Subtitling and the Art of Transcription for Film
Subtitling and transcription are obviously closely related. Both are audible language written down. One place many of us see edited transcripts in action is projected on the silver screen, in the form of subtitles. Usually these are transcripts of translations of the audible dialogue in a film.
What is transcription? And what does it have to do with subtitling? This is part of series of posts on the myriad uses and types of transcription, brought to you by Tigerfish Transcribing, provider of accurate edited audio-to-text transcripts, legal transcripts, medical transcripts, interview transcripts, meeting transcripts, focus group transcripts, video-to-text transcripts, the best transcription services for SF, NYC, Chicago, Seattle areas.
Subtitling: Gained in Translation
Subtitling is an art form that seamlessly blends into another art form. The better the subtitles, the less we notice them, so we may not have given much thought to the craft that has gone into them. They are more (or literally, less) than a simple translation; they are edited from accurate transcripts and visually designed to fit into the space and time created by the film. Sometimes that means cutting speeches considerably to fit in the allotted frames. Beginning with a time-coded transcript, often in translation, writers of subtitles carefully arrange the text we will read on the screen, decide when we will read it, and how fast we will read it.
The art of subtitling has made films accessible to audiences all over the world. When written skillfully, subtitles let you view a film seamlessly, without the jarring feeling of seeing actors’ mouths move wrongly around the words dubbed in different language. If you have ever been deeply moved by a film in a language not your own, you can thank the subtitle writers for the experience, or at the very least for not interfering with the experience!
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