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