Los Subtítulos: El Proceso

Documentary films are made to be watched, and as part of the impetus for this project was to make these women’s stories available to a wider audience, they would have to be able to be watched in the target language, English. That meant adding subtitles.  

I used an online platform called Amara to create the subtitles. It is a free, non-profit platform run with the aim of making online video content more accessible but subtitling Amara uses a three-step process. First, while watching the video, you type what you hear under the screen, pressing return to create each new subtitle. As I already had produced an English version, this was the quickest step as I could copy from my original translation, but I later realized that I couldn’t simply write all of my translation on screen. Secondly, you re-watch the video and sync your subtitles to the speech and amend them where necessary. This part of the process was a practical introduction to segmentation skills (Di Giovanni, 2016), the art of being able to split the subtitles and not cause any great interruption to the flow. It was an eye-opening experience. I realized just because you can have two lines of text,it is not always a good idea. If the speaker takes a lot longer to say what you have written in the subtitle, it is much better to split it, so it keeps in time with the speaker. The importance of preserving unity also of meaning became clear. Subtitles that ended with a preposition or were split unnecessarily made it difficult to follow the meaning. The final step is revision, which akin to proofreading.

The subtitle text is shorter than my original translation from the transcription of the documentary.Elimination is a necessary part of subtitling, and Antonini (2005, in Chiara)has estimated that around 40 to 75% of the original dialogue can be cut. The viewer is watching, listening and reading at the same time so the extra information cannot overwhelm them. The subtitling guidelines on Amara recommend that the reading rate shouldn’t exceed twenty-one characters per second. However, elimination of words doesn’t equate to elimination of meaning, and I hope I have managed to preserve all that was meant to be said in the subtitles.  

link to amara  https://amara.org/en/about-amara/

Interface of the subtitling platform on amara.org
Interface of the subtitling platform on amara.org.