The Future of Subtitling


There are over 6,000 languages spoken in the world. Sharing stories about things that make us laugh, love, cry, feel show us how we are all not as different as we think. “Without translation, we would be living in provinces bordering on silence.” George Steiner, writer.

In an ever more globalized world, the future of subtitling looks bright. The number of subtitled programs has grown year on year. Subtitles were first developed 35 years ago and we have come a long way since then. More and more, content providers are making their content accessible, from Broadcast to Enterprise, Education to Government.

New advances in technology have made possible to rise and consolidation of subtitling. While voice recognition has aided in speeding up the subtitling process, the technology is not quite there yet and needs further advances.

Live Broadcast subtitling has always been an exhausting task. But since 2000, it has become less expensive and technically complex with the introduction of voice recognition technology.

Since this addition to the market, the number of live broadcasts that are subtitled has mushroomed.

VOD services are becoming increasingly common. VOD content is accessible on more than 1,000 different devices, and getting subtitles to appear accurately across all platforms can be a logistical ordeal.

More and more, we are seeing subtitles appearing on video sharing websites such as YouTube, using machine-generated captions. The next logical advancement is live content streamed online with captions and/or subtitles. If this is the next step, the industry will need legal regulations for live steamed content, in the same way it is regulated on broadcast.

About the author:

Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of – An education in the art of subtitling.

GOSUB was born from a passion and enthusiasm for subtitling and teaching.

Having started as a linguistic teacher and then moving on to become the Operations Manager of a leading subtitling agency, Kelly used her know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audiovisual courses.

From her years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, she has learnt a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. She decided to couple this involvement with her other skill set, which is teaching.


2 thoughts on “The Future of Subtitling

  1. An interesting article. Subtitling is indeed increasing when films and TV shows are spreading to the Internet.

    However, by my experience subtitles have been around much longer than 35 years. In countries that do not dub (e.g. Scandinavian countries and Netherlands), there have been subtitles in movie theaters as long as there have been sound movies, for over 80 years, and in TV as long as there has been TV broadcasting.


  2. Yes it is, and so is dubbing (for Children’s videos and programs), however, it is amazing, how many films, do NOT, have a selection of subtitles, irrespective of the movies having been subtitled at time of showing.


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