Subtitle Chats Recap – Take 2


Welcome to the second of our Subtitle Chat recaps! If you want to take a look at what came out of our Chat on February 24th, read on.

Topic: Routes into the AVT Profession

At our February Subtitle Chats, we discussed the different types of skills that are required of the modern AVT professional, as well as the diverse ways in which audio-visual professionals get started in the industry. Participants shared their early memories of the industry and reflected on how they got to the position they are in today. Language was key to every discussion, and translation itself was cited as a starting point from a study or traineeship point of view. 

Whether it is through professional training in a broadcasting company, or a university degree, some of the key skills mentioned were: 

  • Knowledge of how to use audio-visual translation tools 
  • Keyboard shortcuts 
  • Knowledge of genre 
  • Knowledge of audience expectations 
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines 
  • Knowledge of language variations (for example, US English versus UK English) 
  • Research skills, with excellent knowledge of the world 
  • Ability to work with guidelines and templates 
  • Negotiation skills 
  • Spotting/timing and segmentation skills, even for those working with templates 
  • Linguistic flexibility, ability to work with a variety of styles, registers, genres and specialisations 

We discussed the need for audio-visual translation practitioners to be able to balance ‘shortening up’ the subtitled text to represent the action on screen, while also presenting something that is easy to read. This kind of translation must account for the orality of the medium, and deal with challenges such as humour and cultural references.  

For freelance practitioners managing their own business, the realities of running a business featured in the discussions of what kinds of skills are more difficult to impart. It is so difficult to teach all the skills required that it is inevitable that some are learned through experience of working in the industry rather than in a classroom. We discussed programs such as AVT Masterclass and the UCL summer courses, which can help AVT professionals to brush up on certain skills. 

We also talked about how both clients and LSPs that are not used to working with subtitling may need to be informed of good subtitling practices, such as how long it takes to create high-quality subtitles and what kinds of tools are suitable for subtitling. Therefore, it is useful for subtitlers to be able to explain their own processes. 

Discussion Forum 

We also launched a Slido poll at the Chat event to explore options for launching our discussion forum. The consensus among participants was for a LinkedIn group. We repeated the poll on social media, and received a similar response. We are therefore excited to share the link for our new discussion forum over on LinkedIn! We look forward to seeing you there.

Next Events 

Our next event will be our infographic workshop. The working group will be meeting next Wednesday, the 15th of March!  In a change from our regular Friday slot, our next Subtitle Chat will be on Tuesday April 4th. Watch this space for updates!

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