Multimedia Localization and Subtitling

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These days most video content is captioned or has subtitles. Closed captions were originated to assist the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, but that’s not the only objective anymore.  

Subtitling is one of the two most common modes of audiovisual translation. In general, subtitling is part of the multimedia localization process. This area of the translation industry is expanding tremendously, as audiovisual products are constantly being developed in different parts of the world. Also, users now have their own devices to create audiovisual content, which is why the need for adapted content has also increased.   

Thanks to subtitles, we can recreate and express people’s voices as well as the communicative contexts. The audiovisual industry is changing the way people communicate, educate themselves, and share knowledge, so it has a large impact on our society. In this new context, subtitles are making it possible to access different sources of entertainment, such as movies, music videos, games, series, documentaries, and much more. In this way, it is also changing how we behave as consumers.   

The time we spend watching screens is higher than ever before. For this reason, the demand for subtitling audiovisual content is growing. More and more of the video content we see on social media and entertainment platforms is captioned. The reason for that is because, as several studies show, around 89% of people that view videos on Facebook view them with the sound off. Same applies to other SM platforms, thus captions are popping up all over the place.    

Why is subtitling important?  

While closed captions originated to assist the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing, the applications have expanded a great deal. According to Online Video Forecasts 2021 report, the average person will spend 200 minutes each day watching online video content in 2023, up from 100 minutes in 2021.   

The number of time people spend watching online has grown at an average rate of 63% a year between 2020 and 2021 due to the global pandemic. This situation is boosted by improvements in display sizes and quality of mobile devices, faster mobile data connections, and the spread of connected TV sets. Zenith forecasts that advertising expenditure on online video will rise from US$61 billion to US$84 billion by 2023, at an average rate of 18% a year, compared to 10% a year for internet advertising as a whole.   

For this reason, subtitling is becoming more in-demand than ever before, and it will continue to expand. To achieve the best results in subtitling, it is key to work with professional translators who are also specialists in subtitling.   

Most common mistakes in subtitling  

Many times, when subtitling, we see or read some common mistakes that are extremely important to take into account to avoid any sort of misinterpretation:   

Wrong Timing   

There is no bigger error than when a character is saying something and the subtitles say something else. The timing mistake in subtitling is actually very common. To avoid creating subtitles that are useless or even annoying to the viewers, it is key to meticulously analyze your content to make sure that subtitles are correctly timed and placed for their effective and desired results.   

Literal translation   

Any content needs to be translated taking into account the intended use and the cultural background of the target audience. For this reason, it is best to work with translators who are also native speakers. It is not only translating the words, but making sure that the intention of the message is well-received in the context of the targeted culture.   

Unreadable Texts   

Proper subtitling aims to enhance the user’s understanding of what is being viewed as not only possible but also gratifying. Viewers won’t be able to read a text that is too small, goes by extremely fast, or is displayed in a color that isn’t easy on the eyes. It is also important to consider improving user’s experience when adapting the subtitles to mobile devices.   


Punctuation is important to convey what the characters are trying to express. Viewers need to be able to accompany the pauses or to interpret when something is said as a question or an exclamation. Proper punctuation is essential practice that greatly enhances the quality.   

Using machine translation   

Machines aren’t able to identify idiomatic expressions or intertextual references. No software can understand humor, sarcasm, irony or emotions, so human translation is key when subtitling.    

Multimedia localization and subtitling at Bromberg & Associates  

At Bromberg & Associates, we work with audiovisual experts that localize any multimedia content, as well as subtitling, voiceovers, and dubbing. This type of localization makes it possible for videos and audio to become available and comprehensive for any target market.   

Nowadays, multimedia content is becoming more and more consumed. We live in a technological world that is changing the way we interact with information. Many studies indicate that people pay much more attention and are more eager to watch multimedia content.  

We can adapt any of your multimedia content and localize it so you can provide your audience with interactive and attractive materials that are targeted to their audience. Be sure to reach out to Bromberg! With translators available in over 200 languages, we’re ready to help you with subtitling projects of any size or scope.  

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