Multi-Language Subtitling Localization 101: What all you need to Know

Globalization is the name, and the audio-video content has transcended beyond boundaries. The TV shows, cartoons, documentaries, and video games have surpassed the local limits and become a global phenomenon. This revolution has necessitated the requirement of translating the sub-titles in more than one language to make it accessible to more people.
Brands like Netflix have been expanding their global reach through active adaptability to local dialects and tastes. Companies operating across the globe have to deal with a multi-lingual workforce. The audience or the employees would probably watch the video at the same time, sometimes in a live setting or in-store display. Providing translation in a truly local experience has changed the clientele dynamics for companies and entertainment brands. Highly proficient human translators are the need of the hour to provide translation and localization.

What is the need for Multi-Language Sub-titling Localization?
The display of more than one language on the screen along with the video is called multi-language subtitling. For example, there could be Spanish as well as French subtitles or English and local language subtitles running along with the videos. For multi-lingual audiences, it is of paramount importance that the screen displays two languages in readable fonts. This is the trend with which companies and TV shows are widening their global reach.
An ideal multi-language localization in sub-titles would be when the client cannot customize or change the settings. The onus is on the company to provide for the sub-titles in the most common languages of the region. Providing for the localized sub-titles works well for international airports or corporate events with multi-language attendees. Localized multi-language sub-titles convey the message to a broad audience.

What is that you need to know about Multi-Language Sub-titling Localization?
Localizing sub-titles requires a specific workflow, and the following points must be kept in mind before localizing:

1. Brevity is the Key
‘The shorter, the better’ is the key to the effective multi-language sub-titling process. When two languages are simultaneously displayed on the screen, the length of the lines must be short for quick readability. The readers would lose interest in reading longer lines.

2. Single-Liners
The translators should ensure that each dialogue should be precise to fit in one line. This means sub-titles in two languages should be covered in one-liners each. The translators have to work on the font size according to the video resolutions. The numerical inscriptions, time, date, currency, etc. have to be projected in the right way. Also, adequate care must be taken while putting languages that can be read left-to-right or right-to-left. For example, Urdu, Arabic, and Hebrew are read from right-to-left.

3. Restrict to Two Languages
The limitation of the screen size and similar-looking languages poses a constraint that not more than two languages can be used for sub-titling localization. Since multi-language sub-titles cover more screen space, the translators have to be careful with the font size and the number of languages that can be offered.

4. Burn-in Videos
The sub-titles have to be adjusted in font, format and the text size to make them relevant to the video. This calls for burning-in videos so that the text is displayed well. This also accommodates the languages which are read in different directions.

Bottom Line
Multi-language localized sub-titles means making two languages work well in the frame within a specific time-frame. The pre-production stage has to be planned properly so that there are no or minimum tweaks in time-coding or spotting. The colours, fonts, and format specifications may have to be altered even after finalization. The localization of more than two languages in sub-titles must be done with proper planning and care to avoid re-work and project delays.

Want multi-language subtitles for your video content? Find the best partner for all your subtitling and captioning requirements – DUBnSUB. DUBnSUB is a full-service post-production company based in Gurgaon, India with branch offices in Myanmar, France, Germany, and the USA.
We offer high-quality Subtitling & Captioning services in over 100 languages for pre-recorded television programs, documentary films, feature films, webcasts, and podcasts.

For any requirements/queries, please contact [email protected] or give us a call at +91 124 498 2484. We will be more than happy to help!

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