Subtitles and Captions – Avoiding Embarrassing Errors

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subtitles and captions

With any translation work, it is extremely important to understand the nuance of language. What may be technically or literally correct could completely change the meaning of a phrase, if the translator is unfamiliar with the source language. Read on for more info on subtitles and captions…

Some examples of the complexity of language! 

Take for example the German saying Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei” In literal terms, this translates into English as “Everything has an end; only the sausage has two” but in fact, the phrase itself should be translated as ““Everything comes to an end” 

Or the Mexican phrase “Estás matando pulgas a balazos.” meaning “You are killing fleas with a shotgun” – is a comparable phrase to our UK saying of “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”! 

When subtitles go wrong 

Subtitles and captions can be a delicate business, especially when you have a wide audience who may be viewing your content. It’s important your language service provider is working with a linguist who understands the nuance of both the source language and the language the subtitles are being created in. An article on CIOL gives the following examples: 

A Spanish subtitle for a Game of Thrones character with a Geordie accent went viral because the translator failed to detect the sentence as English, rendering it phonetically instead: ‘She can’t see us’ became ‘Sicansíos’. In Ghost Wars, for instance, a word-for-word translation led to this nonsensical exchange in the Italian subtitles:

A: Via, via!
B: Che sta dicendo?
C: Credo dica: Ron, Ron
B: Chi è Ron?

From the English:

A: Run, run!
B: What is he saying?
C: It sounds like: Ron, Ron
B: Who is Ron?

A good language services provider should be able to mitigate these misunderstandings before they get to the screen, through a robust quality assurance process and open communication with the client. 

Subtitles and Captions Services

So to avoid misunderstandings, and to ensure your subtitles and captions have the human touch, find a good language services provider who will take the guesswork out of your subtitle requirements. 

We can make things easy for you with our team of highly qualified linguists . You can click here if you would like more information about Knockhundred’s subtitle and captioning service

More amusing subtitling errors here! 

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