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Friday April 26, 2019 17:2283

Bad subtitles can ruin millions of dollars in Europe

Bad subtitles for European movies can ruin millions of dollars worth of hard work, Europe subtitlers warn.

According to a media article quoting professional subtitlers from Europe, clumsy and insensitive translations in many movies for the British audience could ruin the enjoyment of watching a foreign-language film.

"The subtitler must decide what to prioritize at any given moment, in order to best serve the interests of the film,” says David Buchanan, a freelance translator specializing in French to English subtitling, adding, "Bad subtitles can ruin" films in terms of the millions of dollars spent for such projects. 

He also referred to the importance of subtitling, noting, "A filmmaker wouldn’t outsource their color correction or audio mix and just think: ‘I’ll leave them to it, I’m sure it’ll be fine.’ They would want to see it, hear it, get a second opinion, make sure everybody is on the same page. It should be the same with subtitles.”

The article noted subtitlers are very much forced to do more work for less wage and that will eventually sacrifice quality in the case of movies rendered for the Europe market.

Such unfair trend has also been slammed by AVTE (AudioVisual Translators Europe) as the Europe-based association seeks to correct the viewpoint, issuing a warning that subtitling is a craft that should not be done by amateurs or automatic translation software.

Another subtitler Ian Burley, who has been rendering French, Belgian and Italian movies, also said with a reference to English subtitles of a movie that the flick was riddled with errors all of which could distract the viewers.

Burley adds in an emotional scene of the movie a woman’s desperate cry of “Vamos!” (“Come on!”) to a dying man was loosely translated as “Let’s go!” – as though she thinks he is dragging time for no reason.