Subtitling in multimedia communication


In our last episode we gave you an overview of multimedia communication, subtitling and dubbing. In this second episode, we’ll be focusing on some aspects of subtitling. Want to know how to design your multimedia content specifically for subtitling? Want to find out what you need to do to keep costs down and get the most from your budget?

Read on!

Designing your content to be “subtitle-friendly”

Starting to design new multimedia content for your business, addressed to an international audience? Now’s the time to follow a few golden rules to simplify the subtitling process, guarantee better results and keep costs down.

Here are 5 tips to put you on the right lines:


Minimise the amount of text on the screen: it can be difficult for viewers to read it while following subtitles. Assess your needs carefully: if you have to include a lot of text (such as entire, multi-slide PowerPoint presentations), perhaps dubbing is better than subtitling for the internationalisation of your video.


Leave enough space for the subtitles at the bottom of the screen in your video. Don’t put images or titles low down. If you have to include a label with the name and position of the person speaking, try not to place it at the bottom of the screen: it should be a little higher up and to the left, to avoid interfering with the subtitles, which will be centred in the bottom of the screen.


If you decide to embed PowerPoint, Excel or animated graphics files, these items can be translated too. Give us your source files: we’ll translate them separately and embed the localised version directly in the video before we subtitle it. In some cases, even if we don’t receive the files for translation, we can add cover boxes with the translations, although these are unsightly and mean hours of extra work to produce the graphics, causing costs to rise.


Make sure your speaker doesn’t talk too fast – in this case we would have to use very long subtitles (which are difficult to read and cover the image for longer) or a rapid sequence of short subtitles (which may be impossible to read). If this happens, your video may lose all its communicative power. Bear in mind that some foreign languages are “wordier” than Italian or English: translating from English to French may lengthen the text – and thus the subtitles – by up to 30%, making it even less legible. In other words, keep it short!


Arrange to have the translations approved before we add the subtitles to the video, to make sure the text puts across exactly what you want to say and the terminology conforms to your corporate vocabulary. Calculate this when estimating the time needed to produce the subtitled video.

Follow these rules and your subtitled video will retain all its communicative power and will be more enjoyable for your international audience to watch; the subtitling process will also be more straightforward and less expensive!

Let us advise you when choosing the most suitable graphics for your subtitling

If you’ve followed us this far, your multimedia content is ready for translation and subtitling. Now you only have to choose the best graphic solutions. Here’s some guidance.

What will the subtitles look like? It’s up to you – but there are some restrictions.
Use your corporate fonts and colours and think of all the possible situations where the video will be shown and all the possible users: what kind of screens will it be viewed on? At a distance, at a trade fair? On a computer or smartphone screen? These considerations impact the choice of font style, colour and size, which must ensure the subtitles are easily legible in the real conditions of use.

When it comes to text colour, for example, people often opt for white, but this may become illegible if a background of a similar colour or moving images appear in the video. For example, if your speaker appears in close-up throughout the video and is wearing a white shirt, we’ll have to add a more or less translucent grey or black band as a background for the white subtitles.

To conclude…

As we mentioned in our first episode, subtitling is less expensive than dubbing so it can be the right choice if you’re on a tight budget.

As a general rule, a video’s duration is directly proportional to its cost, but this doesn’t always hold good: if your video mainly consists of images and music with very little spoken text, subtitling it may cost less than for a shorter video with more minutes of verbal content.

The graphics are also important: the simpler they are, the less work they’ll require, and the less they’ll affect the total costs of the project.

Want to know more about subtitling?

Watch our Webinar “VideoComunicare sui mercati internazionali” (in Italian) on YouTube!

Keep following us: in our next episode we’ll be taking a detailed look at dubbing.

Ready now for your first project? Contact us now for a quote

Subtitling in multimedia communication ultima modifica: 2021-07-23T09:37:45+02:00 da