In May 2019, I participated in an event that advertised to be a session for subtitlers to learn more about the skill as well as some tips and tricks. It the first AUSIT event that I ever went to. AUSIT stands for Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators and is the professional association for translators and interpreters in Australia. While the speaker was talking less about the skills that a subtitler needs and how to improve them and more about what a big client like SBS in Language is looking for, it was interesting to gain this close-up insight into the company that requires frequent subtitling services to be provided to them by professionals. The key points are a high level of reliability, professionalism, and translating and subtitling skills.
Now, what exactly is a good subtitle?
A good subtitle needs to transfer the meaning of the original accurately and as concisely and succinctly as possible to allow the viewer of the subtitled product to enjoy all of the textual content while not missing any of the visuals.
A subtitler should also be advised by the client on the target audience of the product and the preferred reading speed and even characters per line quota. If a client has never worked with a subtitler before, it would be a good idea to discuss the project in more detail. An experienced subtitler will be able to give some advice on these aspects of subtitling.
Why do I enjoy subtitling?
Subtitling is very similar to translation but the restrictions of characters per line and reading speed require the subtitler to be creative as well as extremely knowledgable in their target language. It is a compellign challenge to find, say, one word that expresses the same meaning as 3 or 4 words in the source language.
Subtitles can be an affordable way to make your video, film or e-course more accessible to those who are not native in the language that your business is run in. The majority of consumers, students and audiences will prefer reading and consuming in their mother tongue. And that is exactly where a subtitler or translator comes in.
Here you can view some of my subtitling work for TED: https://www.ted.com/profiles/8108353/translator