requests.

Interviewer: So, supposing we send you a video file, what happens next?

Eva: Well, we have special subtitling software on our computers. We import the video into the software and then it is a bit like when we do a normal direct translation into English. The difference is that you can capture time-codes really easily using the software. It also flags up things if you get anything wrong, which is really helpful!

Interviewer: What sort of thing?

Eva: Well, there are some conventions that we have to follow. You have to know about the maximum number of characters you can have on one line, where to split the subtitles, what to do if two people speak quickly… That sort of thing. But if you know the rules, then it’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it.

Interviewer: Are there any tips that you could give other linguists out there, who are interested in subtitling videos, whether it’s German language to English, or in any other language?

Eva: OK, so you need to be an experienced translator. Usually these projects need a fast turnaround, so it’s important that you are completely fluent in the languages you work in. It’s also good if you are fairly ‘techy’ and are happy using different media packages. You really need to be able to follow recommendations too and apply the subtitling rules. There’s also an element of creativity / lateral thinking, where you have to use problem solving, to condense what people say into a few carefully chosen words.

Interviewer: Wow! So it’s pretty involved then. What is the best thing about the job?

Eva: I like the fact that you can actually ‘see’ your work as soon as you do it. So you can watch the subtitles appear on the video and check everything as you go – it’s pretty amazing really.

Interviewer: Well, that’s really interesting, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today.

Eva: No problem, I have to get back to my computer now!

Interviewer: OK, thanks!

Eva: Bye!

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Should you require our help with German Subtitles & Captions or should you need help with our German Transcription Service do not hesitate to get in touch with us and our team will do their best to help you. If you have some material and you require a quotation, then we do offer a Free Quote and File Uploads  or for General Contact simply give us a call!


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