With the growing popularity of streaming and educational video platforms, there has also been a growing demand for subtitle translations. Subtitling is a long and very meticulous process which requires specific technical and theoretical knowledge. Just like other translation types, sometimes has its challenges, especially in combinations of languages that are not very widely spoken.
In this article, we are going to talk about challenges which subtitle translators can face, and we will focus on Bulgarian subtitle translations. Apart from the common challenges, Bulgarian subtitle translators face some challenges which are specific to Bulgarian subtitling.
After looking at the possible challenges during subtitle translations, we are going to discuss the idea of investing in subtitling and the benefits of doing so.
Bulgarian Subtitle Translations Challenges
Let’s start with discussing two challenges which are common for (almost) all subtitling translations. These challenges are ones related to special terms and technical knowledge and ones related to knowledge of the subtitling process.
1. Subtitling translations of special terms and technical knowledge
In order to produce quality subtitle translations, translators often use specific subtitling software. This can be a double-edged sword since software can be just as challenging as they are helpful. Technology sometimes faces certain technical issues, which can lead to a total loss of everything already finished.
Subtitling softwares also use character limits so that the subtitles can fit correctly on the screen. The limits are different for most languages and can be a problem in cases when some lines do not make sense without the omitted parts.
Another challenge during subtitle translations can be dealing with special terms. This applies strongly for the subtitling of educational videos and for specific documentaries or popular science series. Translators need to not only be familiar with these terms, but to also be able to make the text understandable for the viewers without omitting important information.
2. Knowledge of the subtitling process
Knowledge of the subtitling process is another challenge which subtitle translators face. They must be familiar with the stages of the process, even if they do not participate in all of them. From the transcription, through the translation of subtitles, time coding, proofreading, final checks and quality assurance. They apply their technical knowledge to the translation process and help facilitate the job of the other professionals. An experienced subtitler needs to ensure that contact with the other participating professionals is maintained constantly so that everything runs smoothly. They should also research the topic carefully before starting the translation. However, developing this experience can be a lengthy process, requiring lots of practice.
3. Bulgarian language translations specifics
Guess what? For the English-into-Bulgarian subtitle translations, the most challenging are the cultural ones. We are going to refer to two very common ones – the translation of culture-specific items, the so-called cultural realia, and the translation of jokes and references to pop or other cultures.
- Cultural realia is usually not translated in Bulgarian, but transliterated. However, the cultural challenge which arises is that in subtitle translation there is no way an explanation of the realia could be provided. Even when the realia can be seen in the video, the audience might not be familiar with it and may not know what the meaning is, which could lead to misunderstanding and controversy.
- Linguistic and cultural jokes are very common in films and TV series. However, the humour can be lost during subtitle translation due to the inability to transfer literal meaning into the target language. Time constraints and unfamiliar references make the transfer impossible, which leads either to changing the unfamiliar references to familiar ones, or to replacing the joke with a different one. Humour is especially important in sitcoms, so translators need to preserve it.
Why should you invest in Bulgarian subtitle translations?
Ever since streaming platforms entered the Bulgarian market, the demand for Bulgarian subtitle translations has been rising due to the rising number of subscribers from the country. The latest data from Flixpatrol shows that Bulgarian viewers actively use streaming services, with Netflix being the most subscribed service. It has also been proven that the Bulgarian title catalogue on Netflix is the second-biggest worldwide, with more than 8,000 titles and high value for money. These results are impressive, given that Netflix has been in Bulgaria for only 7 years now. It is currently more popular than HBO Max, which provides full subtitling services in Bulgarian. A potential investment in subtitle translation would be beneficial since the viewers will be able to access the versatile content freely. This would increase the viewing numbers even more by attracting subscribers who previously found the lack of subtitles a problem.
Investing in Bulgarian subtitle translations would be also beneficial for businesses as well. With corporate careers on the rise and the ever-changing career market, many people in Bulgaria need to do extra training or qualification courses to be more productive in their jobs, which leads to a growing demand for subtitled content in Bulgarian.
Currently, the future of subtitling looks bright with the gradually increasing demand for subtitling services. Europe is the biggest subtitling market worldwide, which helps many European languages gain popularity and include in the list of subtitling services that agencies provide. This applies to Bulgarian as well and providers are starting to offer more Bulgarian subtitling services. Whether they will be for films and TV series, or for educational and training videos, the demand is expected to continue growing in the future as well.
If you need Bulgarian subtitling translations, contact Verbika Bulgarian subtitling agency for more information.