Choosing the Right Subtitling Agency: What Factors Should You Consider?

May 30, 2023

Effective communication is vital to reaching a global audience in today’s interconnected world. With the rise of video content across various platforms, subtitling has become an essential component for enhancing accessibility and understanding. When it comes to choosing the right subtitling agency for your projects, there are several factors which you should consider.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at where subtitling services may be required and what makes a subtitling agency a good choice for your requirements.

While this blog focuses on the need for translated subtitles to engage global audiences, subtitles can also be created in the original language for a range of other purposes, as explored in our previous blog.

Netflix, subtitles

Where might the services of a subtitling agency offer value?

There are a variety of scenarios where accurate and professional subtitling services offer value. The one with which most people are familiar is entertainment, i.e. films, television and video streaming. Translated subtitles are typically included whenever a movie, show, or series requires international distribution, making the content accessible to viewers who may not speak the original language.

A professional subtitling agency will have the expertise and tools to ensure the original dialogue is translated appropriately for the new target audience and that the translated subtitles are expertly integrated for a seamless viewing experience.

Netflix and Amazon are two media giants that leverage subtitles to give worldwide audiences access to their video content. While Netflix’s subtitles have faced criticism in the past, recent updates have recently been announced that promise improvement.

However, it’s not just films, television and series where subtitling agencies are used to engage non-native viewers. In a world where business, learning and entertainment all span country boundaries, the accelerating demand for content is creating numerous instances where translated subtitling services are required. These include:

  • Corporate videos and presentations for businesses, their employees and stakeholders
  • Educational content for students accessing education institutions, e-learning platforms and online courses
  • Marketing videos and advertisements for brands seeking to engage global audiences
  • Online videos on social media for brands and influencers aiming to raise their digital profiles

A professional subtitling agency should be able to deliver a high-quality service in any of these scenarios, so what should you look for when selecting one for your projects?

subtitling video e-learning

What factors should you consider when choosing a subtitling agency?

If you require translated subtitles for your video content, partnering with a professional subtitling agency is highly recommended to ensure a high-quality result. When seeking a partner for this requirement, there are several elements that you should evaluate to ascertain whether the subtitling agency is the right company for your project and how well they will be able to meet your objectives.

Language expertise

When looking to communicate successfully with a non-native audience by including subtitles in your video content, the most crucial factor to consider is the language expertise of the subtitling agency.

Ensure that they have a team of professional, experienced linguists who are native in the target language (and preferably in-market) and fully fluent in the source language. These linguists will understand the nuances of language, cultural references, and idiomatic expressions, enabling them to create accurate and contextually appropriate text for the subtitles.

Technical ability

The other key element in the success of subtitles is how well they are embedded into your video content. A good subtitling agency should have specialist digital engineers who are skilled at this process and can ensure a first-rate viewing experience.

Quality control measures

Maintaining high-quality standards is vital in subtitling. Look for an agency that has robust quality control measures in place. Protocols should include thorough proofreading, editing, and review processes to ensure the accuracy and suitability of the subtitles.

A reliable agency will have a team of experienced proofreaders who are also skilled native linguists and can meticulously check subtitles for grammar, spelling, timing, and synchronisation with the video content.

Turnaround time

Timely delivery can be crucial, especially if you have strict deadlines to meet. Ask the agency about their turnaround times and how they ensure adherence to deadlines if any issues arise to understand if these will align with your project requirements. A reputable subtitling agency will have proven project management systems and dedicated teams to ensure subtitles are delivered within the agreed-upon timeframe without compromising quality.

Subtitling styles and formatting

Different videos may require different subtitling styles and formatting options. For instance, some videos may benefit from standard subtitles at the bottom of the screen, while others may require closed captions for accessibility purposes.

Discuss your specific needs with the agency and ensure they can accommodate your desired subtitling style. Additionally, ask about the agency’s ability to handle specialised formatting requirements, such as text positioning, colour choices, and on-screen text placement.

Confidentiality and security

If your video contains sensitive or confidential information, it is essential to check that the subtitling agency with which you partner prioritises confidentiality and security. Ensure it has strict data protection measures in place, including secure file transfer protocols and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). By checking these measures, you can have peace of mind knowing that your content is in safe hands.

subtitles, remote

Selecting the right subtitling agency is a critical decision that can significantly impact the quality and effectiveness of your video content. Take time to research multiple agencies, requesting samples and reading client testimonials to assess their track record and reputation. With the right subtitling agency as your partner, you can enhance the accessibility, engagement and impact of your videos when sharing with a global audience.

Mission Translate is highly experienced in providing multilingual subtitling as part of our media services, which also includes voice-overs, dubbing and on-screen text translation. With our extensive database of linguists, specialist digital engineers and proven quality control processes, we can deliver a high-quality result for any global market you require.

To learn more, please get in touch with our team.

  • US: +1 (347) 391 0672

European Office:

Kandoy House, 2 Fairview Strand, Dublin 3, D03 R8P3

  • EU: +44 (0) 121 296 9870