The quality of templates in subtitling. A survey on current marketing practices and changing subtitler competences
Perspectives. Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Year of publication
The rapidly growing demand for subtitling on the global translation market has resulted in a new development which has revolutionised the way subtitles are created and distributed: the template. A template is a subtitle file containing a time-coded transcription of the dialogue to be later translated into multiple target languages. Loved by global subtitling companies and frowned upon by subtitlers, templates have become an inseparable part of modern subtitling workflows. The goal of our study is to examine this new development in terms of quality, its impact on the profession and the resulting changes in subtitler competences. With this goal in mind, we conducted an online survey which was completed by 344 professionals from 47 countries involved in the subtitling process with templates. We gathered data on the content of the templates, subtitling workflows, types of software, pivot translation, annotations, and language combinations. We found important differences in spotting skills between subtitlers depending on their experience and type of company they work for. Our results also show that the quality of templates currently available on the market is rather inadequate. We present suggestions for improvement based on the subtitlers’ views. The results may be used to inform current market practices.