Translating video course subtitles prepared using automatic transcription
Auteur du fil: Artem Vakhitov

Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonie
anglais vers russe
+ ...
Nov 30, 2020

(Not sure if this should be in the "Subtitling" section, due to the very nature of my issue.)

Recently I agreed to translate video course content on a certain well-known online course platform for an agency. In theory, the actual content to be translated should have been ready English subtitles, so the job was presented as translation and rated per word. However, while doing this assignment, I learned that the subtitles were prepared using automatic transcription. It was mentioned s
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(Not sure if this should be in the "Subtitling" section, due to the very nature of my issue.)

Recently I agreed to translate video course content on a certain well-known online course platform for an agency. In theory, the actual content to be translated should have been ready English subtitles, so the job was presented as translation and rated per word. However, while doing this assignment, I learned that the subtitles were prepared using automatic transcription. It was mentioned somewhere in the instructional pages on the course website so technically, I cannot say that the end client was trying to outright conceal that fact.

The quality of the transcription job done by the machine leaves much to be desired. It's not total garbage, mind you, but often makes no sense. I then have to listen to the audio many times and try to guess what the lecturer has just said. Sometimes I do succeed, but not always, partly because this particular lecturer has a significant accent and partly because I'm just not that good at transcribing. The fact that the content is highly technical adds to the machine's confusion. But even if not for those deficiencies, I'd classify the English transcription as "true verbatim", meaning it's full of needless repetitions and fillers, so it's not that good even as the original text. As a result, I have to be a bit of a transcriber and an editor here. Of course, all of that coupled with the need to observe size requirements makes me spend much more time translating this content than what my usual per-word rate is based on.

Of course, I've made a mistake here by paying less attention to the source material than I should have, and that's on me. But the thing is, a job like this is difficult to assess in advance anyway. Even given my new experience with this project, I'd be wary of extending it to another project on the same platform, with a different lecturer and different subject. What would be your approach to such a project? And do you think it's entirely fair to characterize this kind of job as "translation", with a per-word rate?
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Translating video course subtitles prepared using automatic transcription

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