Subtitles differ from closed captions by the way they are presented on the screen. Words appear in upper and lower case letters and can appear in various colors and fonts. Subtitles may be in English or any other language. On tape, subtitles are burned into the video and appear at all times. On a DVD, subtitles are able to be turned on or off through the DVD menu.
Translated subtitles require a skilled blend of translation and editing supported by state-of-the-art technology.
To ensure accurate translations, subtitling providers should employ native speakers who either live in or regularly return to their country of origin to maintain fluency in the respective languages. Be sure to ask the company you are contracting with if they always use native speakers.
It takes far longer to read than to listen, therefore each translation should be carefully edited, providing a comfortable reading speed for the viewer while maintaining the meaning and impact of the programming. There are many different subtitling guidelines out there, but at a bare minimum proper names, technical jargon and industry terms should be researched by the translator to ensure proper spelling and connotation. If you need something subtitled, be sure to provide the subtitling company with a list of technical jargon, terms, scripts, lexicon, et cetera, to ensure that the translator has the needed information to create an errorless translation conveying your program's meaning to its target audience.