Translation: Subtitling for Movies and TV Series
As a key facilitator of exchanges and mutual learning between people in different regions, movies and TV series use subtitles (captions in words) to display their non-graphical content, including titles, casts, lyrics, dialogue, role profiles, locations and time. Subtitles help the audience understand the content, have fun from watching and learn the cultures of different regions. The professional work of subtitle translation teams is prerequisite to the authentic delivery of an excellent movie or TV series to audience in another region. In the process of subtitle translation, attention should be paid to the following aspects:
1. Insights into the movie or TV series
A movie or TV series can be misunderstood if the viewer lacks sufficient awareness or knowledge of segments or scenes. Thus the content, ideas and dialogue that a movie or TV series should convey can be grasped only through in-depth study of the full picture of a movie or TV series, be it express or implied. Before subtitle translation is initiated, each member of the team must view the source program multiple times to ensure a complete grasp of the content. In the processing of subtitle translation, we continuously sharpen our insight with respect to the subtitles and adjust our interpretations of the dialogue based on the context by thinking from the perspective of the narrator and in consideration of the narrator’s situation.
2. Concise, conversational language
Since subtitles are synchronized with the audio, a subtitle stays on the screen for a shorter period of time if the narrator has a higher speed of utterance. Therefore, the time for the audience to understand subtitles is little. This, in combination with the limited field of view of the audience, requires that the length of a translated subtitle should be adapt to the field of view of the audience. Moreover, as movies and TV series are popular artworks, most of which target at a wide range of audience, most translated subtitles should be concise as possible.
3. Use verbal wording and expressions in line with the style
The subtitles of most movies and TV series use a verbal style. During the transformation of the dialogue into subtitles, the type of expression used in a subtitle should be in line with the style of the movie or TV series as well as that of the narration. Moreover, the translation should be smooth, consistent and easy to understand.
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