Case studies

Matinée Multilingual – delivering outstanding value translation, voice recording and subtitling services from the UK, for over 30 years

Translating captions

Translating the captions within a video

How Matinée translate text that is part of the video image.

Is there on screen text or graphics within the video? Not too worry – it’s possible to translate this text so that your target audience will be fully immersed in regards to the video language. When it comes to translating text contained in a video, the process can become slightly overwhelming. There is a lot of different variables that will affect the cost, time line and quality of the overall process. We want to help you understand what’s involved and how you can get the best results when it comes to translating text contained within a video.

Let’s start by checking out the different types of text that you’ll find in a video. We’ll often refer to them as ‘On-Screen Text’. This type of text normally appears centered and is the main focus of the video. It’s often shown as the top layer over the video content and is typically seen as an introduction to a product or on opening credits in a film. On screen text can be used within promos or explainer videos as a way to deliver the message. If the video contains a voice over, the text can also help reinforce the main points.
On-screen text also includes any messages that appear on screen. For example, text message pop ups that the viewer can read. The text that appears to identify a person job title or location in videos like news reports are often referred to as titles. Technically this isn’t on-screen text but it’s good to note that it is also possible to change the language within images such as screen captures of apps, software or websites. However, this process usually requires a lot more work and therefore has a higher cost attached.
Now you know how to spot different types of on-screen text. Let’s check out how to get the best results when we translate into other languages. Having the source files will make the process a whole lot simpler.
What are source files?
Source files are the original project files that the video was created and edited with. You’ll find there’s a lot of video producers user Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro or AVID to create their videos. But there are hundreds of different video editing software packages available. If you can obtain these source files for us, it will be much easier to translate the video professionally.
Source files may also contain the raw camera footage, pictures, designs, logos, as well as music, sound effects and voice over before they have been mixed. If we can’t separate the music and voice over, it often means having to recreate the soundtrack. We can usually buy a similar music track separately, add in similar sound effects and create a new voice over, but this will take extra studio time.
It’s also important to know if any custom fonts or third party plugins have been purchased. But if you aren’t sure, our video editor can check.
What source files are not?
It’s a common mistake to think that the source files are just the final high res version of the video. Neither are they the Vimeo or YouTube link. They are the original files, and these files can be edited, not just previewed,
and they will probably contain multiple layers.
What happens if you don’t have the source files?
We know it’s not always possible to access the source files. Quite often the video producer or animator will retain ownership. If there is no possible way to gain access to the source files, don’t worry! The good news is that usually we will still be able to edit and translate the on-screen text. It may just take us a bit more time, as there are some challenges involved.
How do you translate on screen text without source files?
We have many different solutions for many different types of videos, and the complexity of each project can range massively. That’s why we book in time with one of our engineers to review the video files and provide you with a fixed quote. Our engineers will create what they call an ‘animated masking template’, which is
basically a new layer on top of the video. It’s a lot easier to mask static text, text that’s still on the screen than it is for animated or elaborated text, text that pops up, swoops in from the side, spins around or has any other kind of movement. We have to get really clever when the text is animated, but with the right time, a solution can always be found.
If the background of the video uses a block colour, we can copy that exact colour match, create a box using the same colour and type the new text over it. As the box colour matches the background, it will appear invisible and will look a lot cleaner. If we can’t match the background colour, we’ll often add a dark box over the existing text and enter the translated text on top. If the text was originally transparent and you don’t have the source files, then unfortunately, we will have to cover this and you won’t be able to see the background through the text as you did before.
If you need your video to be reviewed by one of our engineers for translating on-screen text
then contact us today.