Subtitling Case Study: Emotion Can Shine Through Subtitles

This week we continue to showcase some of our film work through case studies — this time, spotlighting the way subtitles can show emotion.

Capturing Emotion in Subtitles

You may be thinking: Subtitles? Those brief ticker-tape lines running across the screen? How could they capture the nuance of original dialect and inflection?

Keep reading for a look at how a little extra effort can pay off.

Take, for example, the Boys of Kichute, a Brazilian film about boys coming of age in the 1970s. Its team came to CMI for review of the subtitling that had been done.

Our experts looked at the existing subtitles and found the dialog was flat, lacking in emotion and idiomatic reflection throughout the film. What it needed was an injection of humor and sarcasm — no small challenge in any translation work, but especially so in the brevity and visual medium that is subtitling.

Extra Effort Pays Off  

The film was previewed at the University of Southern California, and the audience responded with laughter and tears. Brazilian members of the audience approached the director to compliment him on how well the subtitles reflected content and message, almost as if English were the original language.

Our client was also overcome with emotion as he saw his work come to life for foreign viewers.

“Thank you very much for the completion of the English subtitles,” he told CMI. “I'm looking forward to watching ‘Boys in Kichute’ with a new & complete understanding of the picture for a wider audience.”

Our goals exactly!

If this is your goal too, contact CMI today to discuss how we can help with your localization projects.