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Elias Perez
Elias Perez

Subtitle Chained

Netflix expects subtitles which are neatly timed, sit comfortably within the edit of the content and which provide an effortless viewing experience. We want our members to feel like they are watching our content, not reading it.

subtitle Chained


NOTE: No parameter is mandatory, but at least one is required. The more possibilities you add, the best is your chance to get the best matching subtitles in a large variation of languages.I don't recommend ever using "query", as it is highly error-prone.*sublangageid is a 3 letters langcode (ISO 639-2 based)

NOTE: Only subpath is mandatory. However, it is highly recommended to also provide path and imdbid to make sure you can add a subtitle even if the movie isn't already in the database.

fl_layer_apply tells Cloudinary to apply all chained transformations, until a transformation component that includes this flag, on the last added overlay or underlay asset instead of applying them on the base asset. This flag acts as an indicator to close the layer section of the transformation, similar to a closing bracket. Placement definitions for how the layer should be applied, such as gravity and offsets are also defined in the component with this flag.

To support chained transformations, Cloudinary's transformation URLs allow you to include multiple transformation components, each separated by a slash (/), where each of the transformation components is executed on the result of the previous one. Cloudinary's SDKs can apply multiple transformation components by specifying the transformation parameter and setting it to an array of transformation maps.

Quality is a rather slippery concept, and its assessment in subtitling can be a challenging task, as its appreciation can easily vary depending on the different stakeholders involved in the production and reception of subtitles. In this paper, we evaluate quality indicators in subtitling as perceived by professional subtitlers and viewers. After exploring the various subtitle parameters that can have an impact on the quality of the end product (such as line breaks, synchronisation, display rates), we present the results of two qualitative studies conducted with professional subtitlers and subtitle viewers with different audiovisual backgrounds. The results yield some similarities and discrepancies, particularly in the way in which the strategy of condensation is perceived by the two groups, and they also help delineate the subtitle parameters that should be taken into consideration in order to improve the creative process as well as the reception of subtitles.

Grosso modo, the factors that have an impact on the quality of the subtitles that appear on screen can be grouped into three loose categories. Some of them are of a technical nature and therefore easily noticeable and closely linked with the spatial and temporal constraints imposed by the medium itself, such as synchronisation between text and soundtrack, subtitle display rate, observance of a minimum gap between chained subtitles, insufficient time to read a subtitle, respect of shot changes and sound bridges as well as adherence to the maximum number of characters allowed per line [30]. Most of these parameters can be easily monitored when working with software specifically designed for the creation of subtitles.

A second group of factors derive from the actual linguistic transfer, in which mishearings of the dialogue, excessive reduction in the original message, unorthodox line breaks, unwelcome presence of typos or infelicitous solutions that do not do justice to the source language or cultural reference can have a direct bearing on the quality of the subtitles. A mistake that can easily pass unnoticed in other translation contexts risks being easily spotted in a translation practice as uniquely vulnerable as subtitling [1], always challenged by the concomitant presence of the original dialogue exchanges.

One of the early academic works to investigate both the theoretical and practical factors that may influence the quality of the subtitling output, as perceived by the professionals, is the one conducted by Kuo [37]. The scholar carried out two rounds of online surveys to elicit the working conditions of subtitlers around the world and thus gauge their impact on the quality of the resulting subtitles. From her qualitative study, she concluded that subtitling quality could be better enhanced if processes were streamlined, the quality of the support materials provided to subtitlers was improved, reasonable pecuniary rewards were offered to practitioners, and awareness of the importance of subtitling quality was raised among the various stakeholders, including the audience.

In their study on quality control in the subtitling industry, Robert et al. [38] allocate importance to the translation process by distinguishing between quality management, quality assurance and quality control at three different stages, i.e. pre-translation, during translation and post-translation. The authors conducted an online survey among professional subtitlers and obtained data from 99 respondents on their role and contribution to the quality of interlingual subtitling. Subtitlers confessed to scrupulously follow the style guides given to them in terms of subtitle speeds, spotting and layout and admitted that, in their opinion, the most important parameters to affect quality were content, grammar, readability and contextual appropriateness.

The study was articulated within a larger international project on the exploration of subtitle display rates and line breaks [42,43,44,45] and was undertaken at the Centre for Translation Studies (CenTraS) of University College London between 2016 and 2018.

As part of the study, we designed an online survey using Microsoft Forms (available as a supplementary file here), whose main goal was to elicit the opinion of professional subtitlers as far as subtitle display rates and line breaks were concerned [46]. The present paper reports on the final section of the questionnaire, where subtitlers were requested to offer their views on the parameters that influence quality in interlingual subtitling.

The survey was completed by 237 professional subtitlers from 27 different countries, both inside and outside of Europe. The survey consisted of closed-ended questions and one open-ended question. The open-ended question was completed by 220 participants. The largest groups of respondents came from countries with long-standing subtitling traditions, such as Finland (37), the Netherlands (36), Denmark (13), Norway (9) and Sweden (8). However, countries with dubbing and voiceover traditions like Spain (24), Poland (21), France (18) and Germany (5) were also reasonably well represented. Other participants came from Croatia (4), Italy (4), Slovenia (4), Belgium (3), Australia (2), Iran (2), Switzerland (2), and one from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Israel, New Zealand, Slovakia and the USA.

Altogether, the professionals participating in this survey embody a large and varied sample of experienced subtitlers representing numerous parts of the world and different segments of the audiovisual translation market.

Good subtitles are clear and concise and easily understood. You could say that subtitles are best when they are in a sense invisible: the reading experience is so smooth that the viewer hardly notices she/he is reading.

In the eyes of many professionals, the quality of subtitling has gone down in recent years [37]. According to the participants in the survey, the reasons for this tumble are multifarious and include the fall in rates, the rise in subtitle display rates, the widespread use of templates, the lack of quality control procedures and the influx of inexperienced people into the profession. This is aptly expressed by one experienced subtitler in the following terms:

Of all these reasons, the falling rates paid by some vendors is recurrently blamed by a substantive number of subtitlers as the major factor contributing to the drop in quality, as noted in the following quotes:

I think there are many subtitling companies nowadays which do not care enough about the quality of subtitles. They care more about making money. Rates for subtitlers are generally too low. This has a negative effect on the quality of subtitles.

The distribution medium is also a variable picked up by some subtitlers, who argue that different quality levels can be distinguished between subtitles that are broadcast on television and screened at the cinema, which generally tend to be of higher quality, and those published on DVDs, which are criticised for being less polished. Such observation is closely related to the previous reproach levelled at international companies, for these usually operate in the DVD industry:

As illustrated in the last quote, professionals also voice their discontent with the use of templates. Introduced in the industry in the late 1990s because of the boom of the DVD and the need to manage new multilingual projects [49], a template is a list of master subtitles, with the in and out times already spotted, usually in the same language as the audiovisual production, and used as the starting point for the translation of the programme into as many languages as necessary. Although there are a number of advantages to using them as part of the subtitling workflow [50], their use has also been vilified by many professionals, as evidenced in the previous quote but also the following one:

Due to the severe drop in rates and the use of templates, reading speeds have become ever higher. Highly trained subtitlers are deemed too expensive, so people who have had little or no training now simply type Dutch words into English templates without much regard for reading speeds or quality.

For another subtitler, measuring subtitling quality on the grounds of the technical, linguistic and cultural dimensions is insufficient, suggesting that quality should be observed in more holistic terms and accommodate other parameters, like working conditions: 041b061a72


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