Enhance The Visual Experience With Subtitling

By Chiara Grassilli
In Subtitling
Feb 5th, 2018

How To Enhance The Visual Experience With Subtitling?

If you’ve ever watched a foreign film produced in another language, you may have read the onscreen subtitles to understand the dialogues of the characters. Subtitling is designed to seamlessly blend into the film and allow you to enjoy the pictures without distraction.

Subtitling, in itself, is a form of art. There are unique rules and standards that are followed to make sure your viewers can understand the film. We will see that you can either add subtitles in the original language or in the language of your target viewers.Through translation, subtitling takes the native language of your film and translates it into the language of the target country. It takes into account cultural nuances of the country you are looking to reach with your production.

In both cases, you must follow some strict subtitling guidelines. Failure to adhere to these guidelines can produce results that are unpleasant to read and can even disturb the experience of the film. For subtitling to be effective for example, it needs to follow the scenes, stay on screen enough time to be read but not too much so that it is still on when the next scenes starts. In a sentence, it must help the viewers to immerse themselves into the story.


Take Your Message Globally With Subtitling

Your film can benefit from the use of subtitling as you look to take it globally. While English may be your preferred language of communication, it may not be the language that your customers understand.

If you want a truly international film or documentary, you need to make it easy to understand for the other countries where you want to export it. Some countries prefer to dub their films before broadcasting to their audience. Spain is an example of a country where most films are dubbed before being broadcasted. In Portugal on the other hand, most films are broadcasted in the original language, but with subtitles. You can imagine that subtitles allows you to broadcast films to customers that are located all over the world in a much more cost-effective way.

When it comes to the language of the subtitles, you have two choices: you can decide to add subtitles in the original language or to add subtitles that translate the dialogues. Say the original film was created in French. You might add subtitles in French so that an English person who studied French can follow the dialogues by both listening and reading the subtitles, if she misses something. This is helpful because even if people studied a language, it’s always harder to understand the spoken language than the written version. So by adding subtitles you’re already helping your viewers even if the subtitles are in the same language as the original dialogues.

But you can actually decide to add subtitles that translate the dialogues into the language of the country you want to reach. In that case, you first must subtitle in the original language, then translate the subtitles. It’s double work but it’s definitely worth it, because in that case you can reach people who do not speak that language at all.

Making your content readable and understandable by each market you are looking to enter can definitely grow your international reach and help you grow your audience by communicating in multiple languages without having to dub the film. 


An International Need For Subtitling

There are several ways you may want to consider employing subtitling in your audiovisual content for global consumption. TV programs and films can be subtitled to allow for viewing in the foreign marketplaces through subtitling, allowing more people to watch and enjoy the storyline you have created.

Video games are another area where subtitling is important. More international gamers will be drawn to a video game that is presented in their own language through translated subtitling. Even streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Film are offering subtitling with their content to give viewers from all over the world the opportunity to enjoy films even if they don’t speak the language it was created in.


Add Localization To Your Subtitling

When considering subtitling, you need to think about the importance of localization. With localization, you’ll be able incorporate subtitles that are specific to each country or region you are looking to reach. Keep in mind that this is true not only for the different languages you want to translate your subtitles to, but also to the different dialects or regional version of a language. 

For example, there are many Spanish-speaking countries around the world, but each has their own specificities, that are unique to their region. Dismissing localization within your subtitling can make it challenging for viewers to fully relate to your film. They may be turned off by the translation they see in the subtitles because it just doesn’t make sense to them.


The Ins And Outs Of Subtitling

Subtitling must follow specific guidelines. These guidelines are in place to make sure subtitles are easy to read for the viewers and convey the dialogs correctly. By using a maximum of two lines of text on the screen for each scene, the viewer is able to experience the film as it was intended, enjoying both the images and the dialogues.

Subtitling uses a maximum of 35 characters per line to make sure it is quick and easy to read. It displays on the screen no longer than six seconds and changes along with the scene of your audiovisual. Scenes that move quickly must use subtitles with even fewer characters and stay on-screen for less time, to make sure the viewer can keep up with the action that is being displayed. This is called spotting and it helps the subtitles to enter and exit the scene according to the audio, camera shot, and scene. Translation, adaptation, and localization are also used by your professional translation services to make sure the film is produced with subtitles that translate the message in the right way.

By adding subtitles to your audiovisual content, you are able to maximize the global distribution of your audiovisual content and get your message into the hands of the masses.


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About "" Has 117 Posts

Since an early age I have been passionate about languages. I hold a Master's degree in Translation and Interpreting, and I have worked as a freelance translator for several years. I specialize in Marketing, Digital Marketing, Web and Social Media. I love blogging and I also run the blog www.italiasocialmedia.com

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