Thao & Co. Entertainment Translation Services

Entertainment Translation Services

Lights, camera, translation!
Entertainment translation goes beyond a transfer of languages. It is a transfer of emotions, cultures, and lived experiences. Our linguists understand the importance of authenticity and artistic integrity when it comes to entertainment content.
What is entertainment translation?
Entertainment translation refers to the practice of translating and localizing entertainment content, including movies, TV shows, podcasts, promotional materials, etc. It often involves translating subtitles and scripts for dubbing. The most commonly requested is likely subtitle translation as it makes entertainment content accessible and enjoyable to international audiences.
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What are the challenges of subtitle translation?
Translating subtitles requires linguistic proficiency, cultural competence, and unique creativity in order to preserve the meaning and impact of the original content while still ensuring that the translation resonates with the target audience. Navigating the complexities of subtitle translation proves to be challenging for several reasons.
The translated subtitles must fit within the allotted space and time frame.
Most of the time, subtitles are limited to two lines of text. Media giants such as Netflix have strict guidelines requiring that each line does not exceed 42 characters, with the reading speed not exceeding 17 characters per second for adult programs and 13 characters for children’s programs.
This can be particularly difficult when factoring in the nature of the source and target languages. The subtitle length may expand up to 40% when translating content from English into most European languages. As a result, subtitlers likely have to reduce the length by omitting some elements.
Such a strategy further raises the question of which elements must be translated and which could be condensed or removed to save space. Generally, elements that are important to the plot should be maintained. But in reality, this is left to the discretion of each subtitler.
Subtle yet important details may be lost in translation.
People have their own way of using vocabulary and grammar when communicating with each other. Such distinctive communication styles and speech patterns are important forms of personal expression. In entertainment media, how a person speaks is often used to express their unique personality, upbringing, and motivations.
Unfortunately, transferring these linguistic subtleties into another language is not an easy task. To comply with time and space restrictions, translated subtitles may lose some shades of meaning, which inadvertently causes plot holes.
For example, in the movie Donnie Brasco, the main character, Joe Pistone, was an FBI agent who had to pretend to be a criminal in order to take down a mafia group.
When asked what he was running from, Joe said: “I ain’t running from nothin”– definitely not how an educated FBI agent from a middle-upper class background should talk.
The scene took place during his conversation with his wife and their marriage counselor. He did not have any reason to use this type of speaking, yet he did it unconsciously, to the dismay of his wife. This is important to the plot as it shows how Joe was starting to adopt the way mobsters spoke, losing himself in the process of his mission.
The Chinese subtitle for this line simply says “我没逃避什么”,which means I’m not running away from anything. Despite being a correct translation, the Chinese subtitle uses proper language and thus, cannot convey the implications of the source text.
There may not be any direct equivalents for certain cultural references.
Cultural elements such as local customs, events, or famous figures of one culture may not be widely known in other cultures. In this case, the translators need to either provide explanations or adapt the references in a way that makes sense to the viewers.
For example, in the American comedy-drama series M*A*S*H, Colonel Flagg, a US Army intelligence officer, was explaining how he trained himself to refrain from laughing:
I watched a hundred hours of The Three Stooges. Every time I felt like smiling, I jabbed myself in the stomach with a cattle prod.”
When translated into Danish, the subtitle says:
Jeg sa˚ Gøg og Gokke film i 100 timer.
This essentially means “I watch Laurel and Hardy for 100 hours.
The reference to The Three Stooges was changed to Laurel and Hardy. While The Three Stooges was a famous comedy group in the US, they were not known in Scandinavia. Therefore, the Scandinavian audience would not know why watching The Three Stooges helped the character with his anti-laughing training.
The Danish subtitler made an ingenious change, replacing The Three Stooges with Laurel and Hardy, a comedy duo from the same time as The Three Stooges but well known in Scandinavia during the time the series M*A*S*H was set in. Thanks to this adaptation, the subtitle became relevant to its audience.
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Our solutions
When it comes to entertainment translation, Thao & Co. understands how important it is to capture the essence of your original content while effectively localizing it to new audiences. Our linguists are ready to deliver high-quality works for subtitle translation, creative translation, voice overs, and other translation services to bring your entertainment projects to life.
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What is an .SRT file and why do I need it?
An .SRT file contains the script of your video divided by subtitle line, along with other important information such as timecodes and sometimes, sound effects.
When you have an entertainment translation project, having an .SRT file is extremely helpful as it lightens the workload for subtitlers. They can start translating immediately without having to create all the timecodes. As a result, your project will be completed much faster and at a significantly lower fee.
How to add an .SRT file to a video?
To watch a video with your .SRT file, simply copy it to the same folder as the video and rename it to match the video name. Most video players (such as Windows Media Player, VLC, or GOM) will automatically load your .SRT file into your video without any hassle.
To post a video to YouTube, Facebook, or Linkedin with subtitles ready for your audience, first, upload your video. Then, attach your .SRT file in the Video Settings and click Save!
For any subtitle translation project, Thao & Co. are happy to walk you through how to add your translated subtitles to your video. If you would like your final product to be a video with built-in subtitles, we can also hardcode the translated subtitles to your video however you prefer it.
How much does subtitle translation cost for an entertainment project?
Generally, our pricing for subtitle translation services is based on a per-minute rate. This rate is determined by many factors.
First, do you have the script (.srt file, for example) available for us to translate? If not, we will need to create subtitles from scratch, which adds to our efforts, delivery time, and service fee.
In addition, the source and target languages, as well as the volume of your project also contribute to how much your project will cost.
Head over to our Get a Quote page and leave information about your subtitle project to get a free estimation of your project fee and delivery timeline!
Do you provide narration for podcasts and audiobooks or voice acting for video games?
Yes. Thao & Company provides a wide range of localization services for entertainment content, including voice overs, narration, and voice acting. Please head over to our Voice Overs page for more details, or leave your project information on our Get a Quote page. We will get back to you as soon as we can.
Do you provide interpretation for live concerts, events, or festivals?
Yes. Thao & Company works with native linguists who are highly experienced in interpreting live concerts, festivals, and other entertainment events. Our team of expert entertainment interpreters will ensure all your guests have a great time enjoying the true spirit of your event to the fullest!
Please head over to our Interpretation page for more details, or leave your project information on our Get a Quote page. We will get back to you as soon as we can.
What is transcreation?
Transcreation blends translation with creativity, ensuring that your original content not only is conveyed accurately but also resonates with your new audiences.
In the entertainment industry, transcreation is essential to guarantee the success of your movies, games, or any work of art. From trailers to posters and any promotional materials, transcreation delivers an authentic and immersive entertainment experience to capture the heart of any audience.
What are Netflix subtitling standards? Should my videos follow them?
As an entertainment giant, Netflix provides detailed subtitle guidelines to ensure the quality of their subtitles across all countries. While it is not required to follow Netflix subtitling standards down to a T, their guidelines do offer useful instructions to optimize viewing experience.
At Thao & Company, we have our own subtitle guidelines that are in line with Netflix’s as well as specific guidelines for each entertainment subtitling project per clients’ request. We can tailor your subtitles to your preferences. Head over to our Subtitles page for more details, or leave your project information on our Get a Quote page and we will get back to you as soon as we can!
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We provide accurate translations of items such as clinical instructions, medical records, articles, product labels and questionnaires.
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Get your message across in any language when we translate your informational materials, instructions and simple promotional content.
Banking + Finance
As you tap new markets, we can translate sales materials, emails, job applications, CVs, legal documents, and entire banking/trading platforms and apps.
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Our translators have sufficient familiarity with architecture, construction, real estate and civil engineering to help translate relevant documents.
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If you’re selling to global markets, let us translate your sales materials, company announcements and meeting minutes for your international partners.
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We can provide general translation of content for internal communications and customer-facing text for hotels, restaurants, travel guides and more.
Relying on our experience translating films, plays and commercials, we give careful attention to word selection and meaning in every project.
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Look to our specialized linguists to translate and localize user guides, CAD drawings, repair manuals and business contracts.
Get precise translation of technical terminology whether for instructions, safety, quality control or regulatory compliance.
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