Movie Subtitling – Insightful Tips for Industry Beginners

Movie subtitling is the standard practice for Content creators who want their videos to be accessible to a wider audience. The internet has become a launch pad for creators to reach a wider audience which was virtually impossible a few decades ago.

Today, dubbed videos are quite popular because they allow viewers who are not native speakers to watch and understand videos and films produced in languages they don’t understand. In fact, movie subtitling in foreign languages has been a catalyst for the tremendous growth of several movie industries across the globe.

Movie subtitling
photo credit: Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels

Although the first adopters of video subtitling were movie producers, content creators have also adopted the strategy. It has become normal to find videos like webinars, instructional videos, comedy skits, academic videos, promotional videos, and audiovisuals with subtitles in one or more languages.

Opportunities for Newbie Translators

The demand for subtitle translation has created emerging opportunities for translators worldwide. Today, anybody with a good linguistic background and a deep understanding of two or more languages can have a successful career in the translation industry. The growth of remote work, especially in the post-Covid era, has made it easier to work from home.

And if industry trends are anything to go by, the translation industry is only going to grow bigger as many brands and creators request translation services for their movies and videos

Movie Subtitling Tips for Beginners

If you are just starting in the industry, we know that you’ll want to make a good first impression in the early stages. Here are some tips to remember as you take the first step towards building an impressive portfolio.

Understand The Source Material

The first thing to bear in mind when translating movie subtitles is to understand the source material; the source material is the movie or video you are working on. Since you don’t have much experience yet, watching the video from start to finish is wise if you have the time to understand the flow and expressions used. If you understand the source material before working on the subtitles, you will most likely produce a perfect job.

Preserve Tone of Speech and Style

It is always best to preserve the same tone of speech or style used by the characters in the video, but this is easier said than done. One of the biggest challenges with movie subtitle translation is when dealing with words that don’t have an equivalent in the translated language. Many beginners may use a similar word with a completely different meaning which may alter the message.

Always consider the cultural elements of the target audience in relation to the video you are subtitling, so the essential message is not lost.


Subtitle translation challenges

Replicate Meaning, Not Words

Avoid the temptation of using the same words all over again, so you don’t bore the audience. Seek to replicate the expressions, not the words used. The fewer words used, the better. Movie subtitling is all about conveying the same message as the spoken words in the video so as to draw the same reaction from them. You don’t have to use the same words as the characters in the movie or video if there are shorter words in the target language that can convey the same message.

Be Mindful of Punctuation

Remember that the audience cannot understand what is being said, so they’ll rely solely on the texts below, so you have to produce subtitles that are easy to read and understand. Ensure there is a question mark for every question and an exclamation mark for excitable expressions and raised tone. Let your full stops appear at strategic points and commas to break sentences.

If a sentence is too long, break it into two single commas or full stops. Always have the audience in mind when handling a movie subtitling project. If they can understand what the text is saying, it means you have done a darn good job.

The Best Movie Subtitles Translation Service Provider

Circle Translations offers clients a host of translation services, and movie subtitling is one of them. We handle all kinds of video content translation, from movies to skits and audiovisuals to instructional and promotional videos. If you lack the time for your movie subtitling or desire professional input, you can hire us to give you a perfect job.

We have language experts in diverse languages that can translate your videos and movies into any language of your choice. Contact us today, and let us provide you with a free quote.