An Overview Of The Growth Of Subtitling From The Present To The Future
When someone mentions the word subtitling, it takes many people a minute or two before they can find out what exactly it is and this is. Subtitling is a fairly new form of writing in human history. From way back when our ancestors would use chiseled tablets to know where we have movable writing, the intention of writing has always been to capture and communicate language.
Where Are We From, And Where Are We Going, With The Art Of Subtitling?
- The way we send out information or to communicate speaks miles on how far we have come as a civilized people. With the internet bringing about a global village where everyone and anyone can access different written and translated articles in different foreign languages.
- Subtitles have made it easy for people to have access and understand the different video contents put out there from different countries and in different languages. Translated subtitles are a mark of an increasingly globalized world, while same-language subtitles are a mark of an increasingly accessible one.
- Subtitles look like they are an easy thing to do but what people don’t know is that a lot goes into the production of subtitles before films are presented to the public at large, from positioning and syncing to the delicate art of localization, a lot of effort goes into creating subtitles that are perfectly translated and synced with the original audio and also make them easy to comprehend and not distracting to the content’s audience.
- The styles, guidelines, and standards of this form of writing are still being forged today. As the world and different film cultures evolve, so must subtitle. We can share information fast and easily and thus this has led to everyone being able to find themselves engaging with an audio or video is in a different language and so the need for subtitles and captions has been wanting than ever before. People are constantly coming up with new ways to greet each other, to share humor, and to connect. For that reason, professional subtitlers have to stay at the cutting edge of their language to enhance the viewers’ enjoyment.
- As with any other form of creation that makes life easier for consumers, so does subtitling. More often than not, there are exceptions that go against the rules and guidelines of subtitling as online video creators innovate in parallel to make things better. When subtitling the fast-paced cadence unique to YouTubers or speech with slang, dialects, and accents, professional subtitlers have to make discerning decisions to keep the reading rates at a steady pace and to prepare content to reach local audiences.
- Behind all the work that is subtitling, that is from placing time codes for the subtitles to the accuracy in translation, to the writing system, language use, and the dialect, there are real people who have real needs that have to be met in order for them to understand and comprehend what is being communicated in the subtitles.
- Subtitling is as hard as the word itself sounds, I say this because the whole concept of subtitling has been simplified by people thinking it’s just translations and then syncing. That is true to some extent, but the translation needed is high quality and a professional translator who knows what they are doing will tell you what is expected of them when doing translations for subtitles.
- Sometimes, videos subtitled for global audiences need localization, not just translation; a common scenario is when subtitlers replace original products or concepts with local ones. For example, different countries use different expressions to mean different to other countries so if a certain language is being translated for a local language of a certain country meanings need to be kept as the original form in order to 100% communicate what is intended and the context of the message received well by the target audience. This also applies for brand names and different foods.
- Subtitles are increasingly visible and present in our online experience, from subtitled auto-play ads on social media to the familiar CC icon at the bottom of some streaming video players. If you haven’t noticed then I will inform you that YouTube which is the video giant app where a lot of content creators post their video contents, has introduced the availability of subtitle previews which is a game-changer for their content consumers, the only thing left is for them to introduce translatable subtitles software and incorporate it with the app. We will look at the different evolution stages of subtitles in the following categories: –
- Before film
- During the silent movie era
- Accessibility and Literacy
Subtitles Before Film
- Subtitles have always been with us even before film production and television programs but not in how we know it nowadays. The whole art of displaying texts alongside performances can be seen with opera performances, information in the form of texts was usually included in live performances to help the local people understand and engage with the performances if they were productions in foreign languages.
- Born out of Italian madrigal tradition, many operatic composers continued to favor Italian as the language for the libretto of their operas. Local audiences in Germany, or in Mozart’s own Austria for example, had difficulty understanding the works performed in front them.
- To help close this gap in understanding, the text was displayed on a separate screen above the stage for the audience to see a translation of the performance into their native language. Because of its position above the stage, this text was called a “surtitle” or “supertitle.” This tradition is carried on today in a handful of modern theatre companies and at international film festivals.
Subtitles In The Silent Movie Era
- The art of film has really moved from different stages over time and it moving from the experimental efforts of the two Lumiere brothers and Thomas Edison the form of film narration became the most sort after kind of production to connect audiences with the more nuanced stories of the time. Back then what they used where Inter-titles which were text-only clips which were spliced into films to explain and expound more on the main points of the film and fill in the narrative space of the silent cinema.
- With time using the inter-titles became an art in its own form which would promote artistic humor and invite an extra sense of humor and emotions on top of an actor’s performance. Introducing sound in film changed a lot of things in the error of silent films which led to the use of inter-titles to reduce. We can still see hints of the inter-title tradition carried on after the silent film era in movies and TV shows like “The Shining,” “Frasier,” and even “Spongebob Squarepants.” The purpose of inter-titles in modern works is usually to indicate the passage of time or change in the location instead of providing narration and exposition.
Subtitles For Accessibility And Literacy.
- I believe that this is the stage of subtitles that the world is in right now. Many people who have a hearing impairment and have difficulties processing sound audio find the availability of subtitles a huge help for them. Subtitles have also made work easier for a lot of content creators where they allow their content to be accessed all over the world with the help of translated subtitles for different languages and audiences. For creators with multilingual audiences, hiring someone to translate subtitles is often the more popular option compared with the practices of dubbing or lectoring. Here, dubbing is the process replacing original speakers with voice actors in the intended target language while lectoring is a supplementary narration that is played alongside the original audio.
- Using subtitles has really come of age, and as the film industry continues evolving, we can only expect bigger and better ways incorporated with the subtitles. From the texts from during performances to inter-titles during silent movies to the current form of subtitles, the future of film is promising.
- Dubbing being a more complex form of audio translation which is also highly used in the film production industry to reach a much bigger audience specific to a certain language, while subtitling is a form of written translation we can’t wait to see what will come up next as we look out for the upgrade in how subtitles will be used or introduction of different software’s being used and how they will be presented on the screens as we enjoy our films. It really is exciting to watch out for all the changes that may happen. The film industry is going far, and we are here to experience its evolution.