Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s like the universe is sending a message. Or maybe that’s just me.

I’ve been writing this blog for a while now, and I stick to what I know best: written translation. I explore the ins and outs of translation quotations, organising projects and even delve a bit deeper into exactly how you can get the best translation for your project.

So perhaps a blog all about subtitle translation seems a little left field. But like I said. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s like the universe is sending a message.

Do you even need subtitles?

Of course, I’m going to say yes, because I’m writing a blog about them, but when you really pay attention, subtitles are everywhere.

As always though, let’s start at the very beginning.

What exactly is a subtitle?

Well, officially, the term subtitle refers to “captions that are displayed at the bottom of a television or cinema screen and which transcribe or translate the narrative”. In short, if you cannot access the dialogue of a video for any reason, either because you can’t hear it or because you can’t understand the language, then subtitles exist to resolve that problem.

However, it’s not just your nightly TV watching or your monthly cinema trip that might cause you to encounter subtitles. Subtitles are becoming more and more prevalent on social media, including Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

If your business uses any of those platforms, then you might want to consider creating subtitles, and possibly subtitle translations.

Subtitles improve accessibility and reach

Subtitles dramatically improve the accessibility of your videos. Let’s take a look at the dynamics of video watching on social media.

Fun fact: approx. 85% of videos watched on Facebook are watched without the sound.

Actually, I’m surprised this isn’t a higher number. Think about it, when are you using your smartphone? On your commute? On your lunchbreak? While holding on to a sleeping baby? (This last one is an example directly from my own life with both of my children as tiny babies…)

These instances all have one thing in common; it’s highly inconvenient to have a video suddenly blare out sound. Instead, it was a godsend that I was able to check out product reviews with subtitles, while doing some non-essential shopping at 3am (again, me with both my children as newborns…). Product review videos without any subtitles were immediately ignored, in fact.

It’s also important to acknowledge that some of your audience may not be able to access the sound on your videos due to hearing impairment, and subtitles are a necessity for them to access your video content.

Where should you start with adding subtitles to your video content?

Hopefully my points above have shown you the importance of using subtitles on your video content and you’re convinced that they’re necessary.

So where do you begin?

First, you’ll need to decide on how you want to subtitle. Do you just want to subtitle the spoken word? Or is it relevant to work in a closed captions style, which takes into account background noise and speaker changes? Or is it sufficient to create subtitles of the audio track only?

My recommendation would be to use closed captions if you’re in any doubt. As seen above, the overwhelming majority of videos are now watched without sound, which means that background noises are also going to be missed.

How do subtitle translations work?

The process of creating subtitle translations can happen in one of two ways.

You can:

  • Create an English language template, then translate.
  • Ask a professional subtitler to subtitle directly into your target language.

Each of these methods has its advantages. If you are already creating English subtitles to improve the accessibility of your video, it can be quick and easy to create translated versions in as many languages as you require.

If you only need the video for release in one other language, it can be a faster process to have it subtitled directly into your target language.

A quick chat with one of our Project Management team can help answer any questions you might have about this process.

So tell me, is the universe sending you a message that you need to start looking into subtitles and subtitle translation?