Subtitling recognised as essential to Broadcasters to meet Accessibility Goals

New regulations have come into force that require audio-visual content to be made accessible to everyone, includinghearing-impaired people. As a consequence, this has generated a seismic shift in the broadcast industry’s attitude towards subtitles, resulting in increased demand for subtitling and captioning solutions. Broadcasters all around the worldnow have to ensure that their scheduled programmes have sufficient subtitling to meet these new guidelines.

Optimistically, subtitling is finally being recognised as essential, and no longer merely an optional add-on, as previously perceived. This positive move has revealed how valuable subtitles are to programme makers and filmmakers, as they not only promote growth, but they also dramatically increase profits by reaching out to vast global audiences in different languages.

Until recently, regulators only specified legal targets for linear channels. With OTT platforms dominating the market, the focus on regulating access services is switching to this area of content delivery.  Targets for accessibility are set by regulatory bodies in each country. For example, in the UK the targets are set by Ofcom, and other regulators include ACMA in Australia, FCC in North America, CRTC in Canada, CSA in France and CNMC in Spain.

However, meeting these guidelines can seem like a daunting challenge for broadcasters that have to work in fast-paced environments that demand constant live content and consistently updated news. This is where companies such as PBT EU come in and can confidently ensure that their broadcast customers are well-prepared ahead of time, to meet these obligations.

CEO of PBT EU Ivanka Vassileva notes, “There is a growing understanding of accessibility, and the definition is broad – from motor disabilities, sensory, to cognitive, the key element is to ensure that content is made accessible to everybody and that no one is excluded. Broadcasters need software that provides them with flexibility so they can enjoy a seamless in-house network to share live output across multiple different production teams on a global scale. With reliable and affordable software systems on the market like SubtitleNEXT, subtitling should no longer be a regulatory burden for broadcasters. SubtitleNEXT is a convenient all-in-one solution that can be used for captioning live events and offline content in real time. It can stream content in multiple formats that are suitable for linear broadcasting, including VOD platforms and social media platforms.”

SubtitleNEXT can also be set up to be based around remote working. Working in live news environments, a system enabling subtitlers to have access to newsrooms running orders is vital, as is the ability to deal with late schedule changes and breaking news.

In addition, it is crucial that skilled professionals working in subtitling have a good command of the language they are working in with regards to spelling and grammar.  Automatic speech recognition (ASR) is becoming more prominent and used by many of PBT EU’s partners and customers such as Linxstream in Dubai and AppTek in the States. AppTek hasintegrated its award-winning NMT, ASR and Intelligent Line Segmentation (ILS) technologies directly into SubtitleNEXT captioning, subtitling and localization platform, further enhancing SubtitleNEXT’s subtitling and captioning workflows.

Veronique Denis is a well-respected accessibility professional and specialist in real-time subtitling with speech recognition and also Co-founder of Max Live Media Access Services in Belgium. She has already been creating accessible audiovisual content for the hearing and visually impaired since 2015. She shares her thoughts on the topic of media accessibility, “Over the last few years, people have started consuming media in a different way: they consume audiovisual content anywhere and anytime. This is challenging for broadcasters wanting to meet accessibility standards and want their content subtitled on different platforms. SubtitleNEXT enables us to meet broadcasters’ demands and high standards by being our one stop shop for all of our subtitling needs: live, semilive or prerecorded, the result is always of high quality.”

Sonya Chakarova who is the Sales and Marketing Director at Pro Systems adds, “We are impressed with PBT EU’s refreshing approach and their impact in the broadcast sector with SubtitleNEXT. This remarkable software platform is playing a relevant role, not only in exceptionally constructive and helpful areas such as advancing accessibility for the hearing-impaired, but also in helping to improve communication and boost subtitling creativity in the broadcasting, media, and creative industries with a viable and affordable solution.”

When it comes to film and television production, Professor Agnieszka Szarkowska who works at the Institute of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warsaw, passionately believes that subtitling is a creative process which requires ample time, experience, and imagination and believes that in order toensure the highest quality in subtitling, filmmakers should be interested in how their subtitled films can “speak” to audiences across the globe. She told the SubtitleNEXT team that she believes subtitling is crucial for the international success of a film, or TV series. “And yet”, she says, “It is surprising how little attention filmmakers typically allocate to subtitling, which – from their perspective – is probably merely an afterthought, a minor part of the post-production process.”

Professor Szarkowska adds further, “I am surprised how many content owners tend to downplay the role of subtitling by resourcing it to people with no experience or by allocating scant amount of funding for subtitling. Filmmakers and content owners need to realise that good quality subtitling is an excellent investment, a brilliant way for their films to travel across borders, and definitely not something where they would want to cut  costs.

Having put so much effort into creating credible film dialogues, filmmakers wouldn’t want their text to be stifled by unidiomatic turn of phrase and poorly synchronised subtitles. When done unprofessionally, subtitling – instead of enabling the viewers immersion into the story world – only shatters their suspension of disbelief, annoys them, makes them switch off and feel disappointed with the film as a whole.”

Defined as an exceptionally dependable subtitling software platform, it is no surprise as to why SubtitleNEXT is referred to by many professionals today as the “subtitler’s lifesaver.” Delivering to high industry standards, the system has an array of immediate resourceful tools and features.

SubtitleNEXT already has a proven track record of success. Throughout the entire pandemic, it has continued to support customers, owing to its flexibility and remote capabilities. Many of the companies that have already adopted SubtitleNEXT include Polsat, Kino Polska, OiV in Croatia, Listen Up in Bulgaria, AMC in Hungary, Hayat, HD Media, OBN, University of Warsaw, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Doli Media Studio and The European School of Translation. Others include Europe’s largest Belgium-based production company Videohouse where SubtitleNEXT was used for well-known TV series such as Big Little Lies, Sirens, Vikings, and others.

Recently Spain’s UCM and Hellenic American College of Greece adopted SubtitleNEXT to equip Masters in Translation students with key localization skills to prepare future subtitlers with a definitive career path to face the pace of demand in the translation and creative industries.

The SubtitleNEXT subtitling platform provides subtitling professionals with many toolsets that can significantly enhance their work, one example being the “live dictation” function which can be used in live subtitling workflows in order to caption news and events in real time which is quite an exciting new development. Many more exciting features have been released and more are on the horizon for 2021.

Visit www.SubtitleNEXT.com for further updates on the latestnews and join the SubtitleNEXT club to stay in the “know”.

More about Ivanka Vassileva, CEO of PBT EU, please visitwww.pbteu.com  

CONTRIBUTORS’ CREDITS



Picture courtesy Liesje Brockley Photograph

 

“The Minari Controversy”

Following the Korean-language movie success of Parasite, which made history in 2020 by becoming the first film in a foreign language to win a best picture Oscar, new American film Minari received a Golden Globe and is now the talk of Tinseltown.

It was directed by American film director / screenwriter Lee Isaac Chung and filmed in America. Minari is unlike “Parasite,” which was a dark satire about class and society in South Korea.

The SubtitleNEXT team approached a few prominent professional language specialists in the industry to get their views on Minari, with regards to subtitles and the awards controversy generally.

The Director of Localization of the Americas at Pixelogic Media as well as the co-founder and Administrator of ATA’s Audiovisual Division, Deborah Wexler offered to share her thoughts on the topic.

Deborah comments on what the Minari controversy is all about, “Minari is an American movie by an American writer filmed in the United States. The film portrays the life of an immigrant family from Korea with two different American Dreams (the wife’s and the husband’s), but seemingly with no place for both. Minari won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign-Language Picture instead of Best Picture.”

Deborah further points out, “Because most of the movie’s dialogue is in Korean, it does not qualify for the Best Picture category. According to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association rules: ‘Motion picture dramas, musicals or comedies with 50% or more English dialogue are eligible for the Best Motion Picture – Drama or Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy awards.’” ¹(See Footnote)

To add fuel to the fire,” Deborah says, “It appears as though there have been exceptions to the rule, and those exceptions were not made for Minari.”

Deborah continues, “The diverse linguistic backgrounds of the US population create the engine that keeps pumping rich and vibrant words that are embraced by the English language as a whole. Some languages have the same number of words in their dictionary as they did three decades ago, but English just keeps expanding its vocabulary.

With the explosion of international  content creation, I would understand if the HFPA felt the need to distinguish between an American film award and an international film award to create a clear geographical distinction (with its own caveats, mind you).

If that is the goal, then one of the possible solutions would be to distinguish language from country of production. Perhaps something like Best Foreign Picture and Best American Picture. That would take language out of the equation.”

Deborah remarks, “This controversy reminds me of a joke I heard back when I was a kid:

[Jill: “I am French and speak French.”

Jack: “I am English and speak English.”

Paul: “I am American and speak English.”

Jack: “Why don’t you speak ‘American,’ Paul?”]

I think Minari does speak ‘American,’ Jack.”


On the topic concerning subtitling, a film like
Minari is certainly good news for boosting subtitles as Professor Agnieszka Szarkowska, who works at the Institute of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warsaw, believes that in order to ensure the highest quality in subtitling, filmmakers should be interested in how their subtitled films can “speak” to audiences across the globe. “I think it’s great to see another success of a non-English speaking film reaching out to international audiences. I am happy to welcome more and more non-English language content which we can be accessed thanks to subtitles.”

Valentina Roldós is a subtitling and translation specialist based in Montevideo in Uruguay where her company Living Subtitles creates subtitles for films, television, DVD, VOD, and online streaming. She provides the following comments on Minari, “It started with Parasite, but once again a Korean-language film is making waves and challenging the mainstream cultural status quo. Minari is not a black comedy, but a sweet family drama. It cannot be just a coincidence that a new Korean-language film, also subtitled, is getting so much attention. Minari has already won multiple awards nominations, including the Golden Globes. It seems that things are definitely starting to change, and subtitles are starting to become more familiar for new audiences worldwide.”

Senior Researcher in Media Localization at the Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantus” in Greece, Dr Stavroula Sokoli shares her observations, “Interestingly, the film director of Minari, Lee Isaac Chung, considered making more of the film in English ‘to dodge the subtitling issue’. He had prepared a second version of the screenplay; in case he couldn’t get financing for a Korean-language film. According to Chung, it was thanks to the production company’s Plan B and the fact that its producer Christina Oh is also Korean American, that he was able to shoot in Korean. But maybe it’s also the fact that, especially after the success of foreign language films like Parasite, subtitles are not seen as such a big barrier any longer.”

Honorary Professor in Translation and Filmmaking at the University of Roehampton in the UK as well as Director of GALMA (Galician Observatory for Media Accessibility) at the Universidade de Vigo in Spain, Pablo Romero-Fresco notes, “Minari is a lovely film and I’m happy to see it’s been nominated for Best Picture at the forthcoming Oscars. It’s a modest but masterful film about the difficulty involved in sinking roots in a foreign land. It’s only fitting that it resorts to subtitles as the modest and deeply-rooted bridge that for so many years has enabled cinema to tell stories across languages and cultures.”

Footnote:

¹Golden Globe Awards Eligibility Descriptions. https://www.goldenglobes.com/sites/default/files/golden_globe_awards_eligibility_descriptions_2020_revisions_approved_3-19-20conformed_5-27-20.pdf

 

CONTRIBUTORS’ CREDITS





Multilingual Film Productions rely on efficient Subtitling

SubtitleNEXT creator Kamen Ferdinandov talks through “what’s NEXT-TT in subtitling software to equip subtitlers”

Subtitles support upcoming filmmakers by providing accuracy and fluency. They play a vital role in ensuring that directors receive the recognition they deserve on the regional and international stage.

Subtitles are beginning to feature in international films. They help movie makers gain global recognition and even win awards.

Now in 2021, subtitles are a hugely important topic more than ever before. Subtitles recently hit the radar again with Minari receiving the Golden Globes award for best “Foreign language film”. The multi-Oscar award-winning South Korean black comedy thriller Parasite made history by winning best picture, a feat that no other subtitled film achieved in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards. The film’s director Bong Joon-ho used his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes to champion subtitles and encouraged audiences not to be put off by international films. He said that once audiences “overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles” they will be introduced to so many amazing films, further noting that we use only one language: “the cinema.”

This outlook reflects the mindset of Profuz Digital’s CTO Kamen Ferdinandov, a passionate and inspiring developer who also believes in opening audiences up to a whole new world. By creating a subtitling application to help surpass language barriers, he hopes to make subtitling more widely accessible and user friendly.

SubtitleNEXT creator Kamen Ferdinandov discusses what’s next in subtitling software to equip subtitlers with efficient toolsets and achieve results that filmmakers require.

From the very beginning, Kamen wanted to make a platform available to everyone at every level. This meant it had to be equipped with familiar text-editing application tools. He set out to make the subtitling software-only platform SubtitleNEXT to achieve just this.

Kamen notes, “No longer are subtitles only deemed necessary for those with impaired hearing but are perceived as imperative to anyone wanting to watch content when in noisy places or with the sound off.”

He points out, “When conducting timed text representations of the spoken text in another language, in other words, translating spoken text from one language into written text into another language, especially in the audio-visual field, you need to pay attention to the time restrictions and cultural differences. Therefore subtitling is never pure text translation, as there should always be some adaptation involved in order to transmit the message of the speaker. However, localisation is key to account for the viewer’s cultural references. The SubtitleNEXT system we have created, offers many helpful tools to assist the translation and interpretation processes incorporated into the new Smart Text Assist features for example. The software offers alternatives and suggestions when preparing subtitles which facilitates translation and adaptation processes, but it also provides additional visual materials such as emojis and a variety of text formatting and styling features which are really useful when interpreting.”

 

Kamen established Profuz Digital back in 2014 with his colleague Ivanka Vassileva to develop software solutions for the digital media industry. With headquarters based in Toronto, they use their R&D Centre in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia as a technology hub. Ivanka is CEO of systems integration firm PBT EU in Bulgaria and naturally took the position of CEO of Profuz Digital as well.

Profuz Digital and its SubtitleNEXT team are constantly evolving to meet the needs of subtitlers. Kamen expands further, “SubtitleNEXT stems from a proven and well-established 30-year legacy based on world-wide renowned subtitling tool for broadcasters “SubtitlePlus”, which originally evolved from “Subtitle”, one of the first file-based subtitling tools. 2016 marked the year that SubtitlePlus quickly migrated to the fully-fledged product SubtitleNEXT that is used today by many subtitling professionals. By referencing a system as “legacy” means that it paved the way for the standards that would follow and that it is tried and tested, solid, trusted and a reliable product that has had time to prove itself to the market.”

SubtitleNEXT is used by the likes of the University of Warsaw, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Polsat, Doli Media Studio, The European School of Translation and Europe’s largest Belgium-based production company Videohouse, where it was used on well-known TV series such as Big Little Lies, Sirens, Vikings and many more. In addition, the Hellenic American College of Greece invested in SubtitleNEXT to equip Masters in Translation students with key localization skills to prepare future subtitlers with a definitive career path to face the pace of demand in the translation and creative industries.

Defined as reliable timed-text subtitling software, it is no surprise why SubtitleNEXT is referred to by many professionals today as the “subtitler’s lifesaver”. Delivering to high industry standards, the system has an array of immediate resourceful tools and features. Available in a single compact application, it punches above its weight and can be put to work on heavy deadline-driven workloads.

Primarily aimed at audio-visual translation freelance professionals, through to Language Services Providers, production, post-production companies and broadcasters, SubtitleNEXT has proven itself as a time-saving, but also a productive profit-making product to media organisations worldwide.

Another exciting offering on the market is the localisation platform NEXT-TT – Profuz Digital’s complete cloud solution that combines SubtitleNEXT with Profuz LAPIS – already adopted by the likes of Canal + Myanmar FG, Linxstream Media, Doli Media Studios and IT Pros Subtitles.

“NEXT-TT can be configured to work in a “hybrid” way.” Kamen adds, “ Profuz LAPIS is our dedicated business management system that ties all business processes under one roof and adds an additional layer of security and creates a single environment to control the management, usage, structure, storage of business data and audiovisual processes. We want our customers to enjoy a user-friendly interface that anyone in their organisation can understand, and NEXT-TT is designed to be convenient and easy to use.”

Kamen continues, “SubtitleNEXT’s impact on Profuz Digital due to its historical role has been a positive one. To have an established product that the market already believes in, provides a great foundation to build further features that can bring efficiency speed and proficiency to users in a busy environment. In essence, the Profuz Digital outlook has always been fully committed to deliver simpler and versatile solutions without compromising functionality and performance.”

Kamen concludes, “Our secret is that even if we have a lot of experience we listen carefully to what everyone has to say, and we genuinely care about the challenges the industry faces. As a team, we take an interest. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have ensured that our systems can be used remotely where required to serve our clients. We encourage feedback and use it to implement positive changes, develop new capabilities to deliver ground-breaking functionalities that benefit users more than ever before. We never stop evolving, learning, and growing on this exciting journey, and we want to make subtitling fun for everyone to enjoy, across various genres, appealing to the novice and the pro!”

Further information and a free trial, visit www.subtitleNEXT.com and  https://profuzdigital.com/about-us/

Filmmakers are missing a trick when they don’t use Subtitles

Subtitling is an art form  – it combines linguistic skill, technical expertise and creativity

 

For a film to be a global hit, high quality subtitles are key and a worthwhile investment.

 

Production managers, studios, directors, and producers benefit from being aware of how significant subtitling is in a competitive global market, and that it adds substantial value to the final product.

 

Subtitling is a vital linguistic, creative, and technical skill that can provide lucrative opportunities for film and television businesses.  It includes disciplines such as translation and interpretation and involves adaptation and localization techniques that help the meaning to resonate with multilingual audiences across the globe.

 

A few leading experts in subtitling within the film industry and from major universities across Europe shared their insights with the SubtitleNEXT team recently into why subtitling needs to be considered at the start of production and also what it entails in terms of what the differences are between interpreting and translating and how localization comes in.

 

This week we feature Ivanka Vassileva, who is a dynamic Language Services Professional and also the CEO of systems integration firm PBT EU, resellers of the SubtitleNEXT system designed and developed by Profuz Digital.

 

Ivanka notes, “Filmmakers are missing a trick if they don’t consider subtitles at the start of the process.” Ivanka Vassileva, CEO of PBT EU states. “By using subtitles that appeal to a wider global audience, they can boost revenues and provide content creators with the potential to reach a vast global audience.”

 

Running through a brief overview of what industry-leading experts told us recently on this topic, we heard from Lukasz Dutka, a member of AVT Lab, a research group on audio-visual translation and a trainer in subtitling at the University of Warsaw, Poland. He said that “with eye-tracking technology you can study how people view movies and how subtitles affect the viewing process.”

Dr Vasilis Manousakis, who is the Literature, Literary and Audiovisual Translation instructor at Hellenic American College in Athens, and a skilled successful subtitling artist in his own right, having subtitled and translated a broad range of genres, series and films produced by Disney, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. and Netflix, including “Lost”, “The Good Place”, “Star Wars” and “Game of Thrones”,  told us that subtitling is an integral part of any movie that wants to be internationally successful and is a link in the chain of the production of any movie.

 

Riccardo Mimmi, who is an accomplished professional film translator and subtitler in Italy has been translating and subtitling hundreds of high profile movies, TV series, and documentaries from major Hollywood studios, broadcast networks and online streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon over the course of his entire career, such as ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘Vikings’, ‘The Americans’, ‘The Office’ and others, points out, “Something apparently as simple as a different cut of the film could result in a different translation choice due to time, colour, sound, or other factors. Part of a subtitler’s job can be regarded as that of a film dialogue author. A paramount goal is to maintain the meaning and especially the impact of the original version while also keeping the dialogue interesting, entertaining, and suited to the target audience, without losing each character’s personality. A plain translation might in fact be faithful to the original but also very boring to the viewers, hence ruining the experience. Adding the technical constraints of subtitles to the equation, the translation might deviate from the most obvious or straightforward solution, so to that end, collaboration and communication with the filmmakers at all stages should be encouraged, ensuring their creative intent and characterization is fulfilled.”

 

Subtitling Team Leader at IT Pros Monica Paolillo recently wrote an article titled “Why subtitling can be considered an art form” where she outlined that subtitling is not just about studying languages or speaking multiple languages fluently. In subtitling, she says, you don’t just transfer ideas and words to make them accessible to the reader in the target language. She insists that “Subtitlers carry a message and stand in-between cultural settings, straddling the languages they work with the way simultaneous interpreters do. They have a profound knowledge of idioms and slang both in the source and target languages.”

 

AV translator and subtitler Valentina Stagnaro told us she works like a surgeon while picking up words and making them fit into character limitations.

 

AVT and transcreation professional Serban Dudau with a wide-reaching portfolio including high-end titles such as `The Crown`, `Black Mirror`, `Mad Men` and many others adds that subtitling in its basic form should ideally be as close to invisible as possible, in that the text which interprets the media for the audience must be so well blended into the experience that nothing important on-screen is missed and the viewer never has to feel as if they are reading instead of watching.

 

Independent writer and AV translator Dorthe Pedersen declares that you need to have good interpretation skills and be able to make a translation that fits in context. You also have to be able to time subtitles and make them readable, and feels that sadly, subtitling often seems like an afterthought.

 

Elena Konotopova who is the CFO of RuFilms LLC (School of Audiovisual Translation) and President of The Association of translators and editors of subtitles “Eurasian subtitlers’ league” (ESL) reveals that the success of Russian cartoons and TV series worldwide was based on skilful localization that was incorporated into the production process from the very start saying, “It wasn’t just a post-production issue. Subtitling as a part of the localization bundle was integrated into the business planning of TV and cartoon producers., and localization really encountered the production process.”

 

Professor Agnieszka Szarkowska of the Institute of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warsaw stated, “Subtitling is crucial for the international success of a film, TV series or show. And yet, it’s surprising how little attention filmmakers typically allocate to subtitling, which – from their perspective – is probably merely an afterthought, a minor part of the post-production process. shatters their suspension of disbelief, annoys them, makes them switch off and feel disappointed with the film as a whole.”

 

To round up, Ivanka Vassileva concludes with these words, “Reflecting on all the excellent contributions received concerning this important topic, Monica Paolillo’s words also resonate with the creative industries such as the film industry with production and post-production, in that subtitling is considered an art form. Subtitling is an art in my view too, because it not only requires linguistic skill or language knowledge, but it also demands technical expertise and creativity with regards to adapting and transferring the original message in the best possible way for the viewer.

 

Our SubtitleNEXT subtitling platform offers subtitling professionals many toolsets that can enhance their work, one example being the “live dictation” function which can be used in live subtitling workflows in order to caption news and events in real time which is quite an exciting new development. There is a lot more we have released since then and more to come on the horizon for 2021. Visit our website www.SubtitleNEXT.com for further updates on our latest news. We always have an exciting new feature to try out and we welcome you to join the SubtitleNEXT club!”

More about Ivanka Vassileva, CEO of PBT EU, please visit www.pbteu.com

Note: We conclude this series of blogs in early March, so keep an eye out for final Blog 11 where the team hears from CTO Kamen Ferdinandov, creator and developer of the popular software system SubtitleNEXT.  Kamen is always busy working on the next feature, and he will provide insight on this timely topic, which has become more relevant than ever in the current pandemic.

With more people having to adapt to working remotely and relying on accessible tools online, and in need of staying connected globally at the same time, SubtitleNEXT’s subtitling capabilities play a key role in many media facilities including film productions.  By leading content creators to provide multilingual content, subtitling as a skill plays a major role in helping companies navigate and change how they work for the better.

SubtitleNEXT welcomes further comments from professional subtitlers out there who would like to contribute to this discussion, as we need to keep the topic going and keep the industry engaged. Please send us your words of wisdom and we will feature them in a new series on this topic in the future. Email info@subtitleNEXT.com

Subtitling entails Imagination and is an exciting Creative Process

Quality subtitling is a brilliant way for films to travel across borders

 

Subtitlers are experienced professionals that filmmakers need to involve right from the start. Their vital role is to adapt the script to fit within the video or film’s timing. This is skilful work. High quality subtitles demand time and precision and rely on specialised professionals with experience in translating and using subtitling software, such as the SubtitleNEXT system.

When it comes to filmmaking, Professor Agnieszka Szarkowska, who works at the Institute of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warsaw, believes subtitles are so often treated as a mere after-thought, and ought to be considered right at the very start of film production planning.

She believes that in order to ensure the highest quality in subtitling, filmmakers should be interested in how their subtitled films can “speak” to audiences across the globe.”

Subtitles help promote growth and increase profits. Content creators can reach vast global audiences by reaching people who speak in different languages.

Professor Agnieszka told the SubtitleNEXT team that she believes subtitling is crucial for the international success of a film, TV series or show. She says, “And yet, it’s surprising how little attention filmmakers typically allocate to subtitling, which – from their perspective – is probably merely an afterthought, a minor part of the post-production process.”

Adding further Professor Agnieszka notes, “I am surprised how many content owners tend to downplay the role of subtitling by resourcing it to people with no experience or by allocating scant amount of funding for subtitling. Filmmakers and content owners need to realise that good quality subtitling is an excellent investment, a brilliant way for their films to travel across borders, and definitely not something where they would want to cut  costs.”

“Having put so much effort into creating credible film dialogues, filmmakers wouldn’t want their text to be stifled by unidiomatic turn of phrase and poorly synchronised subtitles. When done unprofessionally, subtitling – instead of enabling the viewers immersion into the story world – only shatters their suspension of disbelief, annoys them, makes them switch off and feel disappointed with the film as a whole.” She adds further.

In conclusion, Professor Agnieszka says that subtitling is a creative process which requires ample time, experience, and imagination. “At the University of Warsaw, we teach subtitling as part of our specialised translation and interpreting programme, stressing the uniqueness of this type of translation, and using specialised, professional subtitling tools. Unlike written translation, subtitling is bound by numerous constraints and synchronisation requirements. Unlike interpreting, subtitling requires conciseness and text condensation. It comes with its own unique set of rules and standards. It is therefore crucial that subtitling is done in line with professional standards. To ensure high quality in subtitling, I believe that filmmakers should become interested in how their films travel across borders and make sure their subtitled films “speak” to audiences across the globe.”

For more information about Professor Agnieszka Szarkowska, visit https://avt.ils.uw.edu.pl/https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnieszka-szarkowska-7803b43/

The defining element of subtitling is ultimately on-screen

“Timing the subtitles to the media, may be viewed in itself as a profession akin to video editing”

In our 8th blog of the series, we received invaluable feedback from Serban Dudau who is an AVT and transcreation professional who specialises in subtitling.  Armed with an impressive and vast portfolio of high-end titles behind his name, such as `The Crown`, `Black Mirror`, `Mad Men` among  many others, he says he encourages content creators to integrate subtitling as much as possible.

His catchphrase “Subtitling is at most 50% translationhas raised many eyebrows over the years.  He says the reason is simple and explains further, “The discipline is surrounded by an aura of mystery and confusion both within the conglomerate of translation-related professions that are known as the “localization industry” and, more severely, within the filmmaking sphere, which heavily relies on it the era of globalization and its inherent accessibility demands. But I have always found it a good conversation starter on the particulars of the media / subtitling dynamic.”

Serban claims that subtitling in its basic form should ideally be as close to invisible as possible, in that the text which interprets the media for the audience must be so well blended into the experience that nothing important on-screen is missed and the viewer never has to feel as if they are reading instead of watching.

He further notes, “The defining element of subtitling is ultimately on-screen, which encompasses both its transformative limitations and creative potential and gives it its unique complexity and character. Spotting, or in laymen’s terms, timing the subtitles to the media, may be viewed in itself as a profession akin to video editing, whereby the containers of the adapted text have to adhere to the creative intention as displayed in the direction and editing of the media, in an interpretative fashion.”

Serban says that this is all achieved while also having to adhere to highly specific technical and linguistic requirements such as limited reading speed that viewers are able to handle, while still observing the action, and continuing with a number of characters per line, number of lines, line breaks, formatting, continuity, character sets, fonts, text size, screen positioning and a whole range of other aspects.

“These are the objects of heavily principled practices that have been developed over decades in different schools of thought and locales, and also of sustained research from the fields of film studies to eye-tracking and to linguistics. The majority of these are, very importantly, open to further interpretative processes and integration into the process of filmmaking, for those content creators willing to open up to the complexities of this complementary profession which makes media functional, but also transforms it, and as such must always be taken into proper consideration as early in the creative process as possible.”

Subtitling is not just a post production issue, it needs to be integrated into the entire business plan

Global success of film productions rely on skilful localization at inception

 To kick off a brand new month now that we are into February, we continue with the theme of how subtitles ought to be considered at the start of the entire filmmaking process. In subtitling, the translation of a message needs to be adapted, and that requires a special skill known as localization that has been refined by professionals in this area. A subtitler’s role is to adapt the script to fit within the timing of the video or film. This work requires highly experienced specialised professionals with experience in translating video or film and using subtitling software.

In our blog this week, we unveil insights provided by Elena Konotopova who is the CFO of RuFilms LLC (School of Audiovisual Translation) and also the President of The Association of translators and editors of subtitles “Eurasian subtitlers’ league” (ESL).

Elena believes that the success of Russian cartoons and TV series worldwide was based on skilful localization that was incorporated into the production process from the very inception of future hits.  “It wasn’t just a post-production issue” she says “Subtitling as a part of the localization bundle was integrated into the business planning of TV and cartoon producers.”

Elena adds, “Actually it happened because the Russian TV and cinema market alone wasn’t enough to return the investments, but a few worldwide sales turned a cartoon series into a profitable venture. This was where subtitling, and localization really encountered the production process.”

Subtitling is a vital linguistic, creative, and technical skill that can provide lucrative opportunities for film and television businesses.  It includes disciplines such as translation and interpretation and involves adaptation and localization techniques that help the meaning to resonate with multilingual audiences across the globe.

In brief, interpreters translate spoken language orally in real-time, while translators translate the written text.  Regarding delivery, interpretation takes place on the spot and can be live, for example in political interviews that are broadcast on news channels.  Interpreters transpose the source language within context, preserving its original meaning, and rephrase colloquialisms, sayings, idioms, and other cultural references. Translation, on the other hand, can occur long after the source text is created. This gives translators time to make use of subtitling technologies to generate accurate, high-quality translation texts.

Interpreters are fluent in both the source and target language, whereas translators typically work in one direction translating into their mother tongue.  Both translators and interpreters have to face the challenges that analogies, colloquialism, idioms, metaphors, in-jokes, and slang bring into the mix. Interpreters also capture tone, inflections, voice quality, and other elements of the spoken word and convey these verbal cues to audiences.

To find out more about Elena Konotopova’s work, she has provided the series of links below: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/elena-konotopova-54891162/
http://avt-school.ru
http://rusubtitles.com/
http://easubtitlersleague.com/

Why Subtitling can be considered an Art Form

Subtitlers carry a message and stand in-between cultural settings

Monica Paolillo is the Subtitling Team Leader at IT Pros (www.itpros.it). She recently wrote an article titled “Why subtitling can be considered an art form” where she outlined that subtitling is not just about studying languages or speaking multiple languages fluently.

In the article she quotes Henrik Gotlieb, summing up subtitling’s key role in the film industry today:

“Due to the complex nature of subtitling,
the subtitler must possess the musical ears of an interpreter,
the stylistic sensitivity of a literary translator,
the visual acuteness of a film cutter and
the aesthetic sense of a book designer”.

Monica feels strongly that subtitling is more in line with interpreting skills, rather than translation in itself.  In subtitling, you don’t just transfer ideas and words to make them accessible to the reader in the target language she says. “Subtitlers carry a message and stand in-between cultural settings, straddling the languages they work with the way simultaneous interpreters do. They have a profound knowledge of idioms and slang both in the source and target languages.”

Monica shares her thoughts on why producers and directors should consider subtitling at the start of film production, and not at the end in the post production phase:-  “In an industry where the required skills don’t seem sufficiently clear, the very perception of subtitle quality from the point of view of the client, director, producer and the audience is obviously biased. There must be thousands of subtitle translators out there producing low quality subtitles, what I very personally call “binnable subtitles”, subtitles that are of no use to anyone, but very few professionals taking on the whole subtitle production chain and contributing high quality to the industry. Thinking about subtitling in the production phase would obviously be ideal.”

She continues, “These days international distribution is a must and subtitlers play a crucial role in a context where viewers are global and thirsty for new, engaging, exotic audiovisual content, for stories coming from different parts of the world, as a way to learn and practice foreign languages, and a way to absorb different cultures. Therefore subtitlers literally accompany the audience in a completely new adventure.”

More generally, Monica adds that what she finds lacking in the industry is awareness at all levels. “Universities should be aware of the role they play when they train future subtitlers, and not just instil frustration and delusion. Graduates should be aware that they might be great translators with a dictionary and references at hand, but not necessarily great interpreters or subtitlers and refrain from jumping on the subtitling bandwagon just because they like the idea. Directors and screenwriters should be aware that if it took them one year to write a film dialogue, they shouldn’t expect subtitlers to rewrite it in three days. Film editors should be aware that if they use just a few frames for a shot change, on-screen text, and dialogue all at the same time, that it is going to cause issues in the subtitling stage. In a nutshell, we’re working under far from ideal conditions which ultimately impact how subtitling is perceived within the industry and beyond.”

On the expansive topic of interpreting and translation vs. subtitling, Monica elaborates further, “As one of just a bunch of small Italian companies focused on subtitling only, universities for language studies often reach out to us to promote their students for possible internship and training opportunities. Subtitling is creative, it’s dynamic, it’s special, you could say it’s sexy, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, quite the opposite. If only universities informed their students of what it is about and trained them accordingly, maybe poor-quality subtitling wouldn’t be so widespread at this point and students, subtitlers and clients would be less frustrated.”

Monica further outlines what defines subtitling and the skills involved, “The very adjective “audiovisual” is a total game changer and turns translation into something that is definitely more similar to interpreting. Just like in the interpreting setting, you will have to deal with the spoken language, with idioms and cultural references. Just like in the interpreting scenario, a dictionary will not help you out. Just like in the consecutive interpreting context, where you summarise a speech under time pressures, you will have to be able to determine quickly what matters and what doesn’t and leave all unnecessary and redundant parts out. Just like in the simultaneous interpreting setting, you will work in a fast-paced environment with an almost instant production as content is always subtitled “by yesterday”.

In this scenario, your language proficiency will have to be comparable to that of a native speaker and you will have to use your work languages in the most natural way. When that happens, then you can invest all your time and resources in developing the necessary skills you need to become a professional subtitler: timecoding, dialogue division, text condensation, guidelines and standards and much more.”

Monica Paolillo:

Involve localization experts at all stages of film production

Subtitlers ensure creative intent is fulfilled

Riccardo Mimmi (www.auvitranslator.pro), accomplished professional film translator and subtitler in  Italy, believes that involving subtitling and localization experts at the earliest stages of film production can prove to be extremely useful.
He has been translating and subtitling hundreds of high-profile movies, TV series, and documentaries from major Hollywood studios, broadcast networks and online streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon over the course of his entire career, such as ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘Vikings’, ‘The Americans’, ‘The Office’ and many others.
He points out, “Something apparently as simple as a different cut of the film could result in a different translation choice due to time, colour, sound, or other factors. Part of a subtitler’s job can be regarded as that of a film dialogue author. A paramount goal is to maintain the meaning and especially the impact of the original version while also keeping the dialogue interesting, entertaining, and suited to the target audience, without losing each character’s personality. A plain translation might in fact be faithful to the original but also very boring to the viewers, hence ruining the experience. Adding the technical constraints of subtitles to the equation, the translation might deviate from the most obvious or straightforward solution, so to that end, collaboration and communication with the filmmakers at all stages should be encouraged, ensuring their creative intent and characterization is fulfilled.”

More about Riccardo Mimmi:

www.auvitranslator.pro

www.linkedin.com/in/riccardomimmi/

www.imdb.com/name/nm10412207/

Multilingual films increase vital income streams for Film Productions

Capturing the meaning in Context using Subtitles

Subtitles can boost income opportunities. Social media platforms alone are accessed by over 3 billion people across the globe, and by going multilingual, content creators can reach global audiences.

 

Subtitles should never be an after-thought and should be considered right at the start of the production phase.

 

For a film or TV documentary to be successful internationally, high quality subtitles are a worthwhile investment.  Those who have a say in production budgets, whether it be the studio, director, or producers, need to be made aware of how significant subtitling is in a global market, and that it can add substantial value to the final product.

 

Subtitling is a vital linguistic, creative, and technical skill that can provide lucrative opportunities for film and television businesses.

 

As part of our series of SubtitleNEXT blogs on the topic, we interviewed leading experts in subtitling within the film industry and from major universities across Europe to share their insights into why subtitling needs to be considered at the start of production.

 

This week, we hear from independent writer and AV translator Dorthe Pedersen.  She declares that subtitling is a diverse job. She explains how on one day she might be translating a comedy, which entails creativity with language and puns, and then on another day, she might be working on a documentary about the Russian revolution for example, which requires much more research and accuracy.

 

Regardless of the content, she regards subtitling as an incredibly intuitive job.

 

“You need to have good interpretation skills and be able to make a translation that fits in context. You also have to be able to time subtitles and make them readable. I think the use of locked templates, which is sadly a quite common phenomenon these days, puts little trust in the subtitler’s capability and lowers the overall quality of subtitles. Locked templates make for strange division, forcing you to leave in unnecessary things, and omit more important information due to space limitation.”

 

Dorthe goes on to say that in fiction, the best subtitles are the ones where the translator manages to capture exactly what is being said, without saying exactly what is being said.

 

“A good example of this is the use of girl/bro in American colloquial language.” She explains, “In my language people don’t go around calling each other” girl” or “bro”. It’s also not used to express surprise, disbelief, anger, or amazement as it can in Americanised English. Here the subtitler really has to read the person saying it and convey the meaning into the target language. In this situation the subtitler is making an important interpretation on the behalf of the audience. A good subtitler or dubbing translator can make this difficult task look effortless.”

 

Dorthe feels that sadly, subtitling often seems like an afterthought. More and more companies are looking for cost-efficient ways to delivery localization. She notes, “When millions are being spent on creating a movie or show in the first place, why are subtitles only seen as a necessary evil that have to be as cheap as possible? In the end, subtitles can determine the level of success for a show or film. An example comes to mind of the Oscar winning film “Parasite”, where the subtitles were praised and seen as an important factor in taking home the statue.”

 

Find further information about Dorthe Pederson here https://www.linkedin.com/in/dorthe-pedersen-581746160/

For more information about subtitling software platform SubtitleNEXT, please visit www.SubtitleNEXT.com