Since posting the subtilting news, a number of people asked what program / method we used for doing the subtitles. So, rather than write multiple emails, we thought we’d do a quick follow up post with the information.
After some looking around, we decided on using a program called Annotation Edit. The website is not the most user-friendly / market-ready, but the program is really solid and does the job well. It’s definitely one of the more pricier options, but the feature set and ease of use make it worth it. We found this article over at Creative Cow really helpful in our research. There isn’t a huge selection of Mac-based subtitling tools, and the creative cow article seems to hit all the ones worth considering.
Import/Export: Aside from the usable, relatively intuitive interface, Annotation Edit has a boatload of import/export options which was a big selling point for us. In particular, we needed the option to import from and export to an excel document (timecode in one column, associated text in the other).
We are currently toying with the idea of open/crowd sourcing future translations (more on this soon), and being able to hand over an excel version with timecode in column 1, english in column 2 and translated text (to be inputted) in column 3, seems like it will allow for a relatively easy swapping out of english and an alternate language. Of course, it’s not going to be nearly that simple and easy. I’m sure there will be a lot of tweaks and changes to make each language work properly. But that’s the base idea behind trying to get IGTM into as many languages as possible.
Takes Some Time: Another subtitling note, we naively assumed that the entire task of subtitling is pretty straightforward. I mean, you just type down what’s said, right? Notsomuch. It’s actually more of a subtle art and much more time consuming than we originally thought. Many sentences have to be slightly altered in order to be properly understood when read (a lot of nuance is lost in straight transcription) and/or fit into the alloted time/pacing.
Also, originally we thought the task of transcribe the talky 94 minute film would take about 2 days. In the end, it ended up eating up 5 full days of work - despite the fact that, going into it, we pretty much know the film by heart and can recite dialogue (with proper dramatic intonation) on command. It’s takes a long time. Be prepared.
So, yeah, Annotation Edit was the tool. It’s good, I’d recommend it.
No Spell Check?! However, I must point out a massive shortcoming. The software does not seem to have a spellcheck function?!?!? I was floored upon discovering this. I may be missing the feature somehow. My searching for this feature also led to another slight shortcoming: lack of proper & complete documentation. You kind of feel a bit on your own when working with the program.
But, despite those notable missteps, I still recommend it.