Key Quality Checking Guidelines – Subtitling/Closed captioning

quality-checkAnyone with experience in subtitling and/or closed captioning knows and understands only too well the importance of performing a thorough quality check of the file before submitting the final project to the client.

To ensure a file is properly quality checked, there are a number points that we need to take into consideration.

Before you start working on any file, make sure you have read all the target language specifications. Pay special attention to: Reading Speed, Character limitation, Italics, Continuity, Dual Speakers, Forced Narratives, Punctuation and Quotes.

  • Position the subtitle according to the client’s specs
    • Horizontally (alignment: left, centred, left-centred, right)
    • Vertically (bottom or top)
  • Format/style. Formats captions according to the client’s specs.
    • Format in italics
    • Format Forced Narratives (All caps, mixed case…)
    • Format songs
    • Format dual speaker subs (dialogue captions)
  • Timing
    • Check cues (in and out) according to the start and end of pronunciation
    • Shot changes
    • Important (plot relevant) speech pauses
    • Min/max durations
  • Text
    • Fix line breaks (between subs and between lines within each sub) according to units of sense and punctuation.
    • Check ellipses
    • Keep consistent naming
    • In-depth proofreading: Punctuation and typos

Final quality checks:

  • Inconsistent cues, gaps between subtitles, raised subtitles, subtitles without text, non-printable characters.

Remember to always check the video until the very end of the video (including credits): Look for extra footage, dialogues, ending credits’ songs, etc.

About the author:

Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB.tv – 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.

www.gosub.tv

3 Myths about Subtitling

myths

Myth #1
Translators charge too much for a job that Google Translator does in 2 seconds.
The only people who seem to have this mindset are those who have never dealt with any type of translation previously. They may compare your translation costs to what they can get for free with Google Translate.
Translation clients that have been in the translation business understand the difference between automatic and professional translation services and, hence the need, for professional services.

Myth #2
Just because someone can speak two languages means that they can be a translator.
Solely being bilingual doesn’t qualify someone to translate. Translation is not an automated or emotionless process of transforming one sentence in language A into language B.
It is a rather complex art form in which idioms and thoughts have to be translated in such a way that the meaning is accurately and clearly expressed to the listener without losing the feel and the sense of language A.

Myth#3
The demand for human translations will soon fade.
Software and automated translations can give the gist of a foreign tongue, but for business and professional use, rough is not enough.
Translation requires a deep understanding of language. This ability lies far away on the horizon of machine translation.
Technology is a tool that helps them keep up changing times and with the surging demand for translations however it is far from replacing humans.
There is no doubt, machine translations and automated transcriptions save time and money but they almost always end up creating inaccuracies and errors.
Technology may not replace human translators, but it will help them work better.

About the author:
Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB.tv – 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.
www.gosub.tv

How captions add value

images

Closed Captions are subtitles that not only display the dialogue of the TV program or film, but provide additional or interpretive information. This additional information typically includes speaker IDs, sound effects and musical cues.

Closed Captions are generally used by the deaf or hard-of-hearing, but are also often used when the audio is not available or not clearly audible, for example, when the audio is muted in a bar or restaurant.

They are also used as a tool by those learning to read or speak a new language. For example, in the United Kingdom, of 7.5 million people using TV subtitles (closed captioning), 6 million have no hearing impairment.

Films with captions guarantee equal opportunities to people with disabilities and they give everyone equal access to enjoy all the great content that is produced around the world.

One thing that’s important to remember when creating a Closed Caption file is that the captions must match the spoken words in the dialogue and convey background noises and other sounds to the fullest extent possible, as they are aimed at the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

If someone is watching a show with captions, they ought to have the same sort of experience. If someone says ‘Kill that bitch!’ then caption it as such. Everyone should be able to have the same shocked reaction to the word ‘bitch’ as anyone else. Why should people who use or need closed captions be different?

However, this does not imply that every sound must be communicated. If the viewer can clearly see what is happening in the video, it is not necessary to caption obvious sound effects (especially not actions) as this can upset or offend the audience.

A good example of this is as follows:

how-captions-add-value

As you can see, this is a caption describing the visual content of the video, not the audio.

Fun fact: The term “closed” (versus “open”) indicates that the captions are not visible until activated by the viewer, usually via the remote control or menu option.

About the author:

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, I used my know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audiovisual courses.

From my years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, I have learned a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. I decided to couple this involvement with my other skill set, which is teaching. GOSUB was created for you, and I hope that you will find my courses of value.
http://www.gosub.tv

Best wishes

Kelly O’Donovan

The Future of Subtitling

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 GOSUB.tv – 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.

www.gosub.tv

5 Tips for Subtitlers/Translators Who Sit All Day

Jobs such as subtitling, automatically require hours of sitting in front of a computer screen.

Correct eating and being active while working can help decrease the danger of developing a health risk.

dek

 

  1. Eating healthy snacks while working has all types of benefits. It allows you to add to your intake of essential nutrients. Healthy snacks increase energy and aid in better concentration.
  2. Take a walk after each meal before continuing with your work. This will increase your blood sugar and assist with better digestion.
  3. Give your back, shoulders and hands a little TLC by stretching. There are also physiological benefits of stretching as well as reducing muscle-related discomfort and musculoskeletal disorders.
  4. Remove junk food. In addition to mindless eating, if your home or office desk area isn’t properly cleaned there’s also going to be a mountain of bacteria in the workstation area.
  5. Do more cardio and yoga workouts. Back exercises should be a priority, as your back muscle is super important for both sitting and walking.

I hope that you have found these tips useful.

Working from home has many benefits. Sign up to a GOSUB course and create a better lifestyle working from home.

Please visit us at http://www.gosub.tv

 

Translation advice – Spanish/English

The best advice I can give to a subtitler when they start translating to and from English or Spanish is to translate for meaning rather than to translate words.

Blog spanish english

The key is to pay attention to what someone is saying and not just the words they are using. The most comical and absolutely awkward subtitles are those which have been translated literally, eg: ‘A otro perro con ese hueso’ as ‘ To another dog with this bone’. This expression means ‘you’re pulling my leg’ in English and it cannot be translated literally.

Do not confuse this with the register. Always need to be faithful to the original. Emulate the original style. It may sound obvious, but translators often slip up here. It is important not to change the tone of the character or re-write the script. You need to copy the tone and register.

Know your audience and think about what your objective and aims are for the translation. Think about what the original content is intended for and serve the translation in this way. Familiarize yourself with the topic of speech.

House of cards blog es en

Translation tip (EN/ES)!

In English, it is common to make verbal periphrasis with “can/could” and of course you can literally translate them into English but you have to take into account its usage is far less common in Spanish.

This is a very important translation rule, just because there is an equivalent doesn’t mean you have to use it. You need to take usage frequency into consideration and in the subtitling as you have to measure your words very carefully. So when translating EN>ES it plays in our favour to drop modals at times.

Check out GOSUB and Natives For You e-book on English and Spanish subtitling:

https://www.gosub.tv/en/ebook

EBOOK NATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

The ins and outs of sound effects in captioning!

I still sometimes find choosing when or how to add the correct sound effect or speaker ID, when creating closed captions, challenging. Using the proper sound effect and/or speaker ID plays such a paramount role in the enjoyment and understanding of the media.

Blog - sound effects
There are also different specifications regarding the appearance of the caption. A constant question that arises in my training is ‘When should I use square or round brackets?’

I can only give my advice on my experience of course, so I have put this article together which I hope you will find useful.

Sound effects are sounds other than dialogue or music. We caption the sounds if they are plot pertinent and if it is necessary for the understanding and/or entertainment of the content.

  1. What about the appearance?

In captions/subtitles, we place a description of sound effect, in brackets. Nowadays, it is more common practice to use square brackets [ ] to enclose the sound effect, and speaker ID for that matter to.

The standard is to use all lowercase, except for proper nouns.

2. How do we describe captions?

One of the keys to knowing how to correctly subtitle/caption a sound effect is knowing what tense to use.

You can use two tenses. The present participle and the present tense.

We use the present participle form of the verb when we describe a sustained sound (long sound).

Eg:
[laughing]
[dog barking]

We use the third person verb form when describing an abrupt sound (short sound).

Eg:
[laughs]
[dog barks]

*Never use the past tense when describing sounds.

Wherever possible, use specific rather than vague, general terms to describe sounds.

Eg:
Vague: Bird singing
Specific: Sparrow singing

3.  So when do we include sound effects?

We caption background sound effects only when they are relevant and essential to the plot. Be careful not to caption ‘actions’! Only capture sound effects when they cannot be visually identified or are plot pertinent.
And speaker ID’s?

4. What about speaker ID’s?

You never want to have unnecessary text in your caption/subtitle, so it is important to remember to only use speaker IDs when they cannot be visually identified.
For proper nouns, the standard is to begin with an upper case letter,

Eg:
[Mary]
[John]

We use all lower case when we do not know the name of the person,

Eg:
[dentist]
[neighbor]