Fillers in subtitling

Have you ever had to listen (or transcribe) a recording of a conversation of ‘everyday’ speech? You quickly understand that conversations aren’t exactly flowing. Pause fillers and weird noises pop up everywhere between words and one would have a hard time conveying their ideas without them.

While grunts and sighs may not be part of language, they support us in expressing ourselves.

What about “uh”. What does that mean? “uh”, like “um”, “er” and “ah” are meaningless words or sounds that mark a pause or hesitation in speech. They are ‘pause filler’ words.

In English, the most common filler sounds are ah or uh, er, and um. Younger speakers nowadays use the fillers “like”, “you know”, “I mean”, “okay”, “so” and “right”.

Different languages have different characteristic filler sounds too.

For example, in Greek, ε (e), εμ (em), λοιπόν (lipon, “so”) and καλά (kala, “good”) are common fillers. In Italian, common fillers include “tipo” (“like”), “ecco” (“there”) and “cioè” (“actually”).

As a subtitler, it is important to understand fillers and recognize them in dialogue. Because of the technical constraints with character limitations and reading speeds, filler words can usually be omitted without loss of information. However if a show is scripted, you will probably need to include every utterance as it has been intentionally included in the show and you cannot affect the stylistic content. It is not easy to denote every “er” or ”ah”; but you should get as close as possible to verbatim without making the captions difficult to read.

About the author:

Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB.tv – An education in the art of subtitling.

GOSUB was born from a passion and enthusiasm for subtitling and teaching.

Having started as a linguistic teacher and then moving on to become the Operations Manager of a leading subtitling agency, Kelly used her know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audiovisual courses.

From her years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, she has learnt a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. She decided to couple this involvement with her other skill set, which is teaching.

GOSUB was created for you, and we hope that you will find her courses of value.

www.gosub.tv

 

NUMERALS in subtitling and closed captioning.

Numers in subtiting and closed captioning

Good subtitling is a complex balancing act and it is an art that often finds conflicting advice in the specifications required for the content being subtitled or captioned.

When it comes to the rules for writing numbers or numerals, it is certainly not possible to produce a set of solid rules covering all situations but as captioners, we can adopt standard and consistent style guidelines and practical advice to follow.

I hope that you will find the following suggestions useful in your practice.

Spelling out

  • In general, spell out the numbers from one to ten, and numerals for all numbers over ten:

They ate three plates each.

They ate 3 plates each.

He is 54 years old.

He is fifty four years old.

  • Spell out any number that begins a sentence:

Two hundred people attended the ceremony.

200 people attended the ceremony.

  • The same is similar for percentages. Use numerals and the percent sign to indicate all percentages except at the beginning of a sentence:

Only 90% of the class was present.

Sixty-one percent of the class was present.

  • Spell out non-emphatic numbers:

He gave me hundreds of excuses.

He gave me 100’s of excuses.

Numerals

  • Use the numeral with units:

The box weighs 10kgs.

The box weighs ten kgs.

  • Numerals over 4 digits must have correctly placed commas:

3,500

3500

  • Use numerals to display points, scores or timings for sports, competitions or games:

He scored 5 goals.

He scored five goals.

  • If there is more than one number in a subtitle, it may be better to use numerals:

Adam was 8 and Liz was 15.

Adam was eight and Liz was 15.

  • Only use numerals when indicating the time of the day:

I went to work at 9:30.

He came home at 5 o’clock.

They will arrive at 7.00pm.

  • You can choose to use or spell out numerals for fractions. Be consistent in the rule you choose to follow. If using numerals, a space needs to be present between a whole number and its fraction:

Are you going to eat 1 ½ burgers?

Are you going to eat one and one-half burgers?

Currency

  • For amounts under one dollar, use numerals and the ‘cents’ or ‘¢’:

Can you give me 20 cents?

I only need 40¢.

  • For amounts under one million, use the dollar sign and the numeral:

I saved $100.

My last salary was $32,000 a year.

Do you have $7.50 for me?

  • For whole amounts over one million, spell out ‘million’, ‘billion’, etc.

I must still pay $2 million on the mortgage.

The company’s revenues were $41,898,000.

About the author:

Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB.tv – An education in the art of subtitling.

GOSUB was born from a passion and enthusiasm for subtitling and teaching.

Having started as a linguistic teacher and then moving on to become the Operations Manager of a leading subtitling agency, Kelly used her know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audiovisual courses.

From her years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, she has learnt a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. She decided to couple this involvement with her other skill set, which is teaching.

www.gosub.tv

 

Can subtitles and closed captions improve literacy?

skills

In the last 30 years, extensive research has been completed that positively acknowledges the relationship between the use of video subtitles or captions and the improvement in literacy skills.

When we watch subtitles on TV shows, movies and video games, we are exposed to many more hours of written words. This advantage is especially strong for struggling readers, who may stay away from books and other printed media.

What the research says:

Several studies have shown that reading closed captions or subtitles while watching television has an affirmative impact on reading and comprehension skills as well as boosting vocabulary acquisition and improving reading speed and fluency.

If you have the opportunity to observe a child who is watching a captioned video, you will see that their eyes are drawn to the captions, as they pop up again and again on the screen.

Research has demonstrated that captions can support a host of foundational literacy skills.

  • Help with reading and literacy problems
  • Help those learning a second language
  • Help with word identification, meaning and retention.
  • Help establish a systematic link between the written and spoken word.
  • Help strengthen areas of reading proficiency for those with learning disabilities.

For anyone struggling with reading, or learning a second language, captions and subtitles can help.

About the author:

Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB.tv – An education in the art of subtitling.

GOSUB was born from a passion and enthusiasm for subtitling and teaching.

Having started as a linguistic teacher and then moving on to become the Operations Manager of a leading subtitling agency, Kelly used her know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audiovisual courses.

From her years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, she has learnt a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. She decided to couple this involvement with her other skill set, which is teaching.

www.gosub.tv

 

Descriptive SFX

One of the most important tasks of a closed captioner is to rememPeople watching.jpgber the people who benefit from our work.

Films with captions guarantee equal opportunities to people with disabilities and they give everyone equal access to enjoy all the great content that is produced around the world.

When we read closed captions, we see different types of descriptive SFX, from the jingling of keys to the indistinct chattering of negotiators. These captions are all plot pertinent and important in helping the viewer experience the same effects as if they were hearing the audio.

SOUND EFFECTS:

Includes sounds made by objects or animals

[siren wailing]

[gunshots]

[dogs barking]

NON SPEECH SOUNDS:

Includes sounds made by characters that can’t or shouldn’t be transcribed as distinct speech

[Maria laughs]

[crowd chanting]

[Jim groaning]

MANNER OF SPEAKING:

Describes how the speaker pronounces the words.

The caption is followed by the dialogue

[cries in pain] Go get help!

[hysterical laughter] Do you really believe that?

[British accent] Cup of tea, my dear.

MUSIC:

Includes song titles, music notes, music lyrics, and descriptions  of music.

[energizing techno music fades]

[suspenseful music]

[“Are you lonesome tonight” playing]

How captions are presented, both optically and structurally, could have a serious impact on the viewers understanding and enjoyment of the content. So keep this in mind too!

I hope you have enjoyed reading my short article.

https://www.gosub.tv/en/music-and-sound-effects

About the author:

Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB – An education in the art of subtitling.

GOSUB was born from a passion and enthusiasm for subtitling and teaching.

Having started as a linguistic teacher and then moving on to become the Operations Manager of a leading subtitling agency, Kelly used her know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audiovisual courses.

From her years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, she has learnt a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. She decided to couple this involvement with her other skill set, which is teaching.

www.gosub.tv

 

 

TRANSCRIPTION AND SCRIPT MATERIALS

transcriptionIf you are creating subtitles or closed captions, or want to transcribe or translate your content for foreign countries, the first step is to create a script (the transcription of the dialogue).

Transcription means typing out every word on an audio file. You will convert the original source audio to text.

When you are transcribing from audio, you must pay great attention to detail and have the required patience to formulate the words you hear in the recording.

If you want to create your own script, it is important to understand the structure of script files.

The best file to transcribe into is .txt script files. These files only contain text and can be written and edited in text editor. (Microsoft Notepad or TextEdit for Mac OS).
Always save the script in .txt format and select a Unicode UTF-8 or UTF-16. This will help to ensure all characters are correctly saved.

If you don’t want to create your own script from scratch, you can search for a reference script.

Reference scripts are useful when transcribing. It saves you time and helps with accuracy and tricky audio.

However, reference scripts are not always your friend and you cannot rely solely on them. You must ensure the script you are creating matches the audio of your proxy.

And remember, when you are creating subtitles and/or captions, you have to adapt the script according to the language rules and technical specifications.

Here are some useful websites one can use for English template jobs.

  • http://www.simplyscripts.com/p.html
  • http://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/movie_scripts.php
  • http://www.script-o-rama.com/table.shtml
  • http://www.subzin.com/

About the author:

Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB.tv – An education in the art of subtitling.
GOSUB was born from a passion and enthusiasm for subtitling and teaching.

Having started as a linguistic teacher and then moving on to become the Operations Manager of a leading subtitling agency, Kelly used her know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audiovisual courses.

From her years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, she has learnt a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. She decided to couple this involvement with her other skill set, which is teaching.

GOSUB was created for you, and we hope that you will find her courses of value.

www.gosub.tv

logo-300x100

5 Tips for Great Captions

One of the most essential tasks of a closed captioner is to remember the people who benefit from our work.

Hercce are five simple yet effective tips for great closed captions.

  • Never use the past tense when describing sounds. Captions should be synchronized with the sound and are therefore in the present tense.

Example

[laughing]

  • For off-screen sound effects, it is not necessary to repeat the source of the sound if it is making the same sound a few captions later.

Example

First Caption                                         Second Caption

[dog yelping]                                        [yelping continues]

  • When describing an abrupt sound, use the third person verb form.

Example

[screams]

When describing a sustained sound, use the present participle form of the verb.

Example

[crying]

  • The word “sound” is not necessary, as the viewer already know that the terms in brackets are sound effects.

Example

[projector] instead of [sound of projector]

[glass breaking] instead of [sound of glass breaking]

  • Avoid dull captions. [door creaks] is more descriptive than [door opens]. The idea is to communicate the sound and not what it signifies.

Example

[plate shatters] instead of [plate breaks].

[ambulance siren wailing] instead of [ambulance siren]

I hope you enjoyed reading these tips and that you will find them useful in your practice.

About the author:

Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB.tv – An education in the art of subtitling.

GOSUB was born from a passion and enthusiasm for subtitling and teaching.

Having started as a linguistic teacher and then moving on to become the Operations Manager of a leading subtitling agency, Kelly used her know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audiovisual courses.

From her years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, she has learnt a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. She decided to couple this involvement with her other skill set, which is teaching.

GOSUB was created for you, and we hope that you will find her courses of value.

www.gosub.tv

logo-300x100

 

5 USEFUL AND EFFECTIVE TIPS FOR SUBTITLING STUDENTS

head-student-buddy-face-cartoon-free-hat-glasses

1. Get your notes ready.
Read through the first chapter carefully before you start. Learn the correct terminology and make notes. It will save you some time later on in the course. Download a PDF glossary if available.

2. Get familiar with the most used techniques.
Take notes of all the techniques you learn during the course in a special section of your notebook. Learn and use short cuts.

3. Learn from your mistakes.
Nobody is superb on the first attempt. Don’t be distressed if you don’t get it right the first time round. With each attempt, you learn new techniques and vocabulary which will support your understanding. As the idiom goes: Practice makes perfect.

4. Do you want to specialize?
Whether you are studying subtitling or closed captioning, you may want to think about whether you want to specialize or not, and in which field. You will find pros and cons of specializing in relation to rates and volume of work available.

5. Gain work experience as soon as possible.
The dispiriting truth is that many employers will ask you for experience. I suggest you to start to gain experience as soon as you can. Some ideas are:
• Subtitle TED videos
• Volunteer for organizations that require the subtitling or captioning of their videos
• Talk to your tutor to find out ways they can assist in securing your some work to get started

About the author:
Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB.tv – An education in the art of subtitling.
GOSUB was born from a passion and enthusiasm for subtitling and teaching.
Having started as a linguistic teacher and then moving on to become the Operations Manager of a leading subtitling agency, Kelly used her know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audio-visual courses.
From her years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, she has learnt a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. She decided to couple this involvement with her other skill set, which is teaching.
www.gosub.tv

Key Quality Checking Guidelines – Subtitling/Closed captioning

quality-checkAnyone with experience in subtitling and/or closed captioning knows and understands only too well the importance of performing a thorough quality check of the file before submitting the final project to the client.

To ensure a file is properly quality checked, there are a number points that we need to take into consideration.

Before you start working on any file, make sure you have read all the target language specifications. Pay special attention to: Reading Speed, Character limitation, Italics, Continuity, Dual Speakers, Forced Narratives, Punctuation and Quotes.

  • Position the subtitle according to the client’s specs
    • Horizontally (alignment: left, centred, left-centred, right)
    • Vertically (bottom or top)
  • Format/style. Formats captions according to the client’s specs.
    • Format in italics
    • Format Forced Narratives (All caps, mixed case…)
    • Format songs
    • Format dual speaker subs (dialogue captions)
  • Timing
    • Check cues (in and out) according to the start and end of pronunciation
    • Shot changes
    • Important (plot relevant) speech pauses
    • Min/max durations
  • Text
    • Fix line breaks (between subs and between lines within each sub) according to units of sense and punctuation.
    • Check ellipses
    • Keep consistent naming
    • In-depth proofreading: Punctuation and typos

Final quality checks:

  • Inconsistent cues, gaps between subtitles, raised subtitles, subtitles without text, non-printable characters.

Remember to always check the video until the very end of the video (including credits): Look for extra footage, dialogues, ending credits’ songs, etc.

About the author:

Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB.tv – An education in the art of subtitling.

GOSUB was born from a passion and enthusiasm for subtitling and teaching.

Having started as a linguistic teacher and then moving on to become the Operations Manager of a leading subtitling agency, Kelly used her know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audiovisual courses.

From her years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, she has learnt a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. She decided to couple this involvement with her other skill set, which is teaching.

www.gosub.tv

3 Myths about Subtitling

myths

Myth #1
Translators charge too much for a job that Google Translator does in 2 seconds.
The only people who seem to have this mindset are those who have never dealt with any type of translation previously. They may compare your translation costs to what they can get for free with Google Translate.
Translation clients that have been in the translation business understand the difference between automatic and professional translation services and, hence the need, for professional services.

Myth #2
Just because someone can speak two languages means that they can be a translator.
Solely being bilingual doesn’t qualify someone to translate. Translation is not an automated or emotionless process of transforming one sentence in language A into language B.
It is a rather complex art form in which idioms and thoughts have to be translated in such a way that the meaning is accurately and clearly expressed to the listener without losing the feel and the sense of language A.

Myth#3
The demand for human translations will soon fade.
Software and automated translations can give the gist of a foreign tongue, but for business and professional use, rough is not enough.
Translation requires a deep understanding of language. This ability lies far away on the horizon of machine translation.
Technology is a tool that helps them keep up changing times and with the surging demand for translations however it is far from replacing humans.
There is no doubt, machine translations and automated transcriptions save time and money but they almost always end up creating inaccuracies and errors.
Technology may not replace human translators, but it will help them work better.

About the author:
Kelly O’Donovan is the creator of GOSUB.tv – An education in the art of subtitling.
GOSUB was born from a passion and enthusiasm for subtitling and teaching.
Having started as a linguistic teacher and then moving on to become the Operations Manager of a leading subtitling agency, Kelly used her know-how, affection, and savvy to create efficient and exciting audiovisual courses.
From her years of experience working with producers, dubbing agencies, video-on-demand platforms, entertainment distributors, encoding houses and more, she has learnt a mountain of information about subtitling and closed captioning. She decided to couple this involvement with her other skill set, which is teaching.
www.gosub.tv