Closed Captioning for TV Drama Series - Case Study

Dynamic Captioning

Successfully translated and captioned a Latin American Spanish Drama TV series within a strictly limited time window – 2 languages, a total of 3,500 minutes – for one of the renowned US captioning companies.

‘We certainly appreciate your support. I am happy to report that the vendor released the last 20 episodes of the programming last night, so we can complete our project on time.’ 

Dynamic Captioning – formerly known as NCS / BCS / SCI, is dedicated to providing equal access of media to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, we employ a dedicated team of professionals committed to wellness and open communication to the hearing-impaired community.

Dynamic Captioning creates visual audio for the client’s programming, allowing unfettered access to their content by the hearing-impaired community across all platforms of their content delivery. Dynamic is a service innovator developing API applications enhancing state-of-industry software to maintain our edge in the tech race.

Dynamic Captioning has extensive Real-Time experience covering OTA (Over the Air) and cable networks for News, Weather, and Sports including ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates. We also have extensive experience captioning regional sports networks for FOX and Comcast. 

Project Summary

  • Type of Project: Captioning
  • Number and Name of languages: Spanish, English
  • Industry: Closed and Open Captioning company
  • Volume: Spanish – 1760 minutes, English – 1760 minutes
  • Deadlines: 3 weeks
  • PoliLingua’s customer since 03.03.2020 

Project features
As long as you are not fluent in the language when you discover a new series from a Spanish-speaking country, you have a choice: either you prefer the original version with subtitles, or you appreciate the comfort of a dubbed English version. In both cases, behind this re-transcription of the text in the language of Shakespeare, there is a professional translator. And it was our turn to translate one of the many Spanish-language series for English-speaking TV-drama lovers.

This is one of the fun parts of the translation job – get behind the scenes in these little-known areas of the big and small screen.

There is a substantial difference between two distinct tasks - translation for subtitles and translation for dubbing. These are two original approaches to the job. In both cases, we base ourselves first on the episodes, on audiovisual material. Subtitling requires above all a spirit of synthesis. The idea is not to translate every word and every sentence, but to re-transcribe the idea, by sticking to the editing, so that at the end, the subtitle becomes fluent and – what is better - no longer noticeable.

Captioning often serves as a support for a part of the audience that masters the original language of the work, but not enough to understand everything. That’s also why we try to stick as closely as possible to the original version so that the viewer who understands part of the sound is not thrown off by reading subtitles that are too detached from it. For the dubbing, we stick to the movements of the lips, and the gestural supports of the actors on screen. So you have to adapt the text and the translation in this way while keeping the intention of the line.


Translating a Spanish series to English

Above all, we must do our best to adapt to different cultures. To transcribe into our language traditions, visions, and even concepts that are sometimes foreign to us. Thus, our translators become co-authors, resorting to so-called ‘tradaptation’. This means that the most important thing is to respect the spirit of what is said in the original version. We don’t translate literally, word for word, because there is not always an equivalent word in English and because the Latin America culture is not the same as in the USA or Great Britain.

Captions delivered in SCC format

Professional video subtitling must meet several standards. SCC file data is based on closed captioning data for CEA-608. i.e., Line 21 or EIA-608 broadcast data; this used to be the standard transmission format for closed captions in North America. CEA 608 line 21 captions represent the audio of a program, but may not include noises, punctuation, or indicate which character is speaking. They appear in a fixed position along the bottom of the television screen with a black-boxed background behind white characters displayed in all caps. CEA-608 can’t support many special characters or alphabets used with other languages.

Project Highlights
When it comes to changes, usually there are extended deadlines and additional charges, but we proved that we are a team of professionals who always strive to help the clients with their needs and be as receptive and open as possible.

Solution summary

  • Created captions matching our client’s requirements
  • Learned to create SCC files for both Spanish and English languages
  • Assigned a team of very experienced and creative linguists to the translation
  • Exhibited resourcefulness to our client’s changes and adaptations
  • Delivered right on time - 80 episodes in 3 weeks 

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Our translations are performed by translators carefully selected to align with the subject matter and content of your project. They meet and exceed international quality standards. Upon request, we will provide you with a certificate attesting to the precision of our translations