Translating subtitles can be frustrating. Switching between the video player and the editor, pausing and rewinding to get the right sentence, constantly losing context — all of this can feel like an uphill battle. In this article, we’ll consider several conventional subtitle translation tools, as well as Smartcat’s newest feature that allows translating subtitles right alongside the video.
There are several apps to translate subtitles available in the market, but:
- Most are built on top of Google Translate and are only sufficient for audiences with very low quality expectations. Always be wary about using unedited machine translation.
- While some of them allow editing after machine translation, the editing functionality is limited and does not allow storing your translations for further reuse or saving frequently used terms to glossaries.
- None of them allow splitting work between many people or assigning it to others.
- Very few of them offer a live, synced preview during translation.
Anyway, we are providing a short list here for you to be able to make your own informed decision:
Online Subtitle Translator & Editor by Syed Akbar
This web app allows you to upload a subtitle file in .srt, .sub, .ass or .vtt formats, have them translated using several machine translation engines, and edit them afterwards. The UI is easy to understand and nifty for occasional use, with all the reservations mentioned above though. Here’s a screenshot:
Also a web app, this piece of subtitling software only supports Google Translate as the MT engine but supports slightly more file formats, namely .srt, .vtt, stl, .sbv, .sub, and .ass. The UX seems (unnecessarily) bulkier than the previous option, but that’s subjective of course:
This one seems to combine the simplicity of the former option with the higher number of supported formats of the latter. But, just like the latter, it also only supports Google Translate as the engine, which is currently not the most powerful MT engine out there.
Subtitle Translation Wizard
The only non-Cloud option among the listed, Subtitle Translation Wizard seems to have more options than the previous alternatives and the only one to support subtitles preview. On the downside, it requires installation, and the UI might be a tad too complex:
Smartcat’s subtitle preview feature
So, what does Smartcat have to offer that the previous mentions don’t?
- A full-stack translation platform, which means translation memories, glossaries, language quality assurance, and more.
- A multitude of machine translation engines to choose from. You can even use your own custom ones.
- Synced preview during actual translation: You can see the exact frame where the text appears.
- Ability to assign other people — or companies, for that matter, — for translation, which is very handy if you have a constant flow of videos produced.
- A sleek, easy-to-use web UI that even first-time users will easily understand.
This makes Smartcat a perfect choice for those who want to move beyond hobbyist video translation, namely:
- Companies that do a lot of video marketing and want to reach new markets.
- TV and movie localization studios.
- Video creators who are looking for new global audiences.
- Translation agencies that have clients who need to translate subtitles for their videos.
How subtitle translation works in Smartcat
To start translating subtitles in Smartcat, you just have to upload the subtitle file an open it in the computer-aided translation editor. Subtitles preview are embedded natively in Smartcat’s editor. Just click on the 👁️ icon, and a built-in video player pops up. Here’s a quick video:
Subtitles preview is currently a beta feature, but you can enable it by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can get your free Smartcat account here.