Hey, guys! I have just subtitled my first episode ever on Viki. I would like to give you guys some tips on how to subtitle, because sometimes I see some absurd subs and I can’t understand anything! D: So, here’s a few tips that I thought would help you guys so we can have more fun while subbing and also while watching! <3
So, for starters, you need to be fluent on both languages (the one you’re subtitling from and the one you’re subtitling to), and also, if possible, understand at least a little of the language being spoken on the show. With that in mind, let’s pretend we’re subtitling a K-drama from English to Portuguese (which is what I did).
I am a native Portuguese speaker and an English teacher. I also understand a basic level of Korean. So, what did I do? Okay: first, I listened to what was being said on the show. Then, I read the subtitles in English and after that I based my translation on what I heard and what I read in English. There are a lot of expressions and they change from one language to another. You mustn’t do your translation word-by-word. Otherwise, it could sound confusing. You need to check which expression is being used and then look for what that expression means, so that you can find that meaning in an expression of your own language! In my case, it was Portuguese.
Let me give you guys an example.
Let’s say the son likes to listen to the same kind of music as his father. In English, we would use the expression “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, in that situation, to mean that the child seems like his father. However, I could not say “A maçã não cai longe a árvore” in Portuguese, because for brazilians it would not make sense. But, in Portuguese, we use the expression “Tal pai, tal filho (Like father, like son)” for that kind of situation.
So, do you see what I mean? You can’t just use an online translator and randomly put words on the subtitles box. It takes time and thinking to do a good job. It’s a harmonisation, not just a translation.
I hope I’ve been helpful, guys! I hope we can all have a lot of fun making lots of great subtitles in all languages!