Audio and Visual Services FAQs

Answers to common questions about our audio and video translation services

What is the difference between subtitling and captioning?

Both captioning and subtitling are the process of transcribing the audio portion of a live event, televised broadcast, pre-recorded program, web video, DVD, webinar, or other production and displaying the transcription on a visual display system.

Oftentimes, captioning is used to better reach the deaf community, since it employs the use of brackets and explanation to describe all of the sounds within the video. Subtitling, on the other hand, is most widely seen when the viewer can hear all of the sound in the video, but cannot understand the language or dialect being spoken.

What if my video has subtitles?

No problem. We can translate and place the subtitles. For the most cost-effective approach, before the script is translated, make sure you know which subtitles you would like translated, so they can be a part of the original translation process.

How do I get started?

It’s easy! Contact us today and talk with a translation Project Manager. Our project managers are trained to make the process as smooth as possible for you. To get started, we’ll need to see what materials you already have – a script, a completed source language recording or video, a storyboard, etc. We’ll ask you the right questions, in order to estimate pricing.

What steps are involved in translating audio and video?

First, we need a complete script. If you have one, great. If you don’t, no problem; our transcriptionists can create a timed script from your audio or video files.

Once we have the script, we create the language translation. A professional linguist translates the material into their native language, then a second linguist reviews and verifies the translation. Any script instructions — time codes, etc. — are kept intact for use by the narrator during the recording process.

Next, we arrange for the Voice Talent to narrate your script. A Sound Engineer manages the recording to create a digital audio file.

To complete the project, the Sound Engineer does post-production editing (i.e., removing breaths, adjusting sound levels, etc.). Sometimes post-production requires a second session with the voice talent. If the project includes video, the post-production work can be more extensive, and can include image manipulation, insertion of subtitles, etc.

How do you determine the cost for localizing audio/video?

As each project for translating audio/video is unique and has various complexities, it can be difficult to give an exact price up front. Typically, we will give you a range of costs, which vary according to a number of factors including:

Script preparation (transcription, time codes, pronunciation guidelines)
Transcription is charged by the hour. On average it takes one hour to transcribe 6-10 minutes of recording, thus, a 90-minute recording will take 9-15 hours to transcribe. If you provide a complete script (with time codes and pronunciation guidelines), there will be no script preparation charge.

Language translation and review of original script
Translation and Independent Review are charged according to word count. The exact word count won’t be available until after transcription is complete. Typically, people speak about 100-200 words per minute; the average is about 135 wpm. The nature of the content will dictate the speed of the speech.

Voice talent (number of narrators per language; how much content each person will record)
Voice Talent is charged by the hour. The local talent market drives the hourly cost, which is based on experience, background and training, voice recognition and competition. We will give you a range of costs, and provide sample recordings and hourly rates — you will select the voice talent you want, so you can consider both sound and budget.

Studio rental and Sound Engineer labor
Cost depends on which studio you use and how much time is needed. We can only estimate the final cost, but on average, it takes about one hour to record 10 minutes. Our voice talent will gladly travel to any studio you choose. Many clients have relationships with sound studios; however, if you don’t, we can make those arrangements for you. We have worked with many studios in the Puget Sound area, or we can make arrangements in any location you prefer.

Target language Director (if needed)
Complex projects, especially video or projects with character interaction, should include a bilingual Director who can work with the Sound Engineer and other studio technical staff, but can also understand the recording in order to facilitate a smooth process. The director will be able to hear timing problems and pronunciation issues, and will ensure those issues are dealt with on the spot. That can save you a lot of money in avoiding a second recording session for post-production cleanups.

Project management
Depending on the complexity of your project, we may determine that project management will require an above-average number of hours. If so, we will clearly note that in your cost estimate prior to beginning the project.