Having a movie converted into multiple languages is one of the guarantees of its success. Read about the ways to translate films for massive audiences.
Through correct movie translation, it is possible to apply to the hearts of millions of people around the globe. Modern cinemas took care of advanced translations of the films they show to collect more money from their viewers. Even though English is considered an international language, and Chinese is the most spoken one, people prefer watching motion pictures in their native language to understand every single word, joke, and idiom. To succeed, movie makers turn to professional translation services and choose one of the available methods to localize their masterpieces. We will discuss them in this article.
The Role of Audiovisual Content
One of the most effective methods to convert films in various languages is, no doubt, audiovisual translation. Globalizing audiovisual content means expanding the target audience significantly and increasing the number of regions where people watch the movie or show. It is like website optimization. It might cost your business a bit, but the outcomes are usually worth investing in. Special language services providers usually offer audiovisual translation in numerous languages, and the fee usually depends on the number or complexity of the chosen languages. Commercial movie makers never use to consult the websites that offer free translation online. These companies hire the services of some professional translators to convert and add audiovisual effects in the movies. This is an extremely sensitive task because the translator has to produce the audiovisual content compatible with the cultural and emotional context of the source language.
At the same time, the cultural aspect should be taken into consideration as direct translation will not bring the desired effect. Except for the cultural, political, religious, and economic factors are critical to take into account when dealing with movie translation. A movie maker should also consider various approaches to translating films:
- Lip-sync dubbing
They all come at different costs. They also demonstrate different effectiveness. Those are just the most popular approaches that one should use if he or she wants the film to be equally successful in various languages and cultures. We should briefly discuss each method.
It was noticed that smaller regions choose subtitles when it comes to translations of movies. Under small countries, we mean those with populations around 10 million people or even less. The approach is known as relatively cheap. Thus, it is also popular among independent movie makes who do not receive enough budget for their masterpieces.
In such countries as Spain and Portugal, subtitles are often applied to foreign television shows. Also, many countries today have more than two official languages, and that is another thing that makes subtitling quite wide-spread: language minorities especially benefit from this method. To sum up, the pros of subtitling include:
- Comparatively low costs (15 times cheaper than dubbing on the average!);
- Original language is still heard (it helps many people to learn new languages);
- The plot’s main message is delivered way better (the main idea remains the same as it is not important to sync the dialogues and the actors’ lips).
Of course, like in any situation, there are some disadvantages to using subtitles. Perhaps, you can guess some of them, but here is the top of disadvantages that might even prevent some filmmakers from subtitling:
- This method slows down the watcher (having to read comments whenever the dialogues are on may distract the viewer from the plotline);
- Limited space is required (when subtitling, the translators have to meet several strict conditions);
- The production time becomes longer;
- The overlapping colors may become an obstacle.
The next common method is so-called dubbing. The idea is to remove the source audio track to include a recorded one in the required language. The central European countries prefer this method on TV and in the cinema industry in general. This approach suits regions with large populations more. As some countries have just one officially recognized language, dubbing is their best choice. No cultural factors or religion usually matter but politics. It is still critical to obey censorship.
What about the advantages of this method? They include:
- Increased film’s appeal to mainstream watchers (provides a sense of national identity and comfort in general);
- Guarantees successful motion picture localization (dubbing the movie in their native language makes the audience understand the plot better; when mixed along with subtitles, the effect is the best);
- Humor and idioms become better to understand (dubbing allows accepting the joke or anecdote converted into the language that the local population understands).
So, the greatest advantage of dubbing is localizing the content so that the audience perceives the movie as the one produced by the domestic filmmaker. Of course, some cons were admitted by the experts, too:
- Selection of voice may be improper (often, the same actors dub the same original actors in movies, and audience sooner or later gets acquainted with that; but when it comes to some regions, a single actor dubs all actors, and it is not really comfortable as people should watch the picture all the time to get who is talking);
- Sync of the voices (it is not easy to synchronize the voices with the mouths of actors);
- Some voices may sound irritating to the watcher.
How to Translate a Film Step-by-Step
We have discussed a couple of the most commonly applied approaches to movie translation. Now, it is time to have a look at the steps a crew should do to implement each of them. So, we will start with the guide to adding subtitles:
- Collect the requirements by identifying the nature/scope of the film;
- Come up with the necessary assets (transcript and framework);
- The translation of the dialogue itself;
- Adjustment of settings and timing;
- Implement quality assurance tests;
- The last few steps in engineering.
The process of dubbing looks pretty much similar with some differences. For example, once the translators are done with their job, it is necessary to apply instruments to count the script’s syllables to adapt the translated material. Then, the actors may view the translation while voiceover. At the same time, one should control their tone, intonation, expressions, etc. The last steps are the same as in the case of subtitling: quality assurance and engineering.
So, Which One to Choose?
No matter which of the discussed techniques you choose, you will benefit from converting and localizing your project. It refers not only to movies: the entire business world works this way today. When translating a movie, consider the regions you plan to target as well as some other factors such as costs and voiceover actors’ availability. Then, your film is doomed to succeed (taking into account an interesting plot and good acting, of course).