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!”