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Translation and Adaptation
Translation and Adaptation

Find out what the differences are between translation and adaptation when it comes to foreign language subtitling.

Boris Simonse avatar
Written by Boris Simonse
Updated this week

Happy Scribe distinguishes between translation and adaptation as two ways of interpreting your audiovisual content in a foreign language. Below, we'll explain some of the differences between these two service levels, so you can make an informed decision for your captioning needs.

Translation

At Happy Scribe, translation is the process of converting original language subtitles to target language subtitles, in a way that is faithful to the source and its communication style. Translations will never be word-for-word interpretations, but will convert the original message in the closest way possible while still sounding natural, as well as syntactically and grammatically correct.

πŸ’‘ What to know

  • Translation is the most faithful foreign interpretation you can receive for your source audio, while still making sense in the target language.

  • It is not geared to a specific cultural or linguistic context but retains the same elements as those of the source audio (e.g. currencies, measurements).

  • Translation is available to any customer in a wide variety of languages on our platform.

  • It is readily available for both our automatic and human service, depending on your needs. We recommend human review when finalising subtitles to ensure that they are always fully audience-ready.

  • It best suits subtitles less creative or complex in nature and caters to technical fields such as law, science, market research, finance and medicine. It is also suited to videos more factual in content, such as e-learning course material.

Adaptation

While translation is meant to be accurate and making sense without being geared to a specific cultural or linguistic context, adaptation is a more comprehensive process that involves extensive editing or rewriting of original subtitles to effectively communicate the video’s message to the target audience with the same intended effect. The goal of adaptation is not to provide an exact transliteration of the source, but rather to create subtitles that read as though they were originally written in the target language, in a way that the target audience can relate and connect with the content.

In practice, this means words, spelling and entire phrases have to be adapted to match local writing conventions as well as local vocabulary and culturally resonating phrases.

πŸ’‘ What to know

  • Adaptation at Happy Scribe is meant to be an engaging and relatable interpretation of your source audio, while still being faithful to the audio's meaning.

  • Our adaptation service can contain elements of both localisation and adaptation, depending on your needs. Think of:

    • Adapting idioms, humour, slang, as well as cultural, geographical and historical references.

    • Localising measurements, number notations, dialects, tone of voice, and spelling.

  • It is only available for our human service. Please contact support@happyscribe.com to make your request for adaptation and we're happy to take a look.

  • It best suits more creative projects such as marketing, brand concepts, short films and involves more specialised subtitles. A two-step human workflow is recommended as part of this service.

Which service do I need?

Find an overview below of the different use-cases for foreign subtitles and the best service level for you. Please be aware that this table offers you a general idea, but that your specific project may necessitate different requirements.

Use-Cases for Subtitles

Translation

Adaptation

Technical or Educational Content

βœ”

Entertainment Content (Movies, TV Shows)

βœ”

Marketing and Advertising Material

βœ”

Corporate Training Videos

βœ”

Documentaries

βœ”

βœ”

News and Informational Programming

βœ”

Live Events (Conferences, Seminars)

βœ”

βœ”

Video Games and Interactive Content

βœ”

Social Media Videos

βœ”

Legal and Compliance Videos

βœ”

In short

  • Translation is typically more beneficial for content where the accurate conveyance of factual, technical, or specific information is paramount.

  • Adaptation excels with entertainment content, marketing materials, and any other context where cultural nuances, humor, idioms, and emotional undertones need to be preserved or localised for the target audience.

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