Tutorials

 

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction and definitions
  2. Workflows and delivery formats
  3. Guidelines and set of rules
  4. The portal
    1. Sign up and login
    2. Receiving jobs and notifications
    3. Deadlines and availability calendar
    4. Rating and performance tracking
    5. Accessing the translation database
    6. Billing and payments methods
    7. Technical and support tickets
    8. Communication
  5. Miscellaneous
    1. Video glitch and lip-synch
    2. Text conversion
    3. Special characters and diacritics
    4. Splitting rules and dual language subtitles
    5. Translation for dubbing and adaptation

 

  • INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITIONS

 

Audio-visual translation (AVT) is the core of our line of work. It generally consists of translating the content of a video into another language. There are a few ways to achieve this, and it’s also called “localization”. The 2 most common ways are “Subtitling” and “Dubbing”.

There exist a few other services, such as “Captioning (CC/Teletext)”, “Same Language Subtitling (SLS)” and “Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH)” but these are beyond the scope of this tutorial.

It all starts with translation, and depending on the job requirements or personal preferences, several methods can be followed to complete an AVT project. For the sake of simplicity, we will be explaining the standard subtitling of videos throughout this manual, referred to simply as “Subtitling”.

Basic definitions:

  • Translation: Process of translating words or text from one Language to another
  • Language pair: Two languages one being the initial or original (called SOURCE language) and the translated language (called TARGET language)
  • CAT: Computer Assisted Translatio
  • Translation Memory: Bank of previously translated words, expressions or phrases, stored in a database
  • Transcribing: Process of making a written copy of an audio spoken source
  • Subtitling: Creating written translated text, usually displayed on the lower section of a video
  • Dubbing: Replacing the original audio track of a video with another recorded in a different Language.
  • Subtitle: [One subtitle] – Line(s) of text showing on the screen at the same time. It could be translated, transcribed, or informative.
  • Frame: One picture in a video
  • Frame size: Dimensions of a frame, expressed as Width x Height numbers
  • Frame rate: Speed of played frames, expressed as (number of frames per second)
  • FPS: Frames per second
  • Timecode: Conventional representation of a time position in a video. Usually in the format of hh:mm:ss:ff (hours, minutes, seconds, frames)
  • TC in: Timecode where a subtitle shows on screen
  • TC out: Timecode where a subtitle hides on screen
  • Synchronization: Act of assigning a TC in and a TC out for each subtitle in order place them appropriately on the video (AKA: “conforming, “cueing”, “timing”, “synching”)
  • Codec: Short for COmpress/DECompress. Software installed on a computer to allow the support of a certain video type. Example of codec: h.264, mpeg-2, IMX, ProRes, etc…
  • Safe Area: A rectangular area in the video frame inside of which all text must be limited.
  • MAX Char: Maximum number of characters allowed per line
  • Proof-reading: AKA reviewing, proofing or even QC; Act of reading someone else’s translation and correcting the errors.

 

To start with an AVT project, you will naturally need a VIDEO SOURCE, the original Language text known as SCRIPT, a software to type in the translation (Poliscript, SPOT, SUBTITLE-EDIT, MS-WORD, Online tools, etc…) and a set of guidelines pertaining to the client’s requirements, such as length of the line, censorship, glossaries, usage of parenthesis and quotations, italics, synchronization rules, etc…

Subtitling consists of 2 main phases which can be done in different orders: TRANSLATION and SYNCHRONIZATION.

While some subtitlers prefer to set the IN and OUT cues for each subtitle, then type in the translated text, some others prefer to prepare the translation and splitting THEN proceed with synchronization from the beginning of the video. Some experienced subtitlers do both, while some others only prepare the translation and send it to another trained synch-operator to set in the necessary cues. Screens’ portal offers a centralized set of tools to manage this entire process from receiving jobs till invoicing.

You are encouraged to read through this tutorial, familiarize yourself with technical acronyms and the best practices in subtitling.

Screens’ management and technical teams are always available to assist you with difficulties and point you to good learning resources.

 

  • WORKFLOWS AND DELIVERY FORMATS:

 

A job starts when an administrator (or Account Manager) receives an order from a client and assigns it to the necessary people. Creating a new job via the portal will trigger an email notification that you will receive. Logging into your portal account will take you first to a page called “DAHSBOARD”, where a summary of the most recent jobs, messages and comments will be displayed.

You must then check out the job details and confirm your ability to take it and deliver it within the set deadline.

The table view of the jobs you have will show a link to download the video, a link to download a script, the right guidelines to follow, known as SET RULES, and 2 buttons for confirmation or rejection of the job.

You must also confirm the assignment within a certain period of time (1 hour or less) or a notification alert will be sent to the admin who will either try to contact you or assign the job to someone else.

Once you have the material ready, you will start subtitling on your preferred software (usually Poliscript or MS-Word).

Once you complete translating and double checking your work, you should save your work in a file on your computer and then upload it by clicking on the SUBMIT button.

Saving your work can happen in different formats. If you are using Poliscript, Subtitle-Edit or any other professional subtitling tool, you can export your work as a .PAC, .STL or .SRT format.

New translators who are still using MS-WORD, will have to save their work as .DOC or .DOCX.

PS: The UPLOAD function has nothing to do with the format you exported, therefore you must be sure you are uploading a correctly saved file, abiding by the naming convention required for the job itself.

Examples of formats and naming conventions are either explained in the SET RULES, or explained by an admin.

 

  • GUIDELINES AND SET OF RULES

 

Each client usually requires his work to be done in a certain way. These are known as guidelines. These guidelines are divided into 2 groups: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS and TRANSLATION STYLES.

Technical specifications are details needed to create subtitles, and can contain definitions such as:

  • Length of each line
  • Maximum number of characters allowed per line
  • Formatting
  • Dialogues dashes and how they are aligned
  • The information contained in the beginning and end of the file
  • The format needed to be saved
  • Rules about synchronization, such as minimum and maximum duration (or AIR TIME), gaps between subtitles, etc…
  • Naming convention of the file (Serial numbers, Episode numbers, special language codes, etc…)

The translation styles are also explained in the SET RULES, and explain how sensitive content must be treated. Topics such as SEX, ALCOHOL, RACISM, PROFANITY, RELIGION, POLITICS, etc… must be dealt with carefully so the final work conforms to the client’s taste.

Another part of translation specific styles are glossaries. These are lists of allowed words and proper names to use throughout one TV series, scientific terminologies, acronyms and slangs.

These lists will be regularly updated and communicated to you via the portal. It is always advisable to return back to these lists at least once a month, especially if you have been translating for different clients for a while.

 

  • THE PORTAL
  • Sign up and login
    • The SIGN UP process is simple and straightforward, and must be used by each existing translator who still doesn’t have a portal account, as well as new visitors wishing to apply for a job.
    • On the main page of SUBTITLINGJOBS.COM, you can either click the green APPLY NOW button and the SIGN UP button at the top right corner. This will take you to a details information page that you need to fill with accurate information about yourself, your coordinates and the language(s) you wish to apply to.
    • After completing the sign up, you should expect a notification email sent by an administrator that explains how to perform the first test job (if you’re a new applicant) or inform you that your account is activated and ready (if you are an existing translator at Screens International)
    • The LOG IN is simply the act of entering your username and password every time you wish to check on your assignments or billing information.
    • It is worth mentioning that you must care for the privacy of your password if you are using a shared computer, and never ask anyone to login on your behalf. Regular changes of passwords is encouraged. 

 

    • Receiving jobs and notifications
      • Every time you are assigned a new job, an email notification will be received at your email address (the one you entered at SIGN-UP). Always make sure you keep your address updated in case you change it, by entering the correct address in the PROFILE INFORMATION page.
      • When you first login, you will only see the most recent jobs on the DASHBOARD page.
      • You can view a complete list of your jobs by clicking on the TRANSLATION JOBS button, which will take you to the table view listing the needed details.
      • Each job is listed in one row, with the following fields:
        • JOB ID: This is a number used by our database to identify jobs separately. You will never need to note or use this number at all.
        • DOWNLOAD LINK: This field shows the video name and is also a clickable link that will start the download of the video.
        • LENGTH: This shows the duration of the video in minutes, if applicable.
        • LANG: This shows the required language pair
        • COMMENTS: This field will show some comments sent by the admin that relates to the job. For example, you will be required to skip a certain part of the video.
        • RULE SET: Designates the set of guidelines required to perform this job. This is also a clickable link that will take you to a page that explains the said RULE SET
        • PRIORITY: This is a color coded field that shows RED for the most urgent priorities.
        • DATE ASSIGNED: shows the date and time on which the job have been assigned to you
        • DEADLINE: shows the date and time before which you must deliver your work
        • STATUS: describes the stage and progress of the job. After you confirm taking the job, it will be flagged as IN PROCESS. If you reject the job it will be marked as REJECTED and once you upload it and an admin confirms receiving the file properly, it will be marked as COMPLETED.
        • UPLOAD: this section has a button to upload your finished file, and a text area where you can type any comments you wish to inform the admins about. For example, you can mention inaudible parts, or inform the admin about any uncertainty you wish them to double check.
        • ACTION: This section has two action buttons: REQUEST AN EXTENSION and UNABLE TO COMPLETE. Should anything delay you from delivering on time, or at all, you should use this section to inform the admins. It will require admin confirmation to set a new deadline time when possible.
        • PRINT/EXPORT: Use these buttons if you wish to have a print-out of the table or save it as an Excel document on your computer.

 

 

  • Deadlines and availability calendar
    • Since the importance of delivering on time is paramount, and to avoid any clashes in assignments, the portal offers a simple and solid way to organize the days you are not available, and prevent the admins from assigning jobs to you on these set dates.
    • For this, make use of the AVAILABILITY MANAGEMENT page to enter the date(s) on which you will not be available to take on jobs.
    • Click on the field that says ENTER UNAVAILABLE date and a calendar will pop out. Chose 1 day at a time, and enter a reason in the next field if possible.
    • PS: If you wish to set several consecutive days as “unavailable”, you will need to add an entry for each day separately. Do not enter the first and last only.

 

    • Rating and performance tracking
      • To enhance the quality of our translators’ work, a rating system is implemented. This will also serve as a timeline to track individual progress. The head of translation departments, with the assistance of reviewers, will give the necessary information to the admins after completing each job. The admin will also assess other sides of your work, such as reliability and speed of delivery, and rate your performance according to a grading scheme. This is also important for the admins to visually see who is best fit for a certain important/urgent job upon creation of the assignment.
      • You are always encouraged to use our resources and any available internet information to develop your abilities and enrich your skills. The more experienced you get, the better grade you will be marked, and all this will serve to better manage your cooperation with the admins and your career as a subtitler in general.
      • This part of the portal is not obvious to the translator, and is solely used by the admins to keep track of ups and downs.

 

 

  • Accessing the translation database
    • As we always encourage collaborative work and understand how efficient it is not to repeat the same work over and over again, we started implementing a TRANSLATION BANK system which will comprise of a large database of previously translated words/slangs/phrases and another database that contains remarks, comments and suggestions added by experienced reviewers.
    • As this is a gradual build-up work by nature, the more time we give the larger and richer this bank gets.
    • Try to make visiting this section a habit. You will always benefit from learning from other people’s mistakes and from suggestions added by our most experienced reviewers.

 

  • Billing and payments methods
    • Unless you are performing a one-time odd job for Screens, this section will be the central management of your invoices and payments.
    • After uploading each job, an admin will review its status, and if nothing further must be done to complete it, he will flag the job as COMPLETE. This will reflect in the billing section as a new entry.
    • It automatically calculates the job rate and adds it to your monthly invoice.
    • By the end of each payment cycle (usually 30 days), your invoice will be ready for cash-out.
    • With the coordination of Screens’ financial department, your payment will be prepared and sent via the method that you chose as “PREFERRED”.
    • The billing section will be displayed in a tabular view, similar to the jobs sections described above.
    • Beneath the table, you will find a “PREFERRED PAYMENT METHOD” link from which you can select how you wish to receive your payments. While most of the freelancers get paid either by CASH/CHEQUES or WESTERN UNION/MONEYGRAM, other methods are also available.
    • New freelancers will coordinate these details with the financial department upon getting accepted, and rarely will you need to change the payment method afterwards.   

 

  • Technical and support tickets
    • Whenever you face technical problems related to your work, you can ask for assistance in several ways. Screens’ staff is always ready for help and can be reached via emails, phone numbers, chatting and even the MESSAGING MODULE of the portal.
    • If you are new and not sure what admin is assigning your jobs, you can send an email detailing your problem to support@screensint.com or call our head office at +9614715999 and ask to speak to an Account Manager.
    • Common issues that you might encounter are:
      • Inability to access the portal
      • Login problems
      • Download difficulties
      • Corrupted video
      • Missing or mismatching script
      • Problems with the software you are using
      • Problems preventing you from properly exporting/saving your work
      • Computer crashes and recovery
    • Please do inform us about any hitches as soon as you face them, especially anything you believe is not functioning as intended in your portal account.

 

  • Communication
    • As mentioned in section (g), you can communicate with Screens staff via different methods.
    • For general inquiries: info@screensint.com
    • You should also note and save your personal account manager who will be responsible for assigning jobs to you, and by coordinating with him/her you will figure out the best ways to communicate at different times of day.
    • PS: All communication is preferred to be via emails, to ensure that all details pertaining to a certain job is logged, and that your requests will be processed at the management workflow the fastest way possible. Always try to include clear informative details when describing an issue. For example (specific dates, accurate file names, timecodes in video, etc …)

 

  • This tutorial is a work in progress, and will always be updated with new entries and sections. Your comments are most appreciated.