View Full Version : Translation (Subtitles) Question

11-23-2004, 11:31 PM
I recently returned from a doc. project in Poland. I have several interviews in Polish, which I now need translated. Not sure of the best method to go from here in order to get the material translated to use in our film (which is low-budget at this point). I will want it subtitled, in the end product. Shall I get each entire interview translated on paper with reference to the time-codes? Shall I do a voice-over translation laid on a audio track and then subtitle it? Is there software out there to help in this, if I can find my own translator? Any film-translation services you suggest? HELP!! I cant do anything more with editing, until this is done!

11-24-2004, 03:31 AM
Shall I get each entire interview translated on paper with reference to the time-codes?
Best idea.

Shall I do a voice-over translation laid on a audio track and then subtitle it?
Next best idea.

Dub your tapes and send them to your contact in Poland and have them do the honors for you.

11-24-2004, 05:08 AM
My advice would be to research your target market and see what the standard is.

Some of the outlets are very picky about how you present your translated footage. Some will want the original audio only with a paper translation. Some will want a subtitled translation. Some will want an audio overdub of the translation. A lot of them will reject your show if it has subtitles.

So, make sure whatever choice you pick ends up fitting your target market. Obviously, if this is for personal release and not televised distribution, this doesn't apply as much.

01-12-2005, 08:47 PM
Hey, where in Poland were you shooting. I've been working on a personal project in poland for the last few years. Shooting with the DVX as well. Always interested in learneing more about films being filmed in Poland...Cheers, B

02-16-2005, 12:27 PM
I've just completed editing a doc shot in South Africa that centered around an interview with a family speaking in Zulu. There was a Zulu translator there, who translated (off camera, but was picked up as --badly recorded, I'm afraid-- audio) during the interview. Unfortunately, the translator's English was very broken, and a voice over or subtitles literally taken from the translator's speech would be inadequate. There were transcripts of the interview (the part in broken English & interviewer questions) but no way of knowing where I might edit out umm's, err's, repetitions or excess in the interest of time.

This was also a sensitive subject, and ethically, a good translation was necessary. We were also on a tight deadline. Solution? I called local universities and posted some online notices and quickly found a local Zulu translator.

It was enormously helpful to have him right there to go frame by frame, second by second to help me edit without whacking off a word, or stumbling into the interviewees digressions. He also helped with better translations of certain idioms of speech to retain both clarity and accuracy.

The best part was that the whole process took little more than an hour to comb over a three minute interview. I edit in FCP 4.5 and used Lower Thirds from the Text Generator options. The translator was able to give me a better idea where to drop those sub-titles. The end result is a tight, accurate, emotional interview.

I'm guessing that a Polish translator cannot be too impossible to find. Having someone local to, at least, double check your work, is enormously helpful. If checking with universities does not yield a translator, try community and ethnic support/pride organizations.

02-20-2005, 09:09 PM
On a side note, it's a little late for this now, but...

I'm going to an event this week where there will be a handful of folks who will not be speaking english. My plan if I need to interview any of them is to grab one of their bilingual friends and hand him a mic. The interviewee will be boomed, so I don't think I'll hear the guy off-screen quietly speaking into the handheld mic.

Any thoughts on that? I know I'll have some Japanese, Irish, Scottish and various Scandinavian people around...