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L I N G U I D O O R

Subtitling

As the name suggests, it refers to the process of creating subtitles for a video. These subtitles are the text of the audio of that particular video, which may be a movie, television program or series, news, commentary, speech or public address, game, to name a few examples.

One may assume that subtitling is same as dubbing. However, both subtitling and dubbing are like cheese and chalk, absolutely different from each other. Subtitling is the visible text of the audio proportion of a video. Whereas, dubbing refers to the voice of some person other than the actor appearing on the screen. The only similarity between both the processes – Subtitling and Dubbing are hard work and patience of the doer along with the work being either in the same language as being spoken in the video or in a different language than the spoken one.

Subtitling is an art on its own, which demands high concentration and expertise from the sub-titler. It is very important that the rules of subtitling are followed making it a difficult job requiring expertise in not only both the languages, but also of the fact that the text can only appear on the screen for the time the dialogue is being spoken or the audio is available in that scene. Thus the screen presence of the text is for a very limited time (varying form 2 seconds to that of 8 seconds). The placement of text on the screen can also become critical if the text takes up more than 2 sentences or obstructs viewing on the screen.

What are the different types of subtitling?

There are two types of subtitling: Inter-language and Intra-language subtitling.

Inter-language subtitling means that the language of subtitles in the video is different than the one being spoken in the video. The benefit of inter-language subtitling is that a new target audience can be selected for the video. This helps in multiplying the audience by many-folds depending on the number of languages in which the audio is translated. It is important that the correct translation is employed. Therefore, an experienced translator can only be good at subtitling.

Whereas, intra-language refers to the creation of subtitles in the same language as that of the current video. This helps in case different dialects of the same language are used across the country e.g. Chinese. It also helps in the building and retention of vocabulary of language, which in turn can impact the literacy rate of majority people speaking that language and being able to read the same through subtitling.

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