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: (