Latest update date: February 21, 10

As one of the youngest forms of media, art and entertainment, movies have rapidly gained popularity around the world. Today, blockbusters are created in only a few cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Mumbai and are widely distributed around the world. The film industry is big business and has enjoyed a lot of success with film translation and localization.

Without these two processes, China probably wouldn't know about the Avengers, while US citizens wouldn't even know about classics like Solaris or Amelie. However, what is behind the process of translating or localizing the film, and how have these processes helped make it so successful? Find out with us a few facts about the translation and localization of the movies below!

Unknown Facts About Film Translation
Unknown Facts About Film Translation

Note: How Foreign Film Translation Affects Global Society

The Goal of Movie Translation – Video Clip Movie Subtitles

The reason the distributor translates the movie is to market it to another country for a larger cumulative profit. However, the distributor is not the only party working on film translation, so there are many other goals as well. Film translation usually involves two main processes: creativity and language. Both processes come together to achieve a larger goal of acting as a non-monetary counterpart for the main reason mentioned above. First, however, consider the goals of creativity and language.

Creative Goals

From a creative point of view, a film translation should first and foremost sound and look aesthetically appealing to the audience. While translating a film, the interpreter has to arrange the script so that the characters in the film do not sound awkward and mechanical in the first place. This helps the audience perceive the content of the film as naturally as if they were watching other real people. Second, this creative/aesthetic goal is based on the visual element. Not only should the character translations sound natural, but also look natural. So the dialogue translation had to be matched to the original and synchronized with the video, so that the actors moved their mouths until they heard the sound. This way, the audience won't be confused when one of the characters closes his mouth, while the soundtrack continues.

Language Goals

On the other hand, conveying the original message, tone, and intent of the film in another language is the primary linguistic goal in film translation. It can be quite a difficult thing to achieve such a goal, translation alone is not enough. The content of the film must be adapted to the cultural and linguistic characteristics of a given country or region.

The way movie translations are presented varies in different countries, thus making the job easier or more difficult for an expert film translator. However, the most common forms of film translation are still subtitles and dubbing. The distributor can choose between these two methods depending on quite a few factors, including the political, economic or social environment of the target country as well as the budget the company is willing to invest in order to issue. movies in a given country as well as the population size of that country. The methods are largely different and directly affect the perception of movie translations, so let's take a closer look at each of those!

Note: Professional Film Translation Process

Movie Subtitles – Video Clips Subtitles

This method of film translation involves translating and localizing the movie script and projecting the text on the screen within the respective speech or audio timeframes. This method is much more effective than dubbing and is often used for countries with smaller populations, art films and TV series mainly. The translation industry may provide translation and transcription services to specific subtitle creators. Therefore, subtitles also have advantages and disadvantages.

The Goal Of Movie Translation - Video Clip Movie Subtitles
The Goal of Movie Translation – Video Clip Movie Subtitles


  • Cost effective. Translating movies using only text, even if this text will be tailored to appeal to a specific local audience, is much cheaper than dubbing because companies don't have to pay actors and voice director. Translating movie subtitles is more affordable because movie scripts usually don't contain a lot of text while the average translation-per-word ratio is not high.
  • Practical experience. With the movie without excessive volume, viewers will be able to experience the movie as it was originally intended. So all pop culture references, jokes, and other elements that would normally be altered by localization will not be altered. Nowadays, a lot of viewers prefer subtitles, especially for a first-time experience. In some countries there has been a positive response to such trends by screening films with both dub and subtitles with an original soundtrack.
  • The original message, intent, and tone are retained. The localization process can sometimes alter large portions of certain elements of the film that can also affect the perception and understanding of the plot. In this regard, subtitles help preserve not only the aesthetic but also the linguistic goals of film translations.


  • Slows down viewers: Subtitles appear on screen at the same time as the movie speeds, so they sometimes cause viewers to spend extra time and effort on reading. Audiences can not only miss something happening on screen, but also read the movie instead of watching it until the end.
  • Visual collision: Sometimes, subtitles can match the frame in a video through color, tone, or even shape. This is a fairly common problem in movie subtitles, frustrating not only the viewers but also the subtitles of the movie authors and producers.
  • Limited space: The subtitles for the movie are not only well translated, but also formatted correctly. The standards for subtitles are very strict and difficult to follow.
  • Furthermore, subtitles only appear on the screen for 6 seconds, only 2 sublines are allowed, and each line contains only 64 characters including spaces. In addition, different standards for the size of the video, can expand or narrow the space for subtitles. Therefore, subtitle translators must translate movies with a perfect quality, to both fit the text for the convenience of the viewer and to convey the intended message.

So while subtitles are cost effective, they have their own limitations. These limitations often cause film release delays or difficulty in viewing movies by audiences. With mass distribution and security of movies, it always makes sense to eliminate such risks. Whenever a company spends a lot of money on a new movie, they plan for a certain amount of profit when the movie is released. That's why most major movies are still dubbed and released in a dubbed version for a particular country.

Note: 7 Worst Movie Subtitle Translations Ever

Movie Dubbing Process – Video Clip

Although not cost-effective, this method of film translation is still the most used, especially when blockbusters are shown around the world. Essentially, dubbing involves the sound of a movie, rather than visuals, like subtitles. Considered a safer and less risky method of translation, dubbing is often used not only for popular films, but also for films that will be released in major countries, such as the United States. Spain, Germany and France have high population numbers. For some countries, dubs may also be localized to match the film in the local dialect. The movie translation for Spanish, for example, could be named in three different variations, according to the country of Spain, Mexico and Chile. However, like subtitles, dubbing a movie can also have its own advantages and disadvantages.

Movie Dubbing Process - Video Clip
Movie Dubbing Process – Video Clip


Increase appeal to local audiences. With the movie dubbed, viewers can feel it much more easily. Audiences naturally feel more comfortable when the actors they're watching speak a language they understand, and the film feels more natural and relatable overall. This means they will get more satisfaction out of such a movie. Such translations for movies are considered the safest option available and many major distributors love it.

Expand with visual elements. Besides being the least risky process for movie translation, dubbing is mainly adapted to the visual context of the movie, thanks to the characteristics of the video format. Some contextual elements, such as basic jokes and pop culture references sometimes cannot be translated or even prompted first. So this needs the support of voiceover. For example, a joke in a movie might involve the voice of the live voice actor. While the subtitles can only translate the text of the phrase, the dubbing will cover the actor's entire joke that gives the same emotion in the translated version.

Huge space for localization. Similar to the first advantage of dubbing, localization also increases the appeal of the film. Pop culture references, specific slang, comedies using proper nouns or word forms can be easily handled using dubbing, however, it can be challenging when the film only use subtitles. The best translation for movies is the translation related to localization.


Voiceover. When the movie is dubbed, the voice actor's voice in the original and the voice actor must match the video. Otherwise, viewers may be visually confused as the actors may not move their mouths and still speak. Lip-smacking is a rather delicate process and involves not only the dubbing but also during the script translation stage and throughout the whole process.

Selecting and recruiting voice actors. Besides the cost, voice actors are sometimes hard to find. In some countries, popular local actors who voiced become attached to their respective original actors. Then the drama gets more challenging when it comes to the participation of two actors who are voiced by the same voice actor. Once there, the distributors are stuck in a dilemma, either confusing the audience with two characters in the movie speaking the same voice or confusing the audience by hiring a different voice actor for the movie. original actors that audiences are already familiar with. Translating a movie under such conditions has become a real challenge.

Nothing is perfect and dubbing is no exception. While dubbing certainly has certain advantages over subtitles, there are also some disadvantages of its own. This is also evident in the translation of the film, and dubbing involves more steps and complexity.

Note: 6 Difficulties When Translating Video Clip Subtitles into Vietnamese

Complete Film Translation Process

Both methods of film translation are equally complex and thorough. So, below is the process of translating movies using these two methods so that the distribution company can learn.

Complete Film Translation Process
Complete Film Translation Process

Movie Subtitle Translation Process

  1. The team of translators gathers and studies all the requirements for film translation.
  2. Copy within the time frame of the source video using the original language.
  3. Translate copy.
  4. The timeframe is adjusted to match the translated text.
  5. The final script translation is checked and all corrections made.
  6. The subtitle translation is embedded in the movie by a video engineer.

Voiceover Process

  1. Original copy of the film translated and localized.
  2. The speaking time of the dialogue has been adjusted to match the original.
  3. The script was further adjusted to match the tone of the original actors.
  4. The voice actors are selected.
  5. The dub was recorded in collaboration between the directors and the voice actors.
  6. The final translation is tested.
  7. The final dub is mixed into the overall soundtrack of the video.

So while both processes are not easy for film translators, the dubbing seems to be more demanding. While creating subtitles is basically similar to normal text translation, dubbing is more thorough and requires more work force and effort. However, it is necessary to ensure that the final product will satisfy the viewer.

Translate movie has grown so quickly, it seems that every movie has always been dubbed. However, what the film industry experiences today is just the beginning. The Internet is constantly evolving, and so will online movie translation services. Some professional translation services have done accurate and quality movie translations, so feel free to contact them. Film translation can be as difficult as film production. However, the process is often fun even though you have to repeat a certain scene from the movie over and over again. Watching movies by yourself is fun, so working with them doesn't have to be a boring job either.

Rely on the help of leading experts in the field translate video clip subtitles TU Idichthuat then your movies are translated correctly in both subtitles and dubbing. We assure you that your film will be highly appreciated by domestic and foreign audiences when reading subtitles or even listening to dubbed films. Contact us to complete the fastest project – the most cost-effective.

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