Subtitling services are used in many industries. It’s no longer just subtitles for film and TV. Nowadays, they are everywhere. And, I am sure you have stumbled across them. Or, even noticed them popping up in videos other than films.  Such as subtitled e-learning, video games, marketing content and YouTube videos.  So, why has this video translation method become so popular? And, why are more industries choosing professional subtitle services?

What are Subtitles?

Firstly, let’s look at what a subtitle is. Here’s the definition:

Text displayed at the bottom of a movie or television screen that translate or transcribe the dialogue or narrative.

“films in foreign languages with English subtitles”

Essentially, translated or transcribed dialogue is displayed at the bottom of a video.  As a result of subtitles, the viewer can understand what is happening on-screen.

For example:

Subtitling Services: The guide to translating your video content

Why different industries use subtitles – in short?

  • They can be used to transcribe or translate the dialogue in videos.
  • They are a cost-effective localization or accessibility technique.
  • Many markets are used to reading subtitles. In comparison to those who listen to the translation.
  • Many people watch videos with the audio turned off.

For example, when you want to watch a mobile video on Facebook and Instagram on public transport and turn your phone to silent. As a result, subtitles can be used to “narrate” the video.

  • They improve and boost SEO on many platforms.

So, how do you add subtitles to a video?

Well, there are subtitling tools and software out there. (Here’s a list of free tools from Wondershare UniConverter). If you want to create the subtitles yourself, that’s always an option. However, many are choosing to work with subtitling companies and localization providers. It depends on:

  • Your budget
  • Timeframe
  • Quality of the end result

So, the decision to choose a vendor is up to you and your unique video content. If you’re currently searching for subtitling services, see this article: The best subtitling companies that came recommended.

Subtitling services or other translation methods?

According to a study by Wyzowl, 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. So, it’s not a surprise that video content has been at an all-time high.  Many videos are taken to different markets once they have been translated. As a result, we are seeing a rise in localized content.

You may be wondering what your options are in regards to translating your content.  In addition to subtitles, you have these methods to consider:

What’s the difference?

Whilst all of these methods are great globalization services, they are very different from one another:

  • Both Voiceover and dubbing are methods of audio translation from the original dialogue. Whereas, subtitled content is the written form of the translated dialogue.
  • Subtitling is a lot cheaper than the other methods.
  • Subtitling requires the active participation of the viewers. They have to read them.

Everyone has a preference when it comes to these options. For example, I love to listen to dubbed films, whereas many prefer to listen to the original dialogue and read the subtitles.

It comes down to preference and what you’re used to. For instance, many grew up listening to an original amine with subtitles.  As a result, a large number of people prefer this.

For a deeper look into the pros and cons of dub and sub, see our article: Dubbing vs Subtitling Services: Both translation methods explained.

Professional subtitling service process

With the rapid growth of multimedia content, there’s been an increase in demand for translation services. Although many minds turn to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, it is not only reserved for this industry. Subtitling and captioning can be used for most video content.  In fact, the process is the same.

Let’s take a dive into the step-by-step process of professional subtitle translation:

Step 1: Gather your files

  • Collect your video files and scripts, ready to be sent off. At this stage, you should know the languages and markets you want to reach. As well as how you want the subtitles to be presented.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have the original language script. As one can be transcribed for you. If you have any queries at this stage, you can always ask a localization expert in step 2.

Step 2: Find a localization and translation company

Step 3: Subtitle template creation: Spotting

  • This phase is often referred to as spotting or time-coding. Essentially, a subtitle editor will carefully define the in and out times of each individual subtitle. Subsequently, this synchronizes the dialogue with the visuals. As well as giving each a min and max duration time that each subtitle can appear on-screen.

Step 4: Translation

  • The template created in step 3 is sent to a team of linguists who translate the original script to your desired language.
  • In addition to translating the script, the file provides context on the minimum and maximum time frame for each caption. As a result, the team of native-speaking translators can accurately translate the script according to the timeframes. Making it comfortable for the viewer to read.

Step 5: Translation Review and Correction

  • The translation is reviewed (by other native translators), to make sure the sentence structure and flow of dialogue are as accurate as possible. Therefore, creating an effortlessly readable translation for your audience.

Step 6: Subtitle deliverables 

  • There are different available formats for your subtitles. The most common ones will be a subtitle text file or a video file.
  • A subtitle text file such as an SRT file is a document that includes the time-codes and the translation of each subtitle. It can be added to video players and allows the viewers to turn the subtitles on or off.
  • A subtitled video on the other hand will have the subtitles burned into the video file, which means they will only be on display. This is a delicate process. In addition to structuring the subtitles, a subtitle editor ensures all key graphics and video elements aren’t blocked by the text.

Step 7: Quality control

  • Lastly, there is the final review. In addition to quality control, any modifications can be changed before handing over the files.

When choosing a provider, it is important to understand the process and the quality of the work. As this guarantees the highest-quality end result. There are many styles of subtitles and methods. See our article on Subtitles vs Closed Captioning. Often companies have different workflows. So, it is important to select one that chooses quality over quantity. If you’re searching for a specific style, make sure that the selected provider offers this.

Foreign language subtitle services:

Bong Joon-ho, the director of Parasite, made foreign language subtitling a new trend. Sure, subtitles have been around since the 1920s, but they had a light shone upon them with Joon-ho’s infamous speech.

Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,”

Bong Joon-ho

Subtitling Services: The guide to translating your video content

It is a great quote and a true one. We are surrounded by all of these incredible and enticing foreign films. Yet, so many of us can’t get past the subtitles to enjoy them.  This really opened people’s eyes. If we could enjoy Parasite, why not enjoy other subtitled films?

Due to the demand, we are seeing more and more subtitled foreign gems from all over the world. There is a unique quality that subtitles add. Allowing the audience to hear the original content in the way it was intended. See our article: What are the best subtitle languages to add to your videos?

What industries use subtitles?

Large corporations and brands:

  • Subtitled marketing videos and adverts
  • Translated corporate presentations


  • Subtitles for foreign language films and TV
  • Subtitled anime and cartoons.
  • Subtitling for video games

E-learning and online videos:

  • Online courses
  • Employee training videos

Well, you get the point. As you can see from the few examples above, subtitling works for an array of industries. If I could, I would keep writing.

Should I use subtitles to localize my videos?

There are many benefits to choosing subtitles to translate your video content. Firstly, subtitles are the most cost-effective way to localize your content. In addition, it is a lot easier to edit subtitles than lip-sync dubbing or voiceovers. Editing recorded dialogue usually means you have to re-record it to change it. See our infographic and summary on 6 Reasons Your Videos Need Subtitles.

Here are some questions and factors to consider when looking at translating your video content.


  • How much can you spend on your video translation?
  • Are subtitles something you can do in-house?
  • Does your budget allow for other localization methods?

Target Market 

  • Is your target audience used to subtitles? Or, do they prefer dubbed content or voiceover?
  • Is your target audience able to read the subtitles? For example, is your content intended for small children?
  • How many languages do you need for your video?


  • What timeframe are you looking to complete the localization process?


  • Will a DIY job give you the quality you’re after? Or, do you need a professional subtitling service?


As you can see, there are lots of questions and factors to consider. Trying to answer all of these questions might drive you a little bit crazy.

By consulting a subtitling company, or a localization provider, you can ask all of these questions at no cost. Additionally, when speaking with an expert, you are able to establish the best type of translation service for your unique content.

Want to reach more audiences with your content? SPG offers voiceover services in over 40+ languages. Speak with one of our experts today:

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