Subtitle Translation

12 Important Tips To Consider For Subtitle Translation

Subtitles are one of the cost-effective methods that come from video translation. People also assume these to be simple tasks. However, it does not imply that these can not get wrong and are easy to translate. The subtitles have to be translated vigilantly with the maximum focus on quality. The subtitles which have low-quality translations can ruin the whole customer experience. Also, it can tarnish the image and impact of a key message.

Here are a few of the considerations for the translator to take into account for the subtitling translation services.

Subtitle Translation

1. Starting with the Transcription

The translators should always start with the transcription. They can start the video by transcribing the dialogue of the video. They have to transcribe the video into strings of the same language. The translators then can further convert these text strings into the target language. To start with this practice can help with an effective translation of subtitles.

2. Simplify the Wording

Subtitles can not work for long sentences and the subtitle translation could come up with little more requirements. Many times target language is not as precise and limited as the source language and text expansion becomes a real problem. Therefore, you should shorten the long sentences first and words and phrases will then help to take up less space on the screen. The words stay on the screen for a limited time and the translation should be good enough size that the viewer can read it timely in the given time while watching.

3. Consider Text Expansion

Text expansion is a common issue that occurs in multimedia translation. English is one most precise languages and whenever the text is translated into other languages, translators often get stuck with expansion issues. That refers that the expansion often ends up taking more space and that naturally increases the reading time. Therefore, translators should work on the content in advance and see what they can do to cope with the text expansion.

4. Dialogue Speed

The dialogues come with different paces and speeds. The speed of the dialogue may vary with the situation going on in the video. Faster dialogues make it difficult for the viewers to stand with the subtitles timely. The synchronizing gets challenging so keeping up with the titles and making it at a smoother pace by taking the dialogue speed into consideration is a must. Therefore, translators should consider this.

5. In Footage Text

The text which pops up on the video footage can also require translation. This can further go and create conflict with the regular subtitles. Furthermore, it can make syncing more challenging. Therefore, to avoid this clash it is important to consider and ponder over the best alternative priorly.

6. Consider the Context

Considering the context is another important thing. Translators should have the access to the original videos and they should go through the lengthy context that reflects the text communication. Context is of foremost importance in every type of translation so that the reader and viewer can have an idea about the background and foreground. So context is not something to be missed.

7. Identifying Overlaps

Many times subtitles also appear on the screen coming from different characters and persons at one time. These also get challenging to translate at once. So, it is significant to consider this before going for the translation in real time. It particularly gets tough with the voice-over services too. Multiple subtitles appearing on the screen create a haphazard situation for the viewers and they can barely enjoy it.

8. Subtitle Placements

The thought of placing the subtitle right is also evident to consider. Therefore, the translators should ensure that the key elements in the footage are visible during the time of display so that the viewer doesn’t have to struggle with understanding the content.

9. Synchronize your Subs

People often translate subtitles into different languages to launch them in different markets. Hence it is crucial to ensure that subtitles are synced with the dialogue, action, and the right editing of footage. Synchronization is important or else subtitles changing places can give a severe headache to the viewer.

10. Reviewing Each Language Version

Translators can have a look at the previous translation of the subtitles and they can also consider the minor changes. Replacement of certain words for the other short substitutes where there are no overlapping or synchronization issues can work better for everyone.

11. Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is one integral part of the translation process. There should be a final implementation. The content should be reviewed for better. Also, the editing and proofreading system should deliver consistent quality in every language. Consistency is extremely imperative in translation. A translation should not contain different explanations for a single word. It should be the same every time in the right contextual manner. Also, the feedback of famous linguists should also be sought to ensure the quality is not compromised. Any changes that you attempt at the last minute should also be monitored for quality assurance.

12. Test on Audiences

As practice makes you perfect, so practicing the translation, fixing the common issues, and testing the audience in advance can help with the better quality of the translation. This way content creation gets better.  Before the content goes as the translated subtitles, it is worth testing the footage on sample audiences in each language market.


It is never late to learn new strategies and consider certain aspects. Similarly, the translation services get better with the implementation of some useful considerations and tips. Translators who translate the subtitles should make sure they conduct extensive research before they actually start working on subtitle translation. As it is more like a technical procedure.

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