When it comes to translating subtitles and video content, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. Working with subtitle translation services and languages are never straightforward. High quality translations require linguists to have a high level of proficiency in both the source and target language. In addition to this, translators should have a deep understanding of the subject area in which they are writing. This is especially the case for technical or medical translations. In terms of subtitle translation services, even more is expected of linguists and subtitlers. This blog explores some of the languages Capital Captions works with in terms of subtitle translation and how we approach the subtitling process.
French Subtitle Translation
There are a number of different varieties of French spoken across the world. Whilst some have very minor differences, it’s important to establish the type of French being spoken in a video in order to provide the best translation. For instance, Canadian French and European or Metropolitan French are typically very similar, but can differ slightly in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.
Generally speaking, Canadian French may be more informal and use more anglicised words. While a French Canadian linguist may not struggle to understand Metropolitan French, the same cannot always be said for a Metropolitan French linguist fully understanding the accent of a French Canadian. Working with strong accents and different syntactical rules can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or disjointed translations, so establishing the source and target language from the start can make all the difference.
German Subtitle Translation
When it comes to subtitling German, there are a few varieties of German spoken globally. European German can be classed as low and high German, though both are mutually intelligible. Swiss German is considered to be a spoken rather than a written language, though many Germans may have trouble understanding Swiss German speech. There is also Pennsylvania Dutch which funnily enough, is not Dutch at all but derives from German (Deutsche).
The main concern when it comes to subtitling in German is not in the translation itself but in the substitution of characters. German is an incredibly lengthy, wordy languages. Translating from English to German can increase the length of subtitle lines by up to 30%. This means that often when translating into German, subtitles need to be entirely re-timed, and translations need to be edited to allow reading time.
Spanish and Portuguese Subtitle Translation
Both Spanish and Portuguese have European and South American dialects which in some cases, have significant differences. If working to translate Portuguese, it’s absolutely crucial to start by confirming whether the language spoken is for instance, Brazilian Portuguese or European Portuguese. When working with any translation of subtitles, it’s important to ensure captions are suitably encoded in order to correctly display foreign characters.
Japanese and Chinese Subtitle Translation
Whilst most European languages tend to use Latin characters, when it comes to Japanese and Chinese translation, it’s really important to get the formatting correct. Using the wrong encoding for Japanese or Chinese subtitles can render your caption file almost entirely unreadable. Similarly, if you want to burn your Chinese or Japanese subtitles into your video, it’s important to use a font that’s compatible to make sure characters display properly and are easy to read. Translating to and from Japanese and Chinese doesn’t usually require too much editing as characters and words tend to be very short onscreen, allowing for more reading time.
Well, that’s it. We’ve talked about some of our most commonly requested languages for subtitle translation services. We’ve discussed the issue of dialects, encoding and subtitle formatting.
If you’re interested in learning more about our subtitle translation services and languages or are ready for a quote to translate your language pairs, why not head over to our quote page and contact our friendly team today who will be happy to send you a quote.