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How to Translate Subtitles for Professional Videos (2024)

Translating subtitles for videos comes with its limitations. By this point, you’ve probably realized the best way to translate subtitles (.srt or .sub) professionally isn’t to copy and paste text into Google Translate or to use an automatic subtitle translator online.

Professional video subtitles need to be highly accurate. However, video caption translation shouldn’t consume your workdays or resources.

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This particularly applies if you’re creating professional business videos such as corporate learning videos that need foreign language subtitles. Or, for instance, if you’re working with a marketing department on a multilingual ad campaign.

That’s why we wrote this article on how to translate subtitles professionally for videos you create on behalf of your organization. The information below (and software recommendation at the end ) will set you up for success when creating video captions in other languages.

How to Translate Subtitles Professionally for Quality & Time Savings

1. Translate Subtitles with Professional AI Translation Software

The best way to translate subtitles for professional videos for quality while saving time and money is to first find professional translation software that uses Dynamic Machine Learning. 

Why? Dynamic Machine Learning works hand-in-hand with Translation Memory to deliver continuous quality improvements and reduce hours worked and translation-related costs. You need to be able to train your machine translation engine by editing text segments, storing those improved translations and reusing them in the future.

This calls for a combination enterprise alternative to Google Translate. And you’ll need to use this in conjunction with a human translator to improve subtitle translations.

translate subtitles

Professional translation solutions are made for saving time and money for video content creators by doing the following:

  1. Learning your words and phrases to improve translation quality for you
  2. Auto-populating similar translations for you within a file, across a batch of files, and in future first-draft file translations
  3. Storing your translated captions (useful for future quick edits to your video subtitles) for future reuse

how to translate subtitles
But keep in mind that you’ll need to hire a freelance translation professional, or find a bilingual colleague to help you. The translation software doesn’t teach itself!

No translation software alone on the market can deliver the high quality translations that a human translator can. Idioms, jargon, technical terminology and abstract concepts need to be taught to a translation engine, and the ones that can learn from you are the ones that contain Translation Memory.

We can’t stress this enough. Professional translation software alone doesn’t work unless a human trains the software. Learn more about how this works in our post on how to train your machine translation engine.

best way translate subtitles

The software will save you time and money over time if you plan to update your videos or create more videos in the future, even though it requires the human touch.

At the end of this post, we recommend the easiest and smartest professional translation software for video producers.

2. Look for Compatibility with Subtitle Files

If you want the best way to translate subtitles for professional videos efficiently, it will improve your workflow to look for professional translation software that is compatible with subtitle files.

Ideally, you’ll look for a translation software that lists “.sub” and “.srt” files in its file compatibility list. These types of files are actually text files. They contain data on sequencing and cue points, which indicate for when each subtitle should be shown during video playback.

When you upload a subtitle file into translation software that’s compatible with it, you can upload your subtitle file as is. This reduces the amount of effort needed when it comes to translating subtitles for professional videos.

3. Look for Automatic File Formatting Capability

Perhaps one of the best ways to translate subtitles for professional videos is to use translation software that has automatic file formatting functionality.

This way, the translated file you receive from the software will contain formatting that looks exactly like the original. The file should look something like the following when you upload it to a video platform (but a lot longer):

00:02:17,440 –> 00:02:20,375
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00:02:20,476 –> 00:02:22,501
It’s safe, secure and smart.

In summary, you want to use translation software that encodes your files. This will make it so that you don’t need to reformat your subtitle file after the software runs the translation, because that will take you a lot of time—especially if your videos are lengthy.

If you choose the right translation software for subtitles, the translation process should be as easy as uploading, editing and downloading a file.

The best way to translate subtitles with translation software is by using Pairaphrase.

It’s easy-to-use online translation software for professionals. It helps you manage your translations and collaborate with colleagues and human translators. It uses AI to learn your words and phrases so that you never need to translate the phrase twice.

Translate subtitles into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, Polish, Swedish, Dutch and more.

Schedule a demo or share this article with a colleague.

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