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12 minute read
6 Jul 2023

Everything You Need for Your Subtitle Translation

Subtitle translation is an important part of media production and distribution. It enables people to watch movies and television shows in their native language, no matter where they are located. This article provides an overview of everything you need for your subtitle translation project, from understanding the different types of subtitles to selecting the right format for your project. We’ll also discuss how to properly translate subtitles so that they accurately convey the message intended by producers or directors.

Table of Content

What is Subtitle Translation?

Subtitle translation is a process by which text-based lines are translated from one language into another in order to accommodate viewers who may not understand dialogue spoken in its original language. Subtitles can be used for both audio and video content, providing a translation that is displayed in a small text box over the video or audio track.

Subtitles can be added to a variety of media types, including movies, TV shows, documentaries, YouTube videos, educational materials, and marketing content. They can also be used to translate live events, such as conferences and webinars. Subtitles can be displayed at the bottom of the screen or in another location, depending on the content.

To create a subtitle translation, a professional translator will watch or listen to the content and translate the original language into the desired language. The translated text is then timed and synchronized with the audio or video content, so that the subtitle appears on the screen at the appropriate time.

What Subtitle Formats are There?

Subtitles come in many different formats, such as SRT (SubRip Text), ASS (Advanced SubStation Alpha) and VTT (WebVTT). Each of these formats has its own unique features, which can be used for specific types of subtitle translations.

For example, SRT, or SubRip Text, is the most popular subtitle format and is widely used in most video players. It is a simple text file that contains the subtitles’ text, along with the timing information. SRT files are easy to create and edit and can be used for a variety of video types, including movies, TV shows, and YouTube videos.

ASS files are more suitable for longer projects that require additional formatting options. Additionally, VTT, or WebVTT, is an HTML5-based format that supports text formatting and styling. VTT files are used for web-based videos and are supported by popular web browsers. VTT files allow subtitles to be styled with various fonts, colors, and backgrounds, making them more visually appealing.

Other subtitle formats include SSA, ASS, SUB, SBV, and more. Each format has its own specifications, and it is essential to choose the right one for the type of content you’re translating.


Our file formats

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What Type of Content Needs Translated Subtitles?

Subtitle translation is most commonly used for movies, television shows and other forms of entertainment that are broadcast or distributed via the internet.

Subtitles are also important for educational materials, especially for online courses that may have students from all over the world. By adding subtitles in multiple languages, you can make the content accessible to non-native speakers and improve the learning experience for everyone.

For marketing content, subtitles can help to make your content accessible to a wider audience. By adding subtitles in multiple languages, you can reach potential customers who do not speak the original language and improve the chances of conversion.

Additionally, subtitles can also be used as a means of providing descriptive information about visual content, such as sign language translations for individuals with hearing impairments. In some cases, subtitles may even be used to provide additional context to video game characters’ dialogue. Whatever the purpose may be, subtitle translation helps make content accessible and understandable to people from all backgrounds.

The advantages of subtitle translation

Subtitle translation provides numerous benefits for both content creators and viewers. By making content accessible to non-native speakers, subtitle translation can help to increase viewership, engagement, and revenue. Let’s explore the advantages of translating subtitles in more detail:

1. Global reach

Subtitle translation can help expand the reach of your content to international audiences. By making your content available in multiple languages, you can make it accessible to more people around the world.

2. Inclusion

Inclusion is becoming increasingly important, and subtitle translation is a powerful tool for promoting it. Subtitle translation can help to make your content more inclusive for viewers who may not be able to understand the spoken language or have difficulty hearing. This can open up your content to a wider range of viewers, and make it easier for them to understand and engage with your work.

Subtitling also helps you tap into new markets that may have language barriers, especially in non-English speaking countries. With accurate translations, you can connect with new audiences and build a loyal following. By leveraging subtitle translation, you can take your content to the next level, expand your reach, and establish yourself as a global brand.

3. Improved Ranking

Subtitle translation is not only great for expanding your reach and promoting inclusivity, but it can also help to improve your search engine ranking.

The use of subtitles in multiple languages can also improve the ranking of your content in search engines as well as other platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, which could potentially lead to increased viewership and engagement over time. Additionally, having subtitled content may encourage users from different countries to link back to your site, resulting in greater visibility and recognition for your brand or organization.

Challenges when creating translated subtitles

Subtitle translation is a complex process that requires attention to detail and careful consideration of various factors. Several challenges can arise during the creation process that can affect the quality and accuracy of the final product. Let’s explore some of the most common challenges when creating translated subtitles:

Word-for-word translation

Despite its advantages, subtitle translation can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Literal translations of subtitles often fail to convey the intended message, leading to confusion and misinterpretation among viewers. This can lead to a damaged reputation for your brand or organization if viewers are unable to understand your content. Additionally, literal word-for-word translations can sound unnatural or awkward, making the content less accessible and enjoyable to watch.

Therefore, it’s important to take into account different cultural contexts when creating subtitles in other languages. This means taking into consideration local slang, dialects and idioms , as well as understanding what words or phrases may be offensive in certain

Reducing the number of words

Another challenge when creating translated subtitles is reducing the number of words. .Different languages have varying word lengths, and translating from a language with longer words to a language with shorter words can pose a challenge. For example, German words are typically longer than English words, and translating from German to English can result in longer subtitles.

As such, it can be difficult to maintain the same level of clarity and accuracy when translating from one language to another. Additionally, certain languages may require more space onscreen for titles or descriptions due to their writing conventions, which could affect readability if not handled carefully. That being said, with proper planning and attention to detail, these challenges can be tackled effectively.

Multicultural content

With the increasing global reach of media, creating content that is accessible to viewers from different countries and cultures is essential. As such, one of the challenges when creating translated subtitles is to ensure they accurately reflect the nuances of various cultures. This requires an understanding not only of the language being used but also cultural context in order to avoid misinterpretation or confusion.

Full synchronization – audio, video, and subtitles must be aligned perfectly

Another challenge when creating translated subtitles is ensuring full synchronization between the audio, video, and subtitles. This requires careful timing and coordination to ensure that the subtitles appear on the screen at the right time and align perfectly with the spoken or written source material. This ensures that viewers understand the message being conveyed in the most effective way possible. However, there are several obstacles that must be overcome when attempting to synchronize audio, video, and subtitles across multiple languages.

This challenge can be particularly difficult to achieve when working independently, as it requires access to specialized subtitling software and expertise in timing and synchronization. Professional subtitling services and subtitling software can help to streamline the process and ensure high-quality, fully synchronized subtitles.

To sum it up, creating translated subtitles can be challenging, particularly when it comes to word-for-word translation, reducing the number of words, multicultural content, and full synchronization. To overcome these challenges, it’s essential to work with professional translators and subtitling software that can ensure high-quality, accurate subtitles that enhance the viewer’s experience.

Step-by-step guide

How to create subtitles

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Best Practices when making Subtitle Translations

Creating successful subtitle translations requires dedication and attention to detail. Here are some best practices for making subtitle translations:

1. Research the Language: Take the time to research the language being used and understand any potential nuances or colloquialisms that could affect how the subtitles are translated.

2. Utilize Technology: Use automated software to streamline the translation process and ensure subtitles are accurately translated.

3. Proofread Subtitles: Ensure that all subtitles have been thoroughly proofread before they are uploaded.

4. Test Content: Make sure to test content across multiple devices and languages before launching a subtitle project.

5 . Plan Ahead: Make sure to plan ahead and allow extra time for any potential complications that may arise when creating subtitle translations.

6 . Use professional translators: Professional translators have the necessary expertise and experience to ensure high-quality, accurate translations that are faithful to the source material’s meaning and intention.

7 . Consider the cultural context: When translating, it’s also important to consider the cultural context of the target language. This includes taking into account the target audience’s cultural references, idiomatic expressions, and nuances.

8 . Use clear and concise language: Subtitles should be easy to read and understand. To achieve this, it is essential to use clear and concise language that is easy to follow. Long and complex sentences can be difficult to read and can cause the viewer to lose track of the content.

The importance of quality control in subtitle translation 

Subtitle translation is an essential part of the content creation process, but it’s crucial to ensure that the translation is accurate and of high quality. This is where quality control comes in. By implementing quality control measures, you can ensure that your translated subtitles are error-free and accurately reflect the original content.

Proofreading and editing 

Proofreading and editing are critical steps in the quality control process for subtitle translation. By carefully reviewing the translated subtitles, you can identify and correct any errors, inconsistencies, or awkward phrasings. This can help to ensure that the final product is error-free and accurately reflects the original content.

Audio and video quality control 

In addition to proofreading and editing, it’s essential to ensure that the audio and video quality is high. This means checking the audio and video files to ensure that they are clear and of good quality. This can help to ensure that the subtitles are synchronized with the audio and video and that the final product is of high quality.

Accuracy checks and final review 

Finally, accuracy checks and a final review are essential to ensure that the translated subtitles are accurate and of high quality. This involves checking the translation for accuracy and ensuring that it is faithful to the original content. It also involves a final review of the subtitles to ensure that they are of high quality and that they accurately reflect the original content.

How to create subtitle translations?

There are various ways to create subtitle translations, including working independently, hiring freelancers, or using a professional agency. Let’s explore these options in more detail:

How to create subtitle translations

Independently, on your own

Creating subtitle translations independently, on your own, is an option for those who are comfortable with the language they wish to translate into. This involves translating the content on your own, using subtitling software to create the subtitles, and synchronizing them with the audio or video.It requires a thorough understanding of the source material and knowledge of the target language.

While this option may seem cost-effective, it can be time-consuming and require specialized skills and knowledgeAdditionally, depending on the complexity of the project, one may need access to specialized software for streamlining the translation process.

Outsource it to freelancers

Hiring freelancers is another option for creating subtitle translations. Freelancers are independent contractors who can work remotely, translating content according to your specifications.

This option offers flexibility and scalability, as you can hire freelancers for one-off projects or ongoing work. However, it can be challenging to find reliable and experienced freelancers who can provide high-quality, accurate translations within your budget and timeframe.

If you choose to hire freelancers, it’s essential to consider their experience, qualifications, and references. You should also provide clear instructions and expectations to ensure that the translations are accurate, consistent, and of the highest quality.

Outsource it to an agency

Working with a professional agency is another option for creating subtitle translations. Agencies specialize in providing high-quality, accurate translations and have access to professional translators and subtitling software.

This option offers many benefits, such as access to a large pool of professional translators, expertise in subtitling and localization, and the ability to handle large volumes of work.

However, working with an agency can be more expensive than working independently or hiring freelancers. It’s essential to choose a reputable agency that has experience in your industry and can provide high-quality, accurate translations within your budget and timeframe.

How to easily create translated subtitles with Amberscript

If you’re looking to create high-quality, accurate translated subtitles quickly and easily, then Amberscript is an excellent option to consider. Their subtitle translation services are straightforward and can be completed in three simple steps, making the process accessible for anyone.

To get started, simply upload your video file onto their platform and indicate the language of the source file and the required language of the subtitle. AmberScript’s team of native speakers and professional subtitlers will then automatically generate the subtitles, ensuring 100% accuracy.

Once the subtitles are generated, customers can export the video with subtitles or the subtitles separately in various formats, including both SRT and VTT. Also, it’s worth mentioning that AmberScript offers subtitles in 15 languages, so you can easily scale your content up for a global audience.

In short, if you want to create high-quality, accurate translated subtitles easily and quickly, then AmberScript is a great choice. Their fast turnaround time and straightforward process make it accessible to anyone, and their team of native speakers and professional subtitlers offer up to 100% accuracy. 

The future of subtitle translation 

Subtitle translation is becoming increasingly important in an ever more globalized world. As technology advances, machine translation is becoming more sophisticated, making it easier and more efficient to create high-quality translated subtitles. There is also a growing demand for multilingual content, as companies seek to expand their reach and appeal to diverse audiences. Translated subtitles will play a critical role in this trend, helping to promote diversity and inclusivity in content creation.

Advancements in machine translation 

Machine translation is rapidly advancing, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and natural language processing. This is making it easier and more efficient to create high-quality translated subtitles. As machine translation technology continues to improve, it will likely play an increasingly important role in the subtitle translation process.

Increasing demand for multilingual content 

As the world becomes more globalized, there is a growing demand for multilingual content. Companies are seeking to expand their reach and appeal to diverse audiences, and subtitles are an important tool for achieving this goal. As the demand for multilingual content continues to grow, the importance of subtitle translation will only increase.

The role of subtitles in promoting diversity and inclusivity 

Subtitles play a critical role in promoting diversity and inclusivity in content creation. By making content accessible to non-native speakers and people with hearing impairments, subtitles can help to promote inclusivity and diversity. They can also help to promote cultural exchange and understanding, making it easier for people from different backgrounds to connect and communicate. 


Translated subtitles have become an essential element of the globalized world we live in. They provide numerous advantages, including global reach, inclusion, and improved ranking. However, creating accurate and high-quality translated subtitles can be a challenging task, with several obstacles to overcome.

But with the right tools and services, such as those provided by Amberscript, creating translated subtitles can be a simple and straightforward process. Amberscript’s subtitle translation services offer up to 100% accurate translations with fast turnaround times, making them an excellent option for businesses, organizations, and content creators who want to broaden their reach and improve accessibility.

So, if you’re interested in creating translated subtitles, we highly recommend AmberScript’s services. Their team of native speakers and professional subtitlers will help you create accurate, high-quality subtitles quickly and easily. Remember, with Amberscript, translating your subtitles has never been easier.

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I burn the subtitles directly onto my video?

    If you have exported the transcript as a SRT, EBU-STL or VTT file, you can easily burn them onto your video using video-editing software.

  • Can I change the position of the subtitles?

    That needs to be done using a video editor like VLC. Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P]. Under Show settings, select the option that says All to switch to the advanced preferences. Navigate to Input/Codecs > Subtitle codecs > Subtitles. Under Text subtitle decoder set, the Subtitle justification to left, right or center.

  • How do I add subtitles to a YouTube video?

    To add subtitles to your Youtube video, simply add the file you have created using Amberscript to your video in the Youtube Studio. Click on “subtitles”, then “add” and finally “upload file” and select the SRT file.

  • How do I add subtitles to a video on Vimeo?

    To add subtitles to your Vimeo video, simply add the file you have created using Amberscript to your video in the editing window on Vimeo. Click on “distribution”, then “subtitles” and finally click on the + symbol to upload the SRT file.

  • How do I order translated subtitles?

    To order translated subtitles, you can upload your file like you would normally do. You can then select manual subtitling. Once you have selected this, an option will appear where you will be able to select the language the subtitles need to be translated to. If the language that you want is not one of the options you can contact us through our contact form.

  • To which languages can you translate subtitles?

    For our human-made subtitling services we work with a network of language experts in 15 different languages. Find out which here. If the language you want is not on the list, please contact us through our contact form.

  • What subtitle file formats are supported?

    Our software allows you to export the transcript from the video or audio file as an SRT, EBU-STL or VTT file.

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