A subtitling job explained
In your subtitling queries please include the following:

>> The film to be subtitled (feature film, documentary film, TV report, art video, company presentation etc.) preferably as an MPEG1 file or as a DVD.
>> A dialogue list, if available.
>> Link to the film uploaded on a server.

I will then import your film into my subtitling software and you will receive the final version of the subtitles via e-mail as a text file in the format you wish (for example EBU, .890, Spruce STL and many more) after I have considered all possible requests for changes.

How are subtitles perceived?
In a perfect subtitling world we leave the cinema without having noticed them at all because good subtitles become somewhat invisible. Inconspicuous subtitles make us believe that we have understood every single word of a foreign film.

What is the difference between subtitling and translating?
Subtitling is a special form of translation. Film dialogues hardly fit into one or two subtitle lines. This is why subtitlers decide from subtitle to subtitle which part of a dialogue they need to translate for the audience to fully understand the film. In doing so, they will always keep the whole film before their mind’s eye. While taking into account the respective peculiarities of speakers and the emotions displayed on screen, the dialogue is shortened in order to leave the viewers with sufficient reading time so they can also follow the film visually. In addition to translation expertise, this process also requires a solid feeling for the editing and rhythm of a film, as well as the command over the technical aspect of subtitles, i.e. “spotting”.

What is “spotting”?
The spotting of a film involves defining the in and out time of a subtitle, i.e. determining the time when a subtitle appears and for how long it remains on the screen. In their work, subtitlers take into account both the rhythm of a film and the rhythm of speech. The subtitles should also follow a rhythm of their own in order to accustom the audience to a certain reading speed. This contributes to the notion that good subtitles become somewhat invisible.

What makes subtitles invisible?
Good subtitles are written in a font easy to read and they are placed in a consistent manner. In subtitling, not only must the spoken dialogue be shortened in order to gain more reading time, but subtitlers also aim to achieve streamlined syntax and vocabulary. Peculiarities in the way a film character speaks should be taken into account without making the subtitles difficult to read for the audience (for example by including intentional grammar mistakes). Subtitles should never exceed more than two lines, each line preferably forming a semantic unit. They should be placed at the very bottom of the frame so they do not protrude into the image. Every time someone speaks, a subtitle has to appear. As in translating, so in subtitling: The visible and audible cultural characteristics must be considered and conveyed adequately and the target audience must always be borne in mind.

What makes a subtitler a professional one?
In addition to excellent skills in their respective mother tongue, subtitlers have excellent knowledge of one or several foreign languages. Preferably, subtitlers are trained translators with an affinity to film in theory and practice. Just like translators, subtitlers also have sound general knowledge, are highly versant with reference work and research methods, have good computer skills, are detail-oriented, and know how important cultural expertise is both for translating and subtitling. Because translators and subtitlers alike not only always mediate between languages, but also between cultures. What puts subtitlers in a class of their own is that they have basic knowledge of film and television technology and a profound love of film.