A dynamic approach to the changing audiovisual landscape

As the production and demand of media content are on the rise, so is the need for the speedy delivery of quality subtitles. Content ranging from popular entertainment to informational videos can now be shared with a few clicks, so the challenge is to produce top-notch subtitles fast enough to be dispatched along with the media content.

In the not-so-distant past, most audiovisual content consisted of films viewed in cinemas or programs broadcast on television. Production of these kinds of media was more tightly controlled and remained in the hands of relatively few people. Specifically, a large portion of the content that spread internationally came from the U.S. At present, however, local content from a myriad of countries can boast of global success thanks to greatly enhanced localization.

The way we watch and share media has been revolutionized due to online streaming platforms. This interest in creating, uploading, sharing and downloading content is found at all levels, from media giants like Netflix, YouTube, HBO, Apple and more, all the way down to individuals creating content in more humble circumstances. Even more challengers are stepping into the ring with a formidable group headlined by Disney Plus. And by all accounts, this trend should only continue to grow. The digital world doesn’t have boundaries in the same way that the physical world does. Along with broader access comes higher speeds of access. The goal that everyone is chasing is a more fluid and seamless way to share and watch media.

And yet, while the same content is being made available to all, not everyone can take advantage of it without quick localization services in their native tongue. Subtitles, in particular, have some of the tightest deadlines. Months can go into the making and editing of a program, and only when the final cut is ready can the video be sent for subtitling, and translation, when necessary. All those months—or even years—of painstaking labor rely on eagle-eyed translators and skilled subtitlers in order to meet deadlines.

Though the international market is ever-present, it is much more challenging to tap into without subtitles. Producers of popular programming know how important it is to have subtitles ready for the premiere of each new release. If the subtitlers can’t deliver on tight deadlines, there’s the risk of having to release content without them, or even of delaying the entire project.

The increasing success of non-English language content subtitled or dubbed for English-speaking audiences creates exciting new prospects. While these audiences have traditionally been reluctant to embrace foreign content, some notable Netflix titles have broken down that barrier in a big way. Due to the massive success these shows are experiencing, the demand for foreign content is growing exponentially. If subtitling and dubbing providers want to keep up, they will need to be able to offer a wide array of both services and languages. An international company like ours with offices throughout the world and years of localization expertise is best positioned to lead the charge forward.

The new AI technology of streaming platforms gives us more personalized and detailed suggestions for content that we are likely to enjoy. Smart suggestions for what shows and films we should watch next are made based on our viewing history. The public has an increasingly unique viewing experience which is, in part, made possible by the proliferation of content created for all tastes. In order to keep a finger on the pulse of shifting trends, it is necessary to have both the technological and creative capability to adapt to these practices. Just as content creators embrace new technology to revolutionize how fans watch their favorite programs, so too do subtitling and dubbing teams need to be aware of these advances and respond with flexibility.

Given that both the supply and demand for audiovisual content continues to rise, dubbing and subtitling providers will be met with new opportunities to tackle in this sector. To maintain high levels of efficiency and quality, we have developed internal systems that allow us to offer exceptional services. We use our own platforms and software that enable us to analyze project requirements, subtitling and translation resources, the time needed for project execution, and see what team is best equipped to handle the project. Also, similar to the viewing history AI that streaming platforms use, we use translation history to guarantee swift and accurate translations. This not only improves the quality of our translations, but can also significantly decrease the cost. With this toolbox in hand, we are well-equipped and eager to get to work on delivering excellence.

By Elena Thelemann
Subtitler for Straker Translations