Speed in Audiovisual Translation

“If we don’t do our job, there are blank screens around the world.”

Deluxe Media, one of the leaders in multimedia localization

characters per second (cps)

characters per second (cps)

Condensation of content allows the viewer time to enjoy the film. According to Jan Pedersen’s research, if the reading speed is 12 characters per second (cps), the viewer spends 50% of the time reading subtitles and 50% watching the movie. If the reading speed is 16.5 cps the viewer spends 80% of the time reading the subtitles. So we translate the semantic content and construct our own sentences where this content is preserved.

“People like subtitles, people expect subtitles, and people prefer subtitles.”

Henrik Walter-Johnsen, Vice President, FIT Europe

seconds

seconds

Every subtitle must be displayed long enough for the viewer to have time to read it. That usually means three seconds for one line and six seconds for two lines. A subtitle shouldn’t take more than two lines. No subtitle should be displayed for less than two seconds or more than seven seconds in accordance with the Norwegian model and for less than five-sixths of a second per subtitle event (e.g. 20 frames for 24fps) in accordance with Netflix guidelines. But this depends on the client.

projects at a time

projects at a time

Project managers coordinate between two to five projects at a time, more for trailers.

Deluxe Media

hours

hours

Transcription of an hour of a video takes about six hours

(How lucky we are now to have many automatic transcription tools!)

hours

hours

Movie trailers usually have 24-48 hour turnarounds. But a turnaround time of four hours per trailer into 70+ languages is not a rare case as well.

Deluxe Media

week

week

Deadlines for localizing a feature film into multiple languages normally range between one week and one month.

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