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Edited Transcripts and Subtitles

 

How do edited transcripts become subtitles?  This is part of a series of posts on the myriad uses and types of transcription, brought to you by Tigerfish Transcribing, provider of accurate verbatim or edited transcripts from any audio or video source.  We provide the best transcription services for Chicago, New York, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

The Visible Made Invisible:  Edited Transcripts into Subtitles

 

What skills are needed to turn edited transcripts into effective subtitles?

According to subtitler Henri Behar, if subtitles “aren’t invisible, you fail.”  A film has a cadence and flow of image and sound, and subtitles need to find their place in the visual stream, transcribing the sound without competing for visual attention.

Subtitlers must be skilled at working within and alongside the rhythms of a film, breaking up their edited transcripts carefully, so as not to break the tempo.  This can be straightforward, like ending a subtitle when a character has stopped speaking, or not extending a subtitle into the next scene (unless the dialogue also bridges the cut). And it can mean more subtle decisions about how to weave the truncated dialogue in with the imagery and the movement of characters, creating a third rhythmic flow that hovers between the sound and the image. Technology is making time coding easier and subtitlers can view films repeatedly as they work.  When crafted by skilled professionals, subtitles are becoming less noticeable, but a more coherent part of international films.

 

Jason Avery

The Wide World of Transcription