314-725-3711 | Since 1998

Audio Narration / Video Subtitling

“Whenever we have a translation project, Language Solutions is my first call. They are as committed to perfection as I am and I can trust that the end result will make me and my clients look good.”


Creative Director, FleishmanHillard

Translating and localizing audio, video, flash and other multimedia content into foreign languages presents unique technical and creative challenges that few organizations are capable of handling and foreign language video subtitling is one of our core services. LSI has a deep knowledge of media standards and formats, as well as the ever-evolving new technologies and mediums used by organizations to transfer knowledge (DVD Authoring, Subtitling, Internet Video, Podcasting, Flash and LMS publishing software).

Foreign language video subtitling

We will work with you to help you decide between subtitling or voice over as the best choice for your audience in the country in which it will be shown.  If the best option for you is Subtitling, we work with your source Master to transcribe, translate in our proprietary subtitling template and then insert the foreign language subtitles back onto the video.

Foreign language translation of video subtitles is a distinct expertise. There are required readability rules, breaks, line lengths and visual standards to follow.  It is truly and exercise in strategy to provide standards for the following:

  • Location
    • Subtitles should be at the bottom of the screen, except under certain circumstances. One of these is when on-screen text appears at the bottom of the screen, in which case the translation should appear at the top of the screen if possible.
    • Subtitles are typically centered.
  • Line breaks and format
    • Each subtitle should ideally contain one complete sentence.
    • Longer sentences should be broken over two lines (and if necessary, may need to be broken into multiple subtitles) at the highest syntactic node. This means that it is preferable to break a subtitle after a noun or verb rather than after a preposition or article.
    • Both lines of a two-line subtitle should be as equal in length as possible. If word length and segmentation at the highest syntactic node do not allow for this, having a longer top line is preferable to having a longer lower line.
  • Timing
    • A general rule of thumb is to keep the subtitle on the screen with just enough time to read it plus 0.25 – 0.5 seconds for cognitive processing. Given average reading speeds, this means one second per 2.5 – 3 words.
    • Visual cuts should also be considered. A subtitle should disappear before a cut that indicates a thematic change.


Below is an example of one of many videos we have subtitles for this client.  The client has chosen the option of a shaded box for the subtitle format example as shown below.


The Changing Landscape of Subtitling Standards in Corporate Communications

The Changing Landscape of Subtitling Standards in Corporate Communications

The Technology Landscape around Video Subtitles Standards is changing. Services like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are leading the way in changing the expectations around subtitles by providing subtitles on a massive scale to millions of viewers every day, and they are becoming more efficient and better at it. We’ll look at how these expectations may influence subtitling in corporate videos.

read more

Foreign Language Audio Translation

You may also have audio that you want to have translated into another language so that you can use that text for other purposes.

  • You want to be able to identify portions of video interviews that you filmed so that you can pull out the parts you want to use to create a new shorter video.  For a project like this, you need to have the translation of the audio along with time codes inserted.
  • You have a series of just audio interviews and you want to pull out English quotes for a report.  You would not need time codes with this option – only the text is important for your needs.
    For both of these options above, the transcript of the source language in the audio is not needed. Therefore, you just need audio translation which is certainly more cost effective for you.

Foreign Language Audio Transcription

If you determine that the script of the audio is important for your needs, we can produce a transcribed script for you. The cost is based on the language, the clarity of the audio, and the overall minutes of the audio.