How to order successful subtitles

two people watching tv showing a news anchor and subtitles

Subtitles benefit not only the deaf but also the hard of hearing, language learners, and people who are simply unable to use their viewing device with the audio on. Foreign language subtitles allow you to reach a larger audience. We have compiled a checklist for ordering subtitles.

1. Remember to leave space for subtitles at the bottom of the screen.

Take subtitles into consideration early on when you are planning the video, and if you can, leave enough so-called blank space at the bottom of the screen. You should consider arranging the texts and other central elements included in your video, such as the name of an interviewee, in such a way that they will not be hidden under the subtitles.

2. Let us know the language spoken in the video and the desired subtitling languages.

Subtitlers must speak the language they are captioning. Let us know in advance which languages are spoken in your video so that we can select a subtitler who speaks the correct language. If the video includes multiple languages, it will make multilingual subtitles easier to implement if you can provide us with the time stamps of the sections where the language changes.

Let us also know your desired subtitling language – do you need subtitles in the language spoken in the video or for subtitles to be translated into another language?

3. Let us know the subtitling format 

We can deliver the subtitles as open, fixed captions or as a separate file (e.g. srt, vtt), which allows you to also switch off the subtitles when using a video player, such as YouTube. Open captions can’t be hidden – but they also can't be turned off by accident.

If you want open captions, a good quality version of the video with high resolution is required. A lower resolution will do for a separate srt file.

4. Video production is planned in advance, so it pays to let the subtitler know of your subtitling needs in good time.

We can deliver subtitles on a fast schedule without advance notice, but the invoice then includes an extra fee for the rush.

5. Send us the video file for subtitling.

The subtitler will need a video file which is typically in mp4 or avi format. Please note that YouTube videos cannot, as a rule, be downloaded, which is why we need more than just a link to a YouTube video. 
If you only need the subtitles in the form of a file (not as open captions), it’s enough to send us a low-resolution video which is faster to process.

6. Be sure to send us the final version of the video.

The video will not be subtitled until you have finished editing it. If you make changes to the video later, such as removing a section from it, the timing of the subtitles will no longer be correct.

P.S. If desired, we can deliver subtitles directly to the publication platform. Please ask us for more information!

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