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Ask me anything about subtitling
Thread poster: Max Deryagin

Bianca Stierli
Switzerland
Local time: 07:55
English to German
Convertion softrware .rtf to .srt Jul 9, 2017

Hi Max, you seem to be quite experienced in subtitling. Can you give some advise for a good software for converting .rtf to .srt?

 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:55
Member (2013)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
- Jul 9, 2017

esuanab wrote:

Hi Max, you seem to be quite experienced in subtitling. Can you give some advise for a good software for converting .rtf to .srt?


Hi esuanab,

RTF is not a subtitle file format but rather a document file format. A number of subtitling tools are capable of exporting to and importing from RTF, and they all use/understand different markups. What this means in your case is there's no way to tell what software will be able to handle the conversion without having seen the file text. So, if possible, can you copy and paste a small portion of the text in a reply?


 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:55
Member (2013)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
- Jul 11, 2017

Pilar Dueñas wrote:

Hello,

I've been reading guidelines for a few weeks now, both in English and Spanish, and I can't for the life of me find a translation for the label "MOUTHS", as in "What the f(MOUTHS) do you mean by that?". I'm referring to forming a word with your lips so that others can lip-read you but not actually hear the word.

"INAUDIBLE" is not very specific, but I will use it if this is the convention.


Hi Pilar,

So, I asked a top-level expert at the University of Roehampton, and he said that

There's no set, standard way of doing this. You’ll find different options, such as

(SIN VOZ)
(NO EMITE SONIDOS)
(ARTICULA)
(GESTICULA)

Then, it also depends on the reason why the character’s words are not being heard. If it’s because of external noise or music, then you just tag that: (Griterío), (Ruido), (Música alta), (Voces), etc. If it’s because one of the characters, for whatever reason, cannot hear, then it could be (NO OYE NADA) or (OYE CON DIFICULTAD).


Hope this helps.


 

soohyun.kim
Canada
Local time: 01:55
Korean to English
How do I enter the field of film subtitle translation? Jul 13, 2017

Hi Max

Do you have any advice or recommendations about how to get a foot into the door of film subtitle translation (independent films, cinema, etc.)? I've never done film translation before, but I have some experience in translating TV shows.

Thanks!


 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:55
Member (2013)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
- Jul 13, 2017

soohyunnee wrote:

Hi Max

Do you have any advice or recommendations about how to get a foot into the door of film subtitle translation (independent films, cinema, etc.)? I've never done film translation before, but I have some experience in translating TV shows.

Thanks!


Hi soohyunnee,

Four ways:

1. Through the contacts you obtain during your MA course in AVT;
2. Through the contacts you obtain while networking in AVT associations/unions;
3. Through direct clients;
4. Through subtitling agencies.

If the first two are not an option in your case, I recommend first getting a solid theoretical base in AVT and then applying to either Amara or Sfera to gain practical knowledge. Yes, their rates are beyond poor, but you need experience before you can move to greener pastures. Then you can try your luck with more reputable companies like VSI, BTI, Nordisk Undertext etc. or maybe even build your own business and attract direct clients.




[Edited at 2017-07-13 07:29 GMT]


 

ibrahimt
Turkey
additional question Aug 28, 2017

Max Deryagin wrote:

If the first two are not an option in your case, I recommend first getting a solid theoretical base in AVT and then applying to either Amara or Sfera to gain practical knowledge.


I am in the same situation with soohyunnee. I did fansubs before, so I have some familiarity with AVT. Yet, I don't know the industry standards. Where can I learn more about AVT and improve my skills?

How much Amara/Sfera experience would be enough to be hired by a reputable company?


 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:55
Member (2013)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
- Aug 29, 2017

ibrahimt wrote:

I am in the same situation with soohyunnee. I did fansubs before, so I have some familiarity with AVT. Yet, I don't know the industry standards. Where can I learn more about AVT and improve my skills?

How much Amara/Sfera experience would be enough to be hired by a reputable company?


Hi ibrahimt,

Let's start with the subtitling standards. I recommend, as always, to first read Jorge's book and then read Netflix's TTSG. This should be enough for starters, and then, if you get hired, the company will give you their styleguide to follow.

Reputable companies look at your career record and education to decide if you're fit for their projects. So, in your application you have to demonstrate that you have what it takes. Therefore:

1. Make sure you actually do have what it takes. You need to have, at the very least, impeccable Turkish, advanced source language, several years of translation experience, advanced knowledge of subtitling standards and subtitling software.
2. Better don't mention that you did fansubs before. It'd be a red flag rather than a plus.
3. If you have no professional experience but you think you're a strong translator, Amara/Sfera is the way to go. Two years is enough to start looking for other work that's paid better.

Here's an example of what a good company would expect from you: http://www.sdimedia.com/job/english-to-turkish-translator/


[Edited at 2017-08-29 07:32 GMT]


 

clairemcn
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:55
French to English
+ ...
Getting into subtitling Sep 5, 2017

Another question about getting into subtitling!

I've been working as a freelance translator full time for the past 5+ years now and recently I've become really interested in moving into subtitling. I just have no idea where to start. I'm a former student of the UCL Translation Studies course (which has since merged with the old Imperial MSc Translation) and was lucky enough to have Jorge Diaz-Cintas as a lecturer on one of my modules back in 2009, but I didn't do the summer intensiv
... See more
Another question about getting into subtitling!

I've been working as a freelance translator full time for the past 5+ years now and recently I've become really interested in moving into subtitling. I just have no idea where to start. I'm a former student of the UCL Translation Studies course (which has since merged with the old Imperial MSc Translation) and was lucky enough to have Jorge Diaz-Cintas as a lecturer on one of my modules back in 2009, but I didn't do the summer intensive subtitling course we were offered because I couldn't afford it at the time. Unfortunately I've just missed this year's summer subtitling courses as well and now I just don't know where to start.

My main source languages are French and Spanish and my native language is English. I do already have a grasp of the theory behind AVT due to my MA (I wrote one of my assignments on subtitling and dubbing) but my practical experience is zero. I'm particularly worried about the software side of things - will I need to buy expensive software? How do I go about finding clients?

Any advice gratefully received.
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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:55
Member (2013)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
- Sep 5, 2017

clairemcn wrote:

Another question about getting into subtitling!

I've been working as a freelance translator full time for the past 5+ years now and recently I've become really interested in moving into subtitling. I just have no idea where to start. I'm a former student of the UCL Translation Studies course (which has since merged with the old Imperial MSc Translation) and was lucky enough to have Jorge Diaz-Cintas as a lecturer on one of my modules back in 2009, but I didn't do the summer intensive subtitling course we were offered because I couldn't afford it at the time. Unfortunately I've just missed this year's summer subtitling courses as well and now I just don't know where to start.

My main source languages are French and Spanish and my native language is English. I do already have a grasp of the theory behind AVT due to my MA (I wrote one of my assignments on subtitling and dubbing) but my practical experience is zero. I'm particularly worried about the software side of things - will I need to buy expensive software? How do I go about finding clients?

Any advice gratefully received.


Hi clairemcn,

Well, you're off to a pretty good start compared to many other people: you have some knowledge in AVT and you live in the European capital of subtitling. Now, I think it'd be better to refresh your memory, since you did your MA quite a while ago. After that's done, you can do the following:

  • Download Subtitle Edit (the best free tool for subtitling at the moment) and learn how it works, down to every function in the program.
  • Subtitle several public domain films in Subtitle Edit to become a confident user of the program and get a bit of experience.
  • Follow the steps I suggested for Mariaduarte79 and soohyunnee.

Also, I invite you to read this article on how to make it as a freelance subtitler: http://www.translationengland.com/translation-blog/how-to-make-it-as-a-freelance-subtitler

Speaking of professional software, nowadays most subtitling work is done via proprietary online tools, so owning this expensive software is not mandatory — you can get by using those tools and Subtitle Edit in most cases. I still love my EZTitles to bits, though.


 

Dania Albarran
Mexico
Local time: 00:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
How to show my work to potencial clients Oct 24, 2017

Hi, Max,
First of all, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to doing this post.
I'm an undergraduate Translation student. Of all the subjects I've seen in school, AVT is the right one for me, I really enjoy it. I've been working as a volunteer translator for TED, and also I've been working for Amara and Sfera for almost one year now. I think it is time for me to move to an agency and direct clients. My question is: How do I show them my job? Do you think I should subtitle some
... See more
Hi, Max,
First of all, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to doing this post.
I'm an undergraduate Translation student. Of all the subjects I've seen in school, AVT is the right one for me, I really enjoy it. I've been working as a volunteer translator for TED, and also I've been working for Amara and Sfera for almost one year now. I think it is time for me to move to an agency and direct clients. My question is: How do I show them my job? Do you think I should subtitle some Youtube videos and send them along with my CV?

Thanks in advance.
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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:55
Member (2013)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
- Oct 25, 2017

Dania Albarran wrote:

Hi, Max,
First of all, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to doing this post.
I'm an undergraduate Translation student. Of all the subjects I've seen in school, AVT is the right one for me, I really enjoy it. I've been working as a volunteer translator for TED, and also I've been working for Amara and Sfera for almost one year now. I think it is time for me to move to an agency and direct clients. My question is: How do I show them my job? Do you think I should subtitle some Youtube videos and send them along with my CV?

Thanks in advance.


Hi Dania,

More often than not, project managers and direct clients can't tell a well-subtitled clip from a poorly subtitled clip, so showing them your videos won't achieve much. Also, project managers from subtitling agencies usually have very little time on their hands, especially when they deal with hundreds of CVs, so they'll most likely just ignore your videos. So, unless you're expressly asked to provide examples of your work, you probably shouldn't send them, and instead try to sell your expertise in the CV's text part. But make sure you have your subtitled videos steady in case the client does need them.

Where example clips can help is freelancing platforms such as Upwork and your own website, if you want to go that route.


 

Myrtle Birliraki, CL, MCIL
Greece
Local time: 08:55
English to Greek
Job invitations Nov 2, 2017

A few weeks ago, I joined as a freelancer two subtitling companies, one of them is one of the largest in the field. Yesterday I got a job invitation, I didn't reply on time, actually I got the email on my phone with 30 min delay, and lost the job. I'm not sure how this works, how come one of the largest companies in the field has only one job offer for me? Can you please advise on how this "bidding" system works, it seems to me it's out of pure luck getting my first project with them. Thank you.

 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:55
Member (2013)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
- Nov 2, 2017

MyrtleBi wrote:

A few weeks ago, I joined as a freelancer two subtitling companies, one of them is one of the largest in the field. Yesterday I got a job invitation, I didn't reply on time, actually I got the email on my phone with 30 min delay, and lost the job. I'm not sure how this works, how come one of the largest companies in the field has only one job offer for me? Can you please advise on how this "bidding" system works, it seems to me it's out of pure luck getting my first project with them. Thank you.


Hi MyrtleBi,

It works exactly like that; I think jbjb has described this system somewhere in this thread, if I recall correctly. Yes, there are companies like that, and my best advice is to not work with them. If a company uses the bidding system, it doesn't think of its freelance vendors as professionals, which is outright disrespectful. It should not be tolerated.


 

jbjb  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 08:55
Estonian to English
+ ...
system Nov 2, 2017

Depends on the type of project. Let's say it's an international project.
A project manager gets a film to be translated in 30 languages. Usually one week deadline for translation + proofreading, therefore about 2-3 days for translation. One way is to contact 30 people, one for each language, wait for confirmation and assign the project. If there is no answer within... one day? they try someone else for that language (but that's half of translation time gone on waiting).
Another way
... See more
Depends on the type of project. Let's say it's an international project.
A project manager gets a film to be translated in 30 languages. Usually one week deadline for translation + proofreading, therefore about 2-3 days for translation. One way is to contact 30 people, one for each language, wait for confirmation and assign the project. If there is no answer within... one day? they try someone else for that language (but that's half of translation time gone on waiting).
Another way is to send mass e-mails to all translators in the language. Whoever answers first, gets the project. The benefit is that it gets assigned quickly.
In reality it doesn't always work like that. Each project manager would have some people who they are familiar with (mostly for meeting the deadline), and they would be contacted directly. So the mass e-mail would go out only for those languages where the regular familiar translators are busy with other projects and some new blood is needed.
So you just have to wait to "get on the boat" with some project. Once it happens, remember that in big companies translation quality is 5-10% of the job and meeting the very short deadlines is 90-95%. Project managers dealing with 30 languages have no idea what quality these translators produce, as long as they produce it fast. Only if the quality is so bad that proofreaders grumble, would they have some idea about translation quality.
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Myrtle Birliraki, CL, MCIL
Greece
Local time: 08:55
English to Greek
Job invitations Nov 2, 2017

Hi MyrtleBi,

It works exactly like that; I think jbjb has described this system somewhere in this thread, if I recall correctly. Yes, there are companies like that, and my best advice is to not work with them. If a company uses the bidding system, it doesn't think of its freelance vendors as professionals, which is outright disrespectful. It should not be tolerated. [/quote]

Thank you so much for your reply. A first come, first serve policy makes it nearly impossible fo
... See more
Hi MyrtleBi,

It works exactly like that; I think jbjb has described this system somewhere in this thread, if I recall correctly. Yes, there are companies like that, and my best advice is to not work with them. If a company uses the bidding system, it doesn't think of its freelance vendors as professionals, which is outright disrespectful. It should not be tolerated. [/quote]

Thank you so much for your reply. A first come, first serve policy makes it nearly impossible for a translator to get the job. A computer or smartphone glitch, or a slow internet connection when out and about, results in losing the job. It feels like a competition of who clicks first, if you are not fast enough, you don't get the job. It's really disappointing.
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