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Ask me anything about subtitling
Autor wątku: Max Deryagin

Letizia S.
Włochy
Local time: 22:42
francuski > włoski
+ ...
It is!! May 5, 2015

[quote]Monica Paolillo wrote:

it's absolutely not true that in Italian professional subtitling you need to replace accents with apostrophes. Maybe your source is one of those fansubbing sites. Professional subtitling is something different and grammar mistakes are not allowed.

It is!! My source was a non-professional subtitler site, or something similar... A site where non-professional can translate and subtitle for free, to improve (???) their technique and language...

I do agree: missing accents are unacceptable!

Thanks


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:42
Członek ProZ.com
od 2012

włoski > angielski
+ ...
reducing characters and keeping to limits May 8, 2015

Hi, this is a very good topic and one I had been looking for but never managed to find. My question is about when you are asked to write the video translation/proofreading/editing and keep to a told character limit. You have to change and sometimes, it is just not possible.How do you go about it and what rate do you charge for its translation/proofreading/editing? It becomes more time-consuming as you have to stop and think how to change it. Thank you.

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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Rosja
Local time: 01:42
Członek ProZ.com
od 2013

angielski > rosyjski
NOWY TEMAT
- May 8, 2015

Josephine Cassar wrote:

Hi, this is a very good topic and one I had been looking for but never managed to find. My question is about when you are asked to write the video translation/proofreading/editing and keep to a told character limit. You have to change and sometimes, it is just not possible.How do you go about it and what rate do you charge for its translation/proofreading/editing? It becomes more time-consuming as you have to stop and think how to change it. Thank you.


Hi Josephine,

Following the char limit is an integral part of subtitling, and knowing how to work within the limit is one of the things that make one a professional subtitler.

When working with agencies on translation projects, I am usually given a pre-spotted template that looks like this:

1
00:00:01,280 --> 00:00:04,773
Dell Pro Support Plus, is the
only support service I've found,

2
00:00:04,826 --> 00:00:07,520
that gives me priority
access to expert support,

3
00:00:07,903 --> 00:00:11,813
covers us for spills and drops,
and includes pro-active monitoring

4
00:00:11,866 --> 00:00:13,546
with automated resolution.

[etc.]

I am then asked to translate the template while keeping my subs within the reading speed and row length cap allocated (they depend on the type of subtitles, the final output format and the media the target audience will be using for viewing the video with your subs).

Obviously, such work entails a higher rate per word (or, more often, per minute) than your regular translation, because it is more time-consuming and requires additional knowledge of the audiovisual translation strategies. The exact rates depend on your language pair and experience in the field, so I don't think I can give you the exact numbers. My rate is inconsequential, because I charge much more than the average.

Now, there are often different ways to translate one subtitle, and when you see that your normal translation does not fit, you use one of the subtitling strategies for condensation — synonymization, paraphrase, substitution, compensation, omission and the others. They were proposed by Henrik Gottlieb and further improved on by other prominent linguists. As counterintuitive as it is, omission can be a valid strategy, especially when nothing else works. For example, I sometimes omit epithets, filler words, discourse markers and expressions like "I think", "In my opinion" and the like — but only if they are insignificant to the overall meaning. In my experience, at least in my language pair, intranslatable subtitles that you mention are incredibly rare — one in, say, fifty thousand; the rest can be translated within reasonable row length and reading speed caps. In the event a sentence indeed cannot be translated in a proper manner, you should contact the client and seek for a compromise.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:42
Członek ProZ.com
od 2012

włoski > angielski
+ ...
Thank you very much May 8, 2015

My subtitles do not look like yours but like this:

0005 00:00:36:04 00:00:38:04

I cannot stand idly by.


0011 00:00:53:05 00:00:54:23

which is cheap,

And I did exactly as you said, without leaving out the important parts. In Maltese, you can leave out certain words or shorten-words like 'you, he/she (the pronouns), but not when you are trying to emphasise like, 'Me, I would never do that!'; other times, it is longer due to conjugation. The agency suggested €0.9 per minute but did not specify that it was per video minute and every video minute took exactly nearly 1 A4 page. I pointed out that this took time, and the PM understood at the time and said we would discuss after as the work was urgent. Unfortunately, the PM has still not confirmed receipt of the document sent with the excuse that she had a horrible virus on her PC-got to know this through her accounts department as I contacted them too. I think PM is avoiding changing the terms-from 113 video minutes to working minutes. How would you go about charging even if you cannot compare prices as language pairs might be different? Thanks.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazylia
Local time: 17:42
angielski > portugalski
+ ...
A few other considerations May 8, 2015

Max Deryagin wrote:

Following the char limit is an integral part of subtitling, and knowing how to work within the limit is one of the things that make one a professional subtitler.


For those who work from transcribed templates, these contain the entire lines spoken, because each language may have a different way to make a phrase more concise.

The same language pair can pose different challenges. Let's take English > Portuguese.

EN: I made a mistake in selecting...
PT: Errei ao escolher...

EN: Customer needs
PT: Necessidades do cliente

The first one above is a piece of cake, while the second - frequently found in sales training video - requires "dismantling" the sentence and writing a new one, more so in translation for dubbing, which is a different kind of game.

One thing to watch out for is the law of least effort.

I'll make an analogy with driving a car. People who drove cars with manual transmission for many years before moving to an automatic will tend to consume less fuel with the latter, because they'll intuitively shift to a higher gear by releasing the throttle a bit. Many of those who only or mostly drove automatics will often keep the throttle pressed down, expecting the transmission to do its work, and keeping a lower gear on for longer than necessary.

Those who started out translating from templates, if they do a lot of plain text (not video) translation too, will tend to translate the "text", leaving longer subtitles than necessary. Anyone watching for this specific feature will notice it immediately when it occurs.

My story is peculiar. Most of my video translation work was done without having a script, and I began translating for dubbing in 1987. As I said, dubbing is another game. The translated script for dubbing must match the source in length and rhythm.

This is what kept me from venturing into translation for subtitling until 2004, when demand for subject area specialization sort of forced me into learning it. While most of the software I use in the process is the same, I had to learn a hard lesson in conciseness, in "letting go" anything that is of little relevance.

However the videos I received for subtitling still failed include a script. So, as I put it, translation for dubbing vs. for subtitling, both use the same technique however a different frame of mind. One is about length and rhythm; the other is all about conciseness (and relevance, to make it work).

So my "subtitling frame of mind" entails listening to a snippet and intuitively translating into the most concise subtitle possible.

Only a few years ago I got into subtitle translation from templates. The second hard lesson! While translating from "video-backed TEXT", I had to refrain from translating the text on the templates, but do it (concisely) from the audio track, and breaking that translated text to match the pre-timed subtitles on the template.

From what I see on video everywhere - mostly on the web, not on TV - there is a strong temptation to translate everything from the template as-is.

There are many "rules" around about characters per second, line breaks, punctuation, notation (e.g. $76 vs. seventy-six dollars) and other things. Of course, subtitle length is a physical constraint that can't be overlooked, since NO subtitle is allowed to overflow the screen borders.

I have found that the best solution is to advocate for the spectator, always! If you - as a spectator who understands squat in the source language - feel really comfortable watching the film with the subtitles, these must be good!

The only problem with that is the gradual development of a 'professional disease'. I am now unable to watch a subtitled movie without proofreading the translation, regardless of the languages involved. Of course, I can't read non-Roman chars, but I'll catch myself hunting for familiar words, at least proper nouns, in e.g a movie spoken in Dutch or German and subtitled in Portuguese.


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Rosja
Local time: 01:42
Członek ProZ.com
od 2013

angielski > rosyjski
NOWY TEMAT
- May 8, 2015

Thank you for the interesting read, Jose. Much appreciated. I find myself proofreading subtitles just in the same way

Josephine Cassar wrote:
How would you go about charging even if you cannot compare prices as language pairs might be different?


Personally, I would decline the job. I found long ago that proofreading is not my cup of tea. Fixing someone's translations is a huge pain in the neck — it can be frustrating, it's a lot of work, and the pay is often close to none.

To give you a rough number, I'd probably charge $5.00 per minute if I were you.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:42
Członek ProZ.com
od 2012

włoski > angielski
+ ...
per working or video minute? May 8, 2015

Thank you for your answer as well as for other participants' answer. I hope you mean per working hour, not per video minute, as 1 minute of video had almost 1 A4 page. It was not a big deal as I had already proofread the text, and it had not been a bad translation, far from it, but when I was sent the proofread text to fit it according to character limit, it was not at all profitable given I had to adjust to fit the text according to the character limit:one has to stop and think and turn round phrase sometimes. Rate suggested was for a video minute but that was not clear from the outset, hence the problem that arose. I'll make sure next time though. One learns. Thank you for your hints and suggestions, much appreciated.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazylia
Local time: 17:42
angielski > portugalski
+ ...
A matter of RISK May 8, 2015

Josephine Cassar wrote:

per working or video minute?


If the translator charges per playing time, i.e. per video minute, the risk is on the translator. This is quite fair, no surprises to the client, provided the translator has checked the video, and set a commensurate per-minute rate.

What I mean is that I - and many colleagues I know - keep a 6:1 average, i.e. it takes one hour to translate 10 minutes of video. However I know people who said their ratio is 12:1, i.e. they only manage to translate 5 minutes of video in one hour (which may be sensible, if the audio is too bad).

On the other hand, if the translator charged per working minute, the risk on the customer's side might be unacceptable. There is no point in the customer paying for their vendor's lack of skill/experience/productivity. What if the translator suffers from ADD, cannot keep focus? Few sensible, willing-to-pay, business-minded clients would accept this level of risk.


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Rosja
Local time: 01:42
Członek ProZ.com
od 2013

angielski > rosyjski
NOWY TEMAT
- May 8, 2015

Josephine Cassar wrote:

Thank you for your answer as well as for other participants' answer. I hope you mean per working hour, not per video minute, as 1 minute of video had almost 1 A4 page. It was not a big deal as I had already proofread the text, and it had not been a bad translation, far from it, but when I was sent the proofread text to fit it according to character limit, it was not at all profitable given I had to adjust to fit the text according to the character limit:one has to stop and think and turn round phrase sometimes. Rate suggested was for a video minute but that was not clear from the outset, hence the problem that arose. I'll make sure next time though. One learns. Thank you for your hints and suggestions, much appreciated.


I meant I'd charge $5.00 per video minute. Jose gave a good explanation as to why it is the better way of charging your client.


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Akhila Phadnis
Indie
Członek ProZ.com
od 2013

francuski > angielski
+ ...
Thanks! May 13, 2015

Andriy Bublikov wrote:

ASCII coding
Have you tried aegisub?
No problems with aegisub ASCII coding using aegisub.



Thank you Andriy - I hadn't considered aegisub before. Still finding my way around but it seems very good!


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christinekang
Korea Południowa
how to get started? Jun 8, 2015

I am still in university and I have always wanted to work in the field of audio visual. I am not sure of what to start looking for or even where. I would like to know how others got started.

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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Rosja
Local time: 01:42
Członek ProZ.com
od 2013

angielski > rosyjski
NOWY TEMAT
- Jun 9, 2015

christinekang wrote:

I am still in university and I have always wanted to work in the field of audio visual. I am not sure of what to start looking for or even where. I would like to know how others got started.


Hi Christine,

To my knowledge, most subtitlers initially find work through the connections they acquire while doing their MA in Audiovisual Translation. The rest usually come from other translation fields, after taking an AVT course and/or reading a great deal of professional/academic literature on subtitling.

Whatever the case, you want to start off your freelance career by subtitling either for free (volunteering) or for little, in order to build your portfolio and collect client feedback that you can show to your future clients. When that's done, you can join a professional subtitling association (or two) as a student. After that, you'll have to choose whether you want to work for subtitling agencies or direct clients. If the former checks, you want to create a decent CV and send it to the major subtitling agencies (use the internet — you can google them up pretty easily). If you want to work for direct clients, you need to build your business-card website and SEO it to the top.

I know for a fact that English-Korean subtitlers are currently in high demand in EU and NA, so you'll probably won't have much trouble finding work.

Good luck!


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Becks Trece
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 21:42
hiszpański > angielski
+ ...
I could do with your help! Jun 29, 2015

I need to return subtitles on a MP4 video to my client, who will send them to me on MP4 and wants them back in the same format, but I haven´t got a clue how to do that. What do you suggest?

thanks!

becks


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IT Pros Subs
Włochy
Local time: 22:42
Członek ProZ.com
od 2005

angielski > włoski
+ ...
It's called permanent embedding Jun 30, 2015

You need to burn in the subs with professional tools e.g. Final Cut Pro. You can find cheap tools online but the result is far from attractive and professional.

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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Rosja
Local time: 01:42
Członek ProZ.com
od 2013

angielski > rosyjski
NOWY TEMAT
- Jun 30, 2015

Becks Trece wrote:

I need to return subtitles on a MP4 video to my client, who will send them to me on MP4 and wants them back in the same format, but I haven´t got a clue how to do that. What do you suggest?

thanks!

becks


Hi Becks,

Subtitles in what format will you receive?


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