The art of creating Italian subtitles

by Knockhundred Admin

One of our regular Italian subtitlers, Gianfranco, chatted to us about his life subtitling social media videos.

KH: Gianfranco, how many social media videos do you subtitle each day?

Gianfranco: It really depends on how long the videos are. Some of the videos I subtitle are only 20 seconds long and some can be as much as 5 minutes. I guess on average I subtitle around 5 videos a day.

KH: Yes, I see. Is the source language of the videos generally English or Italian?

Gianfranco: The source language is generally English, but it can be Italian, and sometimes French. I speak French too.

KH: What sort of videos are you subtitling?

Gianfranco: To be honest, I cover a wide variety of subject matters. Anything from trainer socks to shampoo to a promo for a new movie. I suppose if I had to narrow down the subject matter, the videos are for social media platforms and tend to be advertising something. Does that help?

KH: It does indeed. Is there anything in particular about the Italian language that makes it difficult to create subtitles?

Gianfranco: I liked Miriam Hurley’s comment. Let me look it up. “Admired English writing is generally clear, to-the-point, streamlined. Like Modern Architecture, less is more. Never use two words when one will do. Superfluous is bad. Italian writing is more like Catholicism. Why have one saint when you can have five thousand? Why use cold stone when there’s gold mosaic? Why have one simple God when you can have a three-part one?” So, I think when it comes to creating Italian subtitles, I have to rein in my natural instinct to provide extra flourish to my language - there simply isn’t the space.

KH: Thank you Gianfranco.

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