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Essential Things You Need to Know About Movie Translation

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When you think about the creation of a movie, you’d think that all it takes is for the actors to play their parts, after which they go home, the team assembles the videos and that’s it. However, this can’t be further from the truth. Movie production also involves scripting, editing and last but not least, movie translation.

When a movie is released, it’s very likely that people all across the world will want to watch it. That being said, the audience won’t be limited to the production country, as the bigger the audience, the higher the amount of money it makes.

So, do you want to work as a movie translator, but you don’t know what you’re signing up for? Here’s what you need to know.

  1. Translation Forms Vary by Country

If you’re the type that loves binge watching every part of a movie series coming out, you must be aware of the way translation for movies is done: dubbing or subtitles. Just like everyone else, you most likely prefer one over the other. Even so, did you know that countries have their own requirements when it comes to translating movies?

For example, in countries such as Italy, Germany, France, and Spain, dubbing is the preferred way of translation. Ever since the 1930s, dubbing was the main way of translating movies for the citizens in these countries. This translation method involves replacing the original audio of the movie with new audio of the dialogues translated in the local language. 

Conversely, a lot of internationally shown movies come from countries that have English as their main language, like either the U.S. or the U.K. As such, when movies are being played in their cinemas, subtitling is used rather than dubbing. Moreover, there are countries that have subtitling as their main way of translating films. Some of these countries are Norway, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Croatia, Greece, and Poland. Furthermore, there are also countries that have two main languages such as Finland, and these require double subtitles.

  1. Dubbing Requires More than Just Translation

A film translator is not the only thing to worry about when dubbing a movie. Basically, there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of when countries choose to dub imported movies.

That being said, voice actors need to be cast, so the audience can associate a certain voice with a particular character. However, one common problem with dubbing is lip syncing. Sometimes, the dubbing can be delayed, which can lead to confusion and distract the viewers. This is why dubbing is such a hard process, as producers need to focus on lip syncing too.

  1. Subtitles are Cheaper and More Convenient

Dubbing might be amazing as it lets you multitask while still being able to know what’s going on in the movie, but subtitling has benefits of its own. For instance, subtitles are a much cheaper alternative. After all, dubbing involves more than the translation part: voice actors need to be cast and paid, hence why subtitling is more convenient.

At the same time, subtitles convey the actual message of the dialogues, something that’s hard to do with dubbing. Besides, it lets you enjoy the unaltered version of the movie, so you hear the original and authentic voices.

  1. There Are Always Downsides

One thing you must know about media translation is that every method has its pitfalls. While convenient in their own ways, each method requires a lot of work that has to be put in when translating a movie.

For instance, subtitling is limited to the number of characters that can be shown on screen during the dialogue. Besides, the viewer must get the message in those brief seconds the text is shown on screen, without getting lost in translation subtitles. Concurrently, a dubbed sentence must be about the same length as the original one, which makes it much harder to provide a proper translation.

Read also: Important things to know about legal document translation.

Final Thoughts

Movies in different languages pose a challenge as the proper way to translate them to the audience must be chosen depending on country and preferences. If you intend to join the movie translation industry, it’s important to know what awaits you, and how each translation method is different from each other. Therefore, it’s important to understand these things so you can appeal to the target audience.