Frequently Asked Questions

What you’ve asked, what we’ve answered

Frequently Asked questions – Subtitles

WE BELIEVE A CUSTOMER WHO UNDERSTANDS the translation and localization industry can be his or her own best advocate. Knowing what we do and why we do it that way is essential for good collaboration. While there are many things we cannot address sight unseen, this FAQ provides a good overview of basic information. To learn more about what we do, please feel free to contact us. Your inquiries — and questions — are genuinely welcome.


How many languages can you title in?

We can work in virtually any language.

What is the difference between subtitling and closed captioning?

Subtitling is text that is either burned into film, composited with video or generated during playback of a DVD. Typically, it includes only a translation or transcription of the voice track of the program. Closed captioning, as the name implies, is carried in the closed portion of a broadcast, cable or DVD video signal. It includes not only a transcription or translation of the voice track but, because it is expressly intended to aid the hearing impaired, it also includes notation to account for music and sound effects.

Can I have subtitles in more than one language visible on one video?

Yes. While this is an unusual approach, it is technically possible and occasionally advisable. For instance, we routinely do dual-language titling for airline safety videos. This has typically implied an English narration with English subtitles and subtitles in a second language. But it means that the screen must be properly configured to accommodate two sets of titles. In the case of DVDs, however, only one subtitle stream can appear in the program at a time.

What is time-code spotting?

Time-code spotting is the process of determining the in- and out-points (or cue points) of subtitles.

Why do you need to time code spot before translating?

The code spotter breaks the text to be translated into segments that take into account the line length and the maximum number of characters that will fit onto the screen. In doing so, the spotter will determine optimal places for line breaks to ensure the best possible readability.  Also, one time code spots first—before translating—so that one need only do it once if several languages are involved.

Can I provide my own translation for subtitles?

Yes, but it must fit—in both time and space—and it should be inserted into a properly formatted script after time-code spotting. Subtitling is a highly specific form of translation requiring a very condensed text. Taking a standard translation and simply cutting the text into subtitles creates subtitles that are too long and hard to read in the available time.

I want to do my own subtitling in order to save money. All I need is the translation. Can you help me with this?

Yes. We routinely provide turnkey and customized subtitling solutions. We can work to fit into your workflow as determined by your budget and in-house or third-party capabilities.

Do I have a choice as to the style/font/size of the title? Is there a standard?

Yes, however the range of possibilities in this regard is affected by the particular language, the application and format of the video in question.

How do you make sure that the titles are properly timed against the voice and picture?

First of all, the translation is done from a timed script (see time code spotting). The translators then work against the video to ensure proper timing and linguistic integrity . Finally, we carefully review the program for optimal sync-to-picture and readability.




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