Leading provider of Subtitling services in London, UK

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What is Subtitling?

The first audio visual films reached an international audience in the year 1929. Since then there have been two dominant audio visual translation methodologies, dubbing and subtitling. While dubbing was mainly used in German, Italian, Spanish and French speaking countries in and outside Europe, Subtitling became a particularly preferred form of audio visual translation over dubbing in countries with large non European speaking communities and small European countries, that had high literacy rate. Certified translation services is well established and renowned provider of subtitling and translation services in London.

Subtitling can be understood as the translation of audio visual formats such as cinema, television, videos and computer games, in the form of short line by line written texts, which constantly appear at the bottom of the audio visual screen, and changes as the screen dialogue or any other audio that requires translation changes. Below are different definitions of subtitling by some of the most notable scholars of subtitling and translation.

As defined by Diaz Cintas J and Remael A in their book Audiovisual Translation: Subtitling, "Subtitling may be defined as a translation practice that consists of presenting a written text, generally on the lower part of the screen, that discursive elements that appear in the image (letters, inserts, graffiti, inscriptions, placards, and the like), and the information that is contained on the soundtrack (songs, voices off)." Díaz Cintas also names two main types of subtitling services which are intralinguistic subtitles and interlinguistic subtitles, in addition to a number of other types.

Shuttleworth and Cowie defined subtitling as "the process of providing synchronized captions for film and television dialogue". They also said that subtitling is a term used to refer to one of the two main methods of language transfer used in translating types of mass audio visual communication such as film and television.

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O’Connell, a scholar in the field of subtitling, defines subtitling as "supplementing the original voice sound track by adding written text on the screen". While pointing out the benefits of subtitling over dubbing, O'Connell points out that subtitling is an inexpensive, quick, foreign culture friendly and generally fairly politically correct mode of screen translation.

Jan Ivarsson another notable authority in the field of subtitling classified subtitling into various branches which are subtitling for cinema and television, multilingual subtitling, teletext subtitling, reduced subtitling, subtitling live or in real time, the translation of opera, theatrical works, conferences, etc. However the two primary branches of subtitling as mentioned by various scholars are intralinguistic subtitles and interlinguistic subtitles.

There are various translation agencies in London that provide subtitling services. Subtitling is largely different than other forms of audio visual translation. As a leading subtitling company we understand the pros and cons of using subtitling translation over other forms of audio visual translation. We take appropriate steps to ensure perfect subtitles and provide the best translate services at all times. When comparing subtitling with other forms of audio visual translation such as dubbing, there are four main issues which require expertise and planning for delivering high quality perfect subtitles:

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  1. The subtitles that appear on the bottom of the screen partially interfere with the visual images, which is why most transcripts appear as small pieces of written translations that generally don't extend over 2 lines of about 35 characters each.
  2. The format, structure and styling of subtitles should be such that it enhances the visibility and legibility of each and every subtitle.
  3. Since subtitling is a written form of audio visual translation, it has an inherent limitation of communicating the actual tone of voice.
  4. The speed of display, dialogue and translated subtitles requires proper synchronization. This synchronization requires calculation and planning because of various technical reasons which are specific to subtitling. Firstly, the speed of dialogue or other audio visual extracts which require translation are generally faster than the rate at which full subtitles can be rendered. Therefore proper time and size management of the subtitles with relation to the audio visual scenes is required. Secondly, the average reading speed of the viewer also varies greatly. Again this impacts the rate at which the subtitles change and size of the subtitles would also vary depending on the reading speed of viewers. Thirdly subtitling necessitates short intervals in between every subsequent subtitle.

Subtitling is an inexpensive mode of audio visual translation. As a leading subtitling company in UK, we take into consideration all the above mentioned pros and cons of subtitling, to ensure high quality perfect subtitles for all audio visual translation requirements.

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