Subtitling in Arabic, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish

MULTILINGUAL IN-FLIGHT SAFETY VIDEO

Aside from a tight production schedule, which is nothing new in an industry used to running on tight schedules, there was one particular client-imposed constraint that made this project unusually demanding.  

British Airways mandated the use of their branded, proprietary font. The aesthetic charm of this typeface aside, in the world of subtitling, screen space, also referred to as “screen real-estate” is limited and the message is thus constrained.

InterNation has preferred fonts that are economical in terms of their “footprint” and efficient in terms of readability, and we work with them routinely.  The British Airways font was approximately 20% wider than the fonts we normally use.  While is may not seem like much, it effectively means that we had to make due with 20% less text for each line of subtitles.

This and the fact that all seven subtitling languages had to follow in-step with the English  — we could not accommodate even a single extra title for any language — forced our subtitlers and editors to parse and break the English subtitles with great consideration of what might happen with any given line of English in translation.  And translations are notorious for expanding.

Our linguists, already expert at the brevity subtitling requires, met the challenge of formulating a mission critical safety message with 20% fewer words than usual without compromising its content.

Mission accomplished — nothing lost in translation.