10 Challenges You’ll Come Across When Providing Subtitling Services

Posted by Anne Quach on February 08, 2022.

Subtitling services represent the audio-visual translation in which the original speech is adapted and summarized before being presented as written text (usually displayed at the bottom of the screen). The complexities and technicalities of this field can frequently bring up more difficult than other forms of translation.

In this post, we will go through the key problems that a subtitling services provider must confront when working on multimedia localization projects.

How Do Subtitling Services Work?

Subtitles are video transcripts that try to improve the viewer’s experience. They assist your audience in committing to your offering in the case of a business. The best aspect is that subtitle translation when translated into foreign languages, may assist in bridging language barriers and attracting worldwide clientele.

How do subtitling services work

Despite language hurdles, even native speakers employ video subtitling or captioning for a variety of reasons. One example is improving accessibility for those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Above all, subtitles function because of the visual engagement they provide. Subtitled material is more likely to be seen, liked, and shared than content without subtitles. That, in our opinion, is what you should be aiming towards in terms of your company or SEO objectives.


10 Challenges That A Subtitling Services Team Must Face

Challenges must be more complicated when speaking about subtitling services. Let’s have a look at the most prevalent problems.

#1. Inter-Linguistic And Inter-Semiotic Translation

The process of translating a message from one language to another is known as inter-linguistic translation, whereas inter-semiotic translation refers to the transmission of information across various sign systems or mediums. For example, there might be visual cues in the speech, such as glances or gestures, that add genuine meaning. Because audiovisual translators must read through a communication made of spoken language, sounds, and images and communicate everything in writing form, they do both.


#2. Restrictions On Space

The translation must not take up more screen real estate than is required. As a result, there are restrictions on the number of characters per line and their placement on the screen. These specifications are frequently included in a style guide provided by the customer. The maximum number of lines per subtitle and the maximum number of characters per line should be specified in this directive.

The obstacles posed by spatial dimensions can be handled, but those who work on subtitling services must consider these factors: 

    • When subtitling, there is a maximum of two lines, and the separation of the two lines must not break any linguistic unit in the phrase, such as a noun + adjective unit.
    • At the same time, each line may only contain a certain number of characters. Each language has its limit. It’s usually between 37 and 39 characters for French, Italian, German, and Spanish, while certain sites, such as Netflix, allow up to 42 characters.
    • There is also a maximum number of characters per second; for the languages stated above, this is 20 characters per second.


#3. Time Limitation

The translation must display on the screen at the same time as the original. This is when one of the most important subtitling characteristics, reading speed, comes into play. Isn’t it true that no matter how brilliant a translation is, it’s meaningless if the general population can’t read quickly enough to understand it?

These characteristics may change depending on the audience’s language and reading ability. However, the style guide for the client frequently specifies this as well.


#4. Reading Flow Conservation

Each subtitle line must have the longest feasible unit of significance. That means translators should avoid breaking articles or adjectives from their nouns or leaving isolated prepositions on a different line, among other things. Once again, the goal is to make subtitle reading more natural and the translation less noticeable.


#5. Audiovisual Rhythm Conservation

Each scene in a TV program or film has been painstakingly designed by a team of professionals to attain the ideal rhythm. We can assist the public to forget they’re seeing a translation if we can make subtitles blend in organically with the audiovisual pace.


#6. Creative Synthesis

Due to the numerous constraints, subtitling services of translation frequently fail to translate the complete source text. Audiovisual translators must then select material and learn what to remove and add so that viewers have as much access to the music as feasible without being overwhelmed by a rushed reading. The key to a good conclusion is to acquire creative synthesis abilities that allow the professional to transmit content succinctly while being true to each speaker’s manner of speech, register, background, and eccentricities that lend flavour to the text.


#7. Exposed Translation

The audio will continually expose the audience to the original language. As a consequence, kids will be aware that they are reading a translation at all times. When someone reads a book, for example, this level of awareness is absent. If we add in the fact that the general audience is unlikely to be aware of the technical components of this sort of work, it’s easy to see why complaints about subtitles are so widespread, but not about other types of translations. As a result, an audiovisual translator’s primary purpose is to make the subtitle appear “invisible”.


#8. Cut Sync

Subtitles that breach shot or scene transitions must be avoided by translators. Because the speech really moves over these cuts all the time, this is one of the most time-consuming technical parts for the translator, but it is critical to ensure subtitle invisibility.


#9. Contemporary Culture

There are numerous sorts of writings that provide issues linked to informal language and modern society, but these difficulties are magnified in oral language. Translators of subtitling services, for example, can be tasked with subtitling a song while maintaining its comedy and rhyme, as well as ensuring that it matches what’s being presented on screen.


#10. Technical Issues

Technology is inextricably tied to audiovisual translation. In contrast to other professions of knowledge where technology is only a bonus, in this case, it is a need. There are a variety of issues to resolve, including format and audio issues. As a result, translators and project managers must maintain continual communication in order to prevent making mistakes when it is too late.


Getting Flawless Subtitling Services With GTE Media

Subtitling services are interesting enough to see so many people interested in participating, but its complexities must not be overlooked. Subtitlers must grasp all the intricacy to acquire the finest translation for their readers, and GTE subtitling team can handle this issue professionally. Contact our team for a free 1:1 consultancy and get your projects started today!


If you are a subtitler and have a desire to participate in many interesting projects, join our team to develop your abilities in our potential environment.

Become our subtitlers

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