Translated Subtitles – Why They Can Make a Difference

In today’s world, the most effective websites – those with the most impact – include not only written content but also both video and audio content. YouTube is the most popular and localized video-sharing platform in social media. It´s available in over 100 countries and 80 different languages, with India representing the biggest audience with 225 million users, followed by USA (197 million), Brazil (83 million), Japan (60 million) and Russia (58 million).

Try scrolling through your other favorite social media platform and notice how many localized videos and ads easily grab your attention. They are generally set to autoplay (unless you disable that function), and for good reason. Audio and visual content jumps off the screen, grabs a viewer’s attention, and connects much more powerfully than written content alone.

Subtitling Services in Multiple Languages

The challenge, however, is that audio content is, by definition, language-specific. After all, actors can only speak in one language at a time. Consequently, options for website operators trying to reach a global, multi-lingual audience with audio and video content are limited. Creating videos in multiple languages is both time-consuming and expensive. As a result, many website managers avoid video content completely, or at least avoid any videos with speaking.

With effective multi-lingual subtitling these problems disappear. Translated subtitling allows you to leverage the value of audio and video content while still speaking to the heart and the mind of your audience. It gives you a competitive advantage by removing the language barriers that otherwise exist, connecting you with your audience in multiple ways.

Unlike closed captioning, which is simply a text representation of the actual verbal content, subtitling is a textual and contextual translation of the verbal content into the written language of your audience. It allows a website visitor to watch the video, see the expressions and hear the tone of the speaker – all while reading the content in their own language.

The Art of High-Quality Subtitling

Like any translation work, high-quality subtitling requires much more than just a technical knowledge of the basic language of your audience. It also demands a personal, in-depth understanding of your specific audience: grammatical distinctives, specific verb forms and conjugations, level of sophistication and the nature and style of what you want to communicate.

Subtitling to an audience of young teens, for example, requires a very different style from subtitling to an audience of new mothers, which requires yet a different style from subtitling to urban professionals. And humor, in particular, requires a special attention to your audience. Your subtitles must be localized and contextualized to speak to the heart of your specific audience. This requires more than simply a computer-generated transcript or translation. It requires a personal, human touch.