Good Subtitles Are Vital

by Julie Ashcraft

Subtitles are vital for foreign filmmakers seeking to penetrate the global market. For instance, at least 456 million more people speak English than speak Persian, according to Vistawide. English subtitles are especially crucial for filmmakers pursuing viewers online since English tops the list of languages, according to Internet World Stats.

Foreign filmmakers entering competitions judged by English speakers may quickly experience firsthand the difference a good subtitle editor can make. Confusing phrases, grammatical errors and badly chosen words not only detract from a film, they could cause the film to be misunderstood or even passed over.

A good editor works closely with the writer and director to ensure that the subtitles accurately convey the meaning, emotion and intent of the original–and that the subtitles are concise enough to be read quickly. As an example, here are my subtitle edits for the short film, ATTN: Mr. Democrat, which went on to win an award:

Changed
“Dear Mr. Democrat
to
“Dear democratic President”

Changed
“I hope you can get to read this someday.”
to
“I hope you will read this someday.”

Changed
“Perhaps a miracle will happen and your democratic attitude changes.”
to
“Perhaps a miracle will happen and your democratic attitude will change.”

Changed
“Democracy is not to screen the votes of a nation from the filter of your own opinion.”
to
“Democracy is not to screen the votes of a nation with the filter of your own opinion.”

Changed
“Democracy is not ruling a totalitarian regime under the name of the republican.”
to
“Democracy is not ruling a totalitarian regime under the name of a Republic.”
(You could still say “the Republic,” but since you say “a totalitarian regime,” I would say “a Republic.” This also makes the statement more universal.  This statement could be true for other countries too, in addition to the Islamic Republic.)

Changed
“Democracy is not describing the sacred things in favor of your own, and charging anyone who says anything against them, of being guilty of apostasy.”
to
“Democracy is not describing sacred things as your own, and charging anyone who says anything against you with heresy.

Changed
“Democracy is not to play with words and to inverse the truth and still discourse on freedom of speech.”
to
“Democracy is not to play with words and to invert the truth and still discourse on freedom of speech.”

Contact Julie at: worldofashcraft (at) gmail (dot) com

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One Response to Good Subtitles Are Vital

  1. Pingback: ATTN: Mr. Democrat Campaign | WOA

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