Subtitles are something that most of us don’t even take notice of but they are very important. They help viewers comprehend foreign dialogue in their own language. Writing clear and concise subtitles is an art form. It has its own rules and specifications. Harivu Creations works on Subtitling services and here are our thoughts about subtitling. 

What are subtitles?
As the word itself suggests, these are the titles displayed at the bottom of an audio-visual content. These titles are nothing but the transcription of the utterances of the content spoken by actors, newsreaders, commentators, and others on the screen, usually in other language or sometimes in the same language also.

The process of creating the subtitles is called subtitling. In this process, the subtitle artist will first listen to audio from the video format and simultaneously translate it to the required language. Creating subtitles is more than just a plain translation of the spoken content and placing them at the bottom of the screen. The primary aim is that the viewer spends less time reading the subtitles and can focus more on the visuals. Hence it is extremely important to translate the spoken content in as few words as possible. It has to consider the timing specifications like characters per line, characters per second etc.

Subtitling enables the video content to be accessible globally to all markets and in all native languages. It breaks all the language barriers and facilitates cultural awareness. If one is learning a language, subtitles are great tool for enhancing one’s comprehension of the language.

Closed captions are another term for subtitles and this is an American term. These subtitles are specifically intended for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Usually, these are transcriptions rather than a translation and also contains descriptions of important things in the video such as “sighs”, “wind howling”, “Song playing”, “kisses”, “thunder rumbling” or “door creaking” and lyrics of the song.

Creative Subtitling
When it comes to subtitling, the truth is aside from making the videos available in different languages, subtitles can be intentionally designed to enhance the viewing experience.

Subtitles are usually created with the intention to make the video accessible globally in different languages. Apart from creating a generic monotype font, subtitles can also be created to express unspoken thoughts or action through the wonders of typography or creative sentences.

Software to create subtitles
There are many tools for creating subtitles. SubtitleEdit, Aegisub, VisualSubSync, Subtitle Workshop are few of them. Usually the subtitle files are saved with a .srt or .ass file extension. These subtitle files are then launched from within a video player.