Everything You Need To Know About Subtitling

A subtitle is a text version of the dialogue or narration that appears as an on-screen lower third in television, films, and video games. Subtitles allow the audience to follow the content of a presentation, such as a movie or television show, without sound and provide a transcription of the dialogue or, in some cases, non-speech elements (e.g., multimedia). The subtitle as a form evolved from the need to include the dialogue in films for foreign-language films and screenings with no “assistance” from a commentator.

How Are Subtitles Formatted?

Subtitles are usually separate from the displayed footage, which means that the viewer can turn them on or off at will. There are both internal subtitles where the subtitle is part of the displayed footage, such as in a film or news broadcast, and external subtitles in a separate stream or window. You can hire translation agency UK to add subtitles.

Subtitles in the form of closed captions were developed for the hearing impaired. Eventually, the closed captioning found more use in allowing television viewers to read additional information or dialogue that was not originally included in a television program. Closed captioning is the norm in many countries such as the United States and Australia, where other subtitles are used less frequently.

Subtitles are most used by non-native speakers of a spoken dialogue-based language or on TV programs that originally have no spoken dialogue.

Are Subtitles The Same As Closed Captioning?

Closed captioning and closed subtitling tend to refer to text-based content displayed on a television or any other visual device. In contrast, subtitles tend to refer to content that is presented as audio, such as in film and video games. Subtitling is not everyone’s cup of tea, and it is best to trust a credible translation agency UK for high accuracy.

How Are Subtitles Different From Dubbing?

Subtitles and dubbing do share similarities, but they differ in how they are created, edited, and produced. Dubbing, or “lip-syncing,” involves synchronising speech to pre-recorded moving lips on the screen. In the case of subtitling, a “voice-over” is performed by a dub actor or voice actor whose voice is recorded, and then the new voice track is edited to fit the pre-existing film footage. Subtitling requires less effort in post-production and is commonly used in television programs and films when the budget doesn’t allow for dubbing (or if the film’s original language has no spoken dialogue).

Subtitles include the dialogue and transcribe other sounds, for example, when a character makes noises like whistling or the clicking noise when a gun is cocked. In the case of films, it can sometimes be challenging to find enough time to subtitle background noises because they are usually very short, and, in the case of sports commentary, on-screen text is used to translate on-screen graphics like football symbols.


As you’ve just read, subtitles are used to provide an alternative language for viewers who don’t understand the language of dialogue. Now that you know more about subtitles, you’ll need to hire a reliable translation agency to add subtitles to your upcoming video.