Video and audio messages are incorporated more easily by the target audience. Do you make use of them ?

Do you reach your customers via video or audio messages in a foreign language? Have you ever wondered how the dubbing or subtitling of a movie is being performed?

Although everything appears to be “by default”, you may find that there are techniques and procedures hidden behind the screen, employed to ensure a unitary, targeted message and, above all, one that is transmitted properly.
We possess the know-how… because it is part of our job … and we considered it would be interesting and even significant to provide you an insight so that you can choose, knowingly, the right option according to your goal.

Language services for audiovisual content are highly diversified and this is due to both the diversity of the audience and the variety of their use.

The working method takes into account the context, respectively the characteristics of the audience, the pursued goal, the technical characteristics, the platform on which one works, and so on.

For example, people with hearing impairments benefit from the so-called “SDH subtitles”, in which all non-verbal sounds, character identity, and voice characteristics are rendered to improve the viewer’s experience. For people who cannot read (small children, for example) dubbing is the right way to go; voice-over is being used to make the content of educational or highly informative videos accessible, without distracting the viewers from the images.

In the following, the main 5 types of language services for multimedia files are described, so that you have the necessary reference points for an educated decision.

Intralinguistic services (in the source language)

  1. Transcription, as the process of rewriting of the speech from an audio or video file in the form of a cursive text in the source language (original language).

Types of transcription
There are two types of transcription:

  • standard transcription, in which speech is simplified – by eliminating interjections, repetitions – to ensure the fluency of sentences;
  • SDH transcription (for people with hearing impairments), where speech is laid out word by word, rendering all non-verbal sounds (Hmm, Oops! …), voice characteristics (tone, volume, etc.), or even the identity of the characters.

Contexts of use

  • to make it easier for people with hearing impairments to understand the content;
  • to facilitate understanding when audio content is of poor quality (e.g. reports, background recordings, telephone conversations, interviews, etc.);
  • to facilitate the understanding of the content by persons who do not speak the original language;
  • to generate a file that can be later translated into other languages.

  1. Captioning (synchronized transcription)
    = the process of rewriting the speech in the source language (original language) from an audio or video file in the form of text divided into subtitles, including subtitle entrance and exit times, to synchronize the text with the video content. Most often, the synchronized transcript is displayed at the bottom of a video clip.

Types of captioning

As with transcription, depending on the transcription process, captioning can be of two types:

  • standard captioning, in which speech is simplified – by eliminating interjections, repetitions – to ensure the fluency of sentences;
  • SDH captioning (for people with hearing impairments), in which speech is laid down word by word, rendering all sounds, interjections and voice features (tone, volume, etc.).

In addition, the captioning file:

  • can be used as a separate resource (eng. CC – Closed Captioning) in .srt, .ass, .sbv format etc .;
  • it can be permanently inserted into the video clip through a process called “burning” (OC – Open Captioning).

Contexts of use

  • as a tool for SEO optimization of webpages with video content;
  • for retaining and learning a foreign language, by synchronizing pronunciation with phonetic writing (training courses, educational videos, etc.);
  • to facilitate the understanding of the content by people with hearing impairments (movies, presentation clips, etc.);
  • – to facilitate the understanding of the content by persons who do not master the original language;
  • – to generate a file that can be later translated into other languages.

Interlinguistic services (translation into other languages)

  1. Subtitling
    = the process of translating into another language (different from the source-language) from an audio or video file in the form of text divided into subtitles, including subtitle entrance and exit times, to synchronize the text with the video content.

Subtitle Types

As with transcription, depending on the subtitling process, it can be of two types:

  • standard subtitles, in which the speech is rendered as fluently as possible, eliminating non-essential or redundant information;
  • SDH subtitles (for people with hearing impairments), where all non-verbal sounds, character identity and voice characteristics are rendered to improve the viewer’s experience.
    In addition, in terms of subtitle encoding, it can be:
  • softsub/ Closed Subtitle, meaning that the subtitling will be exported as a separate file (.srt, .ssa, .sbv, etc.), but can be played together with the video in specific programs for running multimedia files (VLC, Windows Media Player etc.);
  • hardsub/ Open Subtitle, meaning that the subtitle will be permanently “attached” to the video by a process called “burning”.

Contexts of use

  • as a tool for SEO optimization of videos;
  • to make content accessible to non-natives (e.g. movies, interviews, conferences, etc.);
  • to disseminate videos with predominantly informative content (technical videos, speeches, etc.);
  • to generate a file that can later provide a basis for video voice-over or video dubbing.

  1. Voice-over
    = sound re-recording of speech from a video clip in a language other than the original one, in the form of a narrative. Voice-over renders the message only for information purposes and not emotionally (omits the playback of voice features – intonation, volume, speech pauses, etc.). It is not synchronized with the movements of the characters’ lips and is overlapped with the original audio content (the listener can hear the source language in the background).
    Contexts of use
  • to make the content of educational or highly informative videos accessible, without distracting the viewers from the images (medical, technical presentations, etc.);
  • to make videos available to people who can’t read;
  • to make accessible the content of clips where the original voice is important. The voice-over can be heard with a delay of a few seconds, so that the listener can get a grasp of the speaker’s original voice and emotion (e.g. political speeches, conferences, reports, interviews, etc.).

  1. Dubbing
    = replacing the soundtrack of a video clip with a language other than the original one, by using the voice of one or more actors, mimicking the characteristics of the original voice and being synchronized with the original audio speech. The dubbing requires a lot of acting talent, in order to imitate as accurately as possible the tone and emotion of the original voices without giving the impression of being dubbed.
    Types of Dubbing
    Depending on the degree of synchronization of the sounds with the lip movement in the clip, we distinguish 2 types of dubbing:
  • voice-over dubbing: the soundtrack is synchronized with the image, but does not recreate the text so that the sound matches the movement of the lips.
  • dubbing by synchronizing sound with lip movement (or lip-synchronization).
    Contexts of use
  • to make videos available to people who can’t read (e.g. animated videos for children);
  • to make accessible the creative videos in which the image plays an important role and where subtitling would distract from the visual elements (commercials, animations, movies, TV shows, etc.);
  • to promote the use of the mother tongue in the context of linguistic globalization.

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