Subtitling Overview






Subtitling is real-time written translation of a video or movie, appearing as text on the lower third of the screen. Subtitling is popular for DVD, CD-ROM, video and other multimedia use. @International Services is pleased to assist studios and developers to subtitle in-house, or can lay the subtitles in a partner studio and return a finished Master to client. @IS often brings together corporate clients and developer-clients, creating customized subtitling solutions ideal for the project.



Where once subtitling could only be done on huge, expensive machines, today there are outstanding multilingual subtitling software packages "for the desktop". This accessibility and user-friendliness has removed the prohibitive cost from the process of subtitling, making it affordable in multiple languages. Even Asian languages have become easy to use, and can be included in the subtitling project plans despite "2-byte" characteristics. The problems with characters that were incompatible with English systems in the past are fading.



There are several different approaches to placing foreign text on screen as subtitles. These approaches involve various types of "edit lists". An edit list is a file that provides the exact time code in-points and out-points for each subtitle. Some edit lists contain the subtitle text (the words that will appear at the bottom of the screen) inside the edit list itself as an additional column of that edit list, which text will be laid by the software on screen at the time indicated in the edit list. These "text edit lists" automatically create subtitles in almost any ABC language plus the major Asian languages Chinese, Japanese and Korean, without need for massive numbers of graphic art files, as in the past. The software does the work, and correctly places the text. These "text edit lists" are appropriate for software such as DVD Studio Pro, Adobe, Sonic and others.

Other types of edit lists trigger graphic "art files" (TGA, TIFF or PCT) to appear on screen according to the time codes. This "art file" method works well for languages such as rarer Asian and Middle Eastern that are incompatible with most developer's software, but is more complex than the "text edit list" approach. Customized edit lists are provided to the developer, plus the graphic art files that are ready to use, with text properly styled, sized and placed.



There are approximately 700 subtitles in a 30 minute show. 1400 per hour. @International Services has an automated process for any one of 40 "text edit lists", and for creating hundreds of subtitle "art files" in a very short space of time. The sheer volume of subtitles was formerly intimidating, but the customized edit lists now assure quick and painless results. @IS is pleased to walk developers through their first subtitling experience. The developer will lose several hours during the first experience, mostly in discovering features related to software and equipment with which they may already be familiar, but which special features were not used in the past. Once the first learning experience has been surmounted, subtitling becomes a smooth process.