Home > 4: Edit > Translating – message in a box

Translating – message in a box

Translating video

If your video is to reach its broadest audience, it needs to be understandable by people from other parts of the world — including those who are hard of hearing. For this to happen, it first needs to be transcribed, then translated into the languages of your target audiences.

Original Language Transcript:

The first and most important step in translating video is to create an accurate, digital transcript of all the words spoken in the final edit of the film. This should be a plain document of the full spoken word audio, plus any text titles on screen, written out in a text document in the original language.

Each phrase or sentence should be written on a separate line, with the start and end time code (hour:minute:second:frame) at the start of the line, like this:

00:01:10 00:01:20 This is a film about people resisting water privatisation in Bolivia

00:01:23 00:01:32 and the repression that they suffered

You can create such a document easily using free software like Jubler, and save it as a .SRT file. Jubler is an open source program for creating video subtitles. An .SRT file is the way these subtitles are stored and saved.

Using/Sharing the Transcript or Subtitle File

The resulting original-language transcript can be uploaded with your film, and included for distribution on any DVD or other offline format.

It can also be attached to digital copies of the film using the VLC player as closed captions for the hard of hearing and for screening in noisy environments.

Most importantly, it can be sent as a text file to translators for easy offline translation — even those without access to watch the film can help. The translator needs simply to replace the original language phrases on each line with a direct written translation, keeping the timecode in place to ensure the right phrase goes in the right place. This new file can then be used as a subtitle file just the same as the original-language file.

Even if you don’t have funds for translation, you should still create an original-language transcript and share it when you publish the video. You might find people autonomously take on translating your film into their language.

For more see the guides to Making Subtitles with Jubler and using VLC to view subtitles

Additional Resources


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