Our last post took a deep dive into the recent boom in demand for subtitles with services like Netflix and explored some of the common pitfalls of subtitling. It addressed the common problems you have probably experienced when reading subtitles: too many words on the screen at once, or two few; they move too fast or too slow; the text doesn’t match what the speaker is saying, or it’s completely out of sync and you’re always six seconds behind.
That post covered a lot of ground. What it didn’t do was offer a solution.
Shame on us.
Luckily for you, we have come to the rescue. Read on to learn how you can get better, more readable subtitles in four easy steps with the program Subtitle Edit.
You have downloaded either the free or paid version of Subtitle Edit and are ready to work some subtitle magic. First, we have to upload the key ingredients: Video? Check. Transcript? High five. Your project displays the video on the right and the subtitle segments on the left so you can match the text on the screen to what the speaker is saying. In this way, Subtitle Edit’s simple, clear layout helps you edit accurately.
The metadata is the control panel and dashboard for your project. It shows precise time stamps down to the thousandth of a second indicating when the words first appear on screen, when they disappear, how long they are visible, how many characters per second are shown, and how many total characters each segments contains. This metadata gives you a detailed and convenient overview of every stat you need to create seamless subtitles.
What if you spot a segment with too many characters? Or as the video shows a preview of the text, you realize the subtitles are lagging behind or racing ahead of the speaker?
Then you simply…
Netflix has published helpful guidelines for optimal word count, character count, and speed when subtitling in different languages. For example, the recommended character limitation for both English and German is 42, but Netflix sets a limit of 20 characters per second for English subtitles of adult programs, while the same limit for German is 17. English subtitles for children’s shows may not show more than 17 characters per second; for German, the maximum is 13.
With Subtitle Edit, you can easily adjust these settings to create a comfortable reading experience for the viewer.
At this point, you might be pulling your hair out and screaming, “I don’t have time to learn a new program and read guidelines for the 50 languages I’m subtitling in! I have a thousand other things to do!” If this is you, go immediately to step 4.
We know the program. We’ve read the guidelines. We’re here for you.
Send your video or transcript to wordinc today and get a free, non-binding quote. Prefer to speak with someone directly? Call us now at 49 (0)40 300 30 59-50 and we’ll be solving your subtitling problems in no time.