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3 Tips for High Quality Video Translation and Subtitling

Three tips for world class video translation and subtitles

You know that you want your video to reach a global audience. Your script is written and actors cast. Now how can you ensure your video will have the smoothest subtitles and make your video ready for its close-up? Here are 3 tips to accomplish stellar video translation and make your video worthy of international stardom.

Tip 1: Speak Slowly

Some might think that speaking slowly when there are subtitles shouldn’t be an issue since the viewer isn’t actually listening to the speaker, right? Wrong. When your translation agency places subtitles into your masterpiece, they should be following some best practices to give you the highest quality end product. One of these best practices is limiting the number of words on the screen at any given time. This allows the viewer enough time to read the text. If the speaker speaks too fast, the subtitles might disappear before the viewer has had a chance to read them completely, thereby forcing the viewer to rush through your message.

Another aspect of this problem is text expansion. Text expansion means that the target language text takes more space than the source language text. For example, let’s say you already provided subtitles in English (the source language) for your English video and you now want to translate these subtitles to German (the target language).  It’s not uncommon for German subtitles to be 35-40% longer than English subtitles. So, all of sudden, there is up to 40% more text required on your German subtitles, yet your English speaker is speaking more quickly than the German reader can absorb the German subtitles.

Lastly, if you must speak quickly due to video time constraints, it is only polite to pause between sentences to allow your subtitles time to catch up.

Tip 2: Create Consistent Space for Subtitles

Many videos contain on-screen text. This can be a banner telling your viewer the name of the individual speaking, a white board filled with equations, or any number of other helpful visual elements. Sometimes, this text will even be placed at the bottom center of the screen for the clear viewing pleasure of your audience. Unfortunately, this will cause a problem for your translation agency.

When on-screen text occupies this desired real estate, your agency is forced to move the position of the subtitles to keep them from blocking the existing on-screen text. This sort of jumping around can confuse your audience and obscure your message. Instead, try moving your on-screen banners off to the side and raising them a bit. This will help your subtitles maintain consistency.

But what if your whole screen (as in the whiteboard scenario) needs to remain readable? One solution is to add an empty strip to the bottom of your video providing a space where your subtitles can reside.

Tip 3: Professional Translations Make The Difference

Just as you wouldn’t hire an actor who is not a good speaker for your video, you shouldn’t settle for a low-quality translation agency to help you launch your video internationally. No matter how smoothly and beautifully the text flies across the screen, if you don’t have quality translation your credibility may be questioned. Finding out if you have the best translation possible can be tricky. Check out Getting The Best Translation Possible: 3 Things To Consider to learn more.

Time for your video to hit the box office!

 Congratulations! You are now ready to launch your video for your adoring fans. By following these three simple tips you will ensure a high-quality experience for your viewers around the globe. If you need any help with video translation and the subtitling of your next video, don’t hesitate to contact us at Venga for a free quote.

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