Subtitling Ads for TV

by Knockhundred Admin

We’ve been working on a huge number of subtitling assignments over the past few months and have been streamlining our processes so we can produce accurate subtitles in record time. It’s not an easy process, but we have an amazing team and are perfecting the ‘art’ of subtitling! 

The videos we’ve been receiving recently have been in high-res format. Usually our end clients (advertising agencies, post-production companies, fashion houses, major manufacturers) have such tight deadlines to work to, that they do not necessarily have sufficient time to compress files. Our first job, as project managers, is to ensure that the files are wieldy and manageable. We often need to compress them, using specialist software, so that we can easily import them into our subtitling software. One has to be a little careful during this process, since it’s important to ensure that the same fps (frame rate) is maintained during the conversion, or it can affect timings detrimentally later on.

Once our subtitling team have small video files to work with, they can begin work. We endeavour to ensure that we engage in active dialogue with our clients throughout the subtitling process, in order to ensure that the subtitles are word perfect and (ideally) exceed their expectations. Whatever the language we’re subtitling into, whether they are in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese, there are some key questions that we always need to ask.

Firstly, who are the target audience and is the client hoping that the message will be conveyed using a certain ‘tone’? On some projects, we’ve been advised that our team should opt for a particular ‘feel’ when producing their subs, so we try as best we can to establish exactly the kind of vibe they are opting for.

Secondly, if product names appear, then do they vary according to geographic territory? Which term should a particular translator use for a particular product?

Thirdly, if there is ‘on-screen text’ appearing in the advertisement, (in English, for example), then should this be reproduced as a subtitle, or should it be scripted in a separate document, to allow the client to produce foreign language text or graphics on-screen later?

These points may seem insignificant when considered in isolation. However, it’s really important that we clarify all our queries early-on. If we do this at the start of the project, then things run like clockwork. If we don’t clarify the finer details right at the beginning, then we may find ourselves frantically to-ing and fro-ing mid-way through a project, trying to make amendments to files ‘on-the-hoof’ against a rush time-line, which is never fun! Our motto at Knockhundred Translations? Be prepared! Be very prepared!

Should you require our help with subtitling do not hesitate to get in touch with us and our team will do their best to help you.