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  • Writer's pictureWaira

Subtitling: all you need to know

Subtitles are something we are all familiar with, but do we really know what constitutes a good subtitle? In Waira we are experts when it comes to delivering a high-quality service. We are a post-production house based in Argentina, that offers dubbing, translation and subtitling services to companies all over the world.

As every project has its own particularities, the most important thing is to identify the clients’ needs and the viewers’ needs. Along with the client, we define the details that will help us deliver exactly what they expect. At this instance, we provide our clients with a complete overview, and we assist them in case the project calls for translation, localization or adaptation services, to ensure a highly successful final product.

Once the main guidelines are clear, we are ready to work! At this point, our subtitling team has all the information needed to create accurate subtitles or Closed Captions (CC), meeting both the quality standards expected language wise and the parameters given by the project’s style guide. But there is another matter of vital importance regarding the quality of a subtitle: the synchronization and timing must be flawless! When subtitles or closed captions are out of synch, they fall flat, as their main purpose is not only to communicate content, spoken word or additional information, but also to accompany the flow of images and scenes, so the viewer can enjoy a wholesome experience. A high-quality subtitle reflects the emotions and the tone of a scene with carefully chosen words, but it is safe to say that a precisely synchronized subtitle can make the difference, by respecting the pace and pauses of a character’s lines. In the same way, the additional information given with Closed Captions or Forced Narrative must be perfectly synchronized with the image or sound effect as well, otherwise, it could affect and ruin the whole ambience. For instance, if a caption indicating an explosion would appear on the screen even a tenth of a second before the actual explosion, it would ruin the surprise factor and most probably, the entire scene.

These are the main factors we need to consider in order to deliver a high-quality subtitling service, but the process is not complete until our Quality Control team revises each and every file, to ensure the subtitles meet the technical parameters such as characters per line, reading speed, segmenting and synchronization. Once they are revised and approved, the files are ready to deliver. We are especially careful regarding deadlines, as we know how important it is for our clients to keep the workflow at a certain rhythm, and we are committed to provide an excellent service with highly convenient turnaround times.

Every day, thousands of minutes of audiovisual material are uploaded to social media and online platforms, and their potential of reaching larger audiences all around the globe relies on the quality and accuracy of their translation, localization and/or subtitles. Having this information in mind, we can understand why it is so important to hire a production service company like Waira, with the expertise and resources needed to provide a solution for every client and every project.

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