At Metro Audio and Video, we specialize in a variety of recording and editing processes as described below.

Translation Process

Here’s how the translation process works:

  • We meet with you to understand your requirements and organize your project objectives. Any glossary or reference material is given to us.
  • Next, we assign your project to the appropriate translator. He or she completes a draft of the translation.
  • A second translator then proofreads the draft and provides necessary edits. The draft goes back to the first translator to ensure it is consistent.
  • A typesetter, if need be, lays out your translations.
  • You receive the draft and review it to your specifications. IF you have feedback, you give it back to us and we work to get it right.

Recording Process

Dialog Editing involves selecting the proper tracks and portions from the recorded production sound and cleaning it or removing extraneous noise. This ensures that the production is sync with the picture, smoothing out edits and filling in ambience gaps. In addition, any lines that need to be replaced for technical reasons are noted during the process. Once any automated dialog replacement (ADR) session has been recorded, the dialog editor will check for sync on all new lines.

ADR or Automated Dialogue Replacement is also known as looping. When lines have to be added, production audio is too noisy or is poorly recorded, actors can record lines during an automated dialog replacement (ADR) session. The picture will be played back with a series of three beeps counting down to the required line. Then at the start of where the fourth beep would start, the actor replaces the problem line with fresh audio. This is recorded by the ADR recorder and ADR mixer.

Sound Effects Editing is used when editors add sounds to enhance the production. There are plenty of sounds to choose from, including ambience sounds (room tones, traffic noise, forests, etc.) and hard effects (gunshots, glass breaking, door opens and closes, etc.). The sound effects editors use a database of innovative, unique sounds to edit productions.

Sound Design is the term used for sounds that are not innate to the production, but are used to create or enhance the mood. These sounds can be very similar to music when it involves air, pads and some tones, but can be as distinct as sounds for aliens, monsters and futuristic sounds.

Foley is named after Jack Foley, who creates all human-associated sounds in the production. It includes three categories:

  • Footsteps: These are created by Foley walkers who create all the footsteps for all the characters in a film. They are recorded in pits in a studio. Each pit contains a different surface such as gravel, cement or marble.
  • Prop sounds: Are the sounds the people make with props such as gun movements (loading, unloading), glass pick ups and set downs, body grabs, punches, etc.
  • Movement sounds: From pant whooshes to shirt rubs and hand clasps, these sounds are created by human movement.

Music for a production includes three categories:

  • Score or Underscore: The original music written by the composer to fit with specific picture.
  • Source: Source music can be created by the composer or can be licensed from a library or band and is captured from a source in the picture, such as a television playing on the video.
  • Songs: Existing songs that play like score for a dramatic impact or during credit role to add to soundtrack material.

All music can be embedded by the music editor who works with the composer to edit and make sure everything is in sync with the final picture.

Mixing (or Dubbing): The re-recording mixer balances the levels of all the edited elements delivered to the final mix: dialog/ADR-Foley /sound effects and music. Mixing is done by one person or in two- to three-person teams. During the process effects such as reverb and delay are added to some elements and levels are smoothed out and balanced with faders. Equalization is used at this stage to help fix sound problems and make all the elements work as one to create a smooth and unified soundtrack.

Once the mix is done and approved, all the layers are combined to either a stereo (two tracks-left and right) or surround (five to 10 tracks: left/center/right/left surround/right surround) and laid off to a printmaster. This is the final optical or digital soundtrack the sync’s to the final picture for the film’s release print. In television the equivalent of a printmaster is the layback, where the soundtrack is married to the final edited master video for delivery and broadcast.

Subtitling Process

When it comes to subtitling there are 2 distinct ways to output files, and each way requires a different process. It is important to double check with your client to see what they expect back. Here is a description:

Superimposing subtitles onto video
This process is also known as “video subtitling”, “burning titles on to screen”, and even “character generator subtitling”. In general, this is the older way of adding subtitles to a video. This was the most popular way before DVD and its ability to “turn on or off” subtitle tracks was introduced to the market. If you choose to go this way, you will receive back a video with subtitles that CAN NOT be turned on or off. In essence, you will be forever stuck with the subtitles on the video that we send you back. Remember though, this process only has to do with the way the subtitles are placed, so you can still put your subtitled video onto DVD , Beta SP, HD, Blu Ray…whatever you want, you just will not be able to turn them on or off. Although we consider this the “old way”, it is by no means unpopular. This is the best way to go if you wish to simply play the DVD or video with the subtitles permanently on. For example, if you are sending the video to be viewed by an audience that does not speak English, it makes sense to keep it simple for them: they simply put the video in the player and it plays with the subtitles. They do not have to fiddle around with the DVD player to figure out how to to “turn on” the subtitles.

DVD subtitling
This process is relatively new over the past 5-10 years and there are still very few companies who offer this service. This process is the way most film fanatics have came to know subtitles on DVDs. DVD subtitling can only be used for output to DVD, and allows the user to turn on or turn off the subtitle track at their own will. This is a great option if you wish to have multiple subtitle tracks for one video/film. You will need to check with your client to see exactly what they need back as this option can get many people confused. You will need to find out if your client is doing the “authoring” (the process of creating the menu, and linking the video, subtitle tracks, and audio tracks together), of if they want us to do the authoring. If they want to do the authoring themselves, we need to know what authoring system they use. We will then output the DVD subtitle file according to their software.

At Metro, all subtitlers are native to the language they are subtitling. All languages are further reviewed by a language director upon completion.

There are a number of technical requirements that must be obeyed when subtitling. All we require is the English script and we will handle the rest. If you do not choose to have Metro handle the translation, here are some requirements:

Translate everything
Translate even on-screen text, such as names of institutions, road signs, billboards that stay on-screen and are significant to the plot. Also, names, titles, ranks or positions of speakers, etc.

Do not translate literally
The purpose of translated subtitles is to convey the plot and what is being said in the original content as faithfully and accurately as possible. Translations must not be faithful to the letter of the text, but to the sense of the content. This is not nearly as easy as it sounds, and translators must know they are translating for subtitles, as in subtitles you only have a limited number of characters per subtitles (usually 32-38 characters), hence the translator must have a good knowledge in the art of summarizing.

The translator should give the most concise and accurate translation and interpretation (adaptation) of the original text into the target language in the fewest number of words possible. The translator should know and decide what to render to the public in order to carry out and insure understanding of the plot and of the main points. In translation from English into a Latin language (such as Romanian) the translator should have on hand a short English text that translates into a many long words, so you’ll have to decide what to retain and what is in fact superfluous. It is ok for the translator to leave out some content as long as it will not prove particularly important or relevant to the plot later on.

Puns, play on words, proverbs – adapt, replace, recreate
It is always difficult to translate jokes that are hilarious in English, but mean nothing into the target language. The same goes with puns or proverbs. In this case, the translator should be creative, find something similar into the language that will render the original sense and contribute to understanding the message and the plot. If the target language has a similar saying as the original language, this is good. If not, the translator should adapt it or replace it completely.

Slang language
Slang can become dangerous when subtitling it. Depending who is watching it, the viewer may or may not be able to understand that is being said. When translating slang, the newly translated words should be able to be found in a dictionary.

There should be consistency throughout the entire translation, especially in such points as: numbers, measurements, names, nicknames (spelling, translation of names, etc), addresses, formal or informal level of address, acronyms, etc.

Every language has its own subtitling norms and rules. You will notice that by simply turning on the TV and reading some subtitles. The language rules (punctuation, especially) is not the classic one that you will find in every grammar book, but a specific one.

Using italics
Some consider italics are not necessary, but usually subtitles use italics for: off-camera speech, text being read, the TV, the radio, songs, book or movie titles, and foreign words.

Line division – Metro Audio and Video proprietary process

Line division is particularly important to how subtitles look on screen and most particularly the speed of reading and comprehension. Metro will handle all line divisions. The client is only expected to provide a translation as outlined above. Here is the guideline we follow when dividing lines. If the text fits on one line, we will keep it on one line, the viewer will be happy to see more of the screen. If the text does not fit on one line, then we should try to divide it as best as possible, keeping in mind the following basic principles:

  • Divide at punctuation marks (“,”, “.”, “:”, “…”)
  • BEFORE conjunctions (i.e. you should have the conjunction on the second line: and, or, because, etc.)
  • BEFORE prepositions (i.e. you should always move the preposition on the second line, ex: on, for, in, inside, on the outside of, etc.) Watch out for compound prepositions.
  • DO NOT SEPARATE a noun from its article (i.e. do not leave the article “a”, “an”, “the” on the first line and the noun on the second line).
  • DO NOT DIVIDE a name, whenever possible and whenever you have plenty of space the keep it together.
  • DO NOT DIVIDE compound or reflexive verbs (i.e. do not leave the auxiliary, reflexive, negative particle etc on the first line and main verb on the second line.)
  • DO NOT DIVIDE verbal phrases, idioms, expressions.
  • Do not split abbreviations.
  • Try not to divide the subject from the verb whenever the space allows it.
  • DO NOT LEAVE ONE WORD on a line even if it is followed by punctuation.

The basic principle to line division is to keep idea units and semantic units together; it will insure easier and faster reading and comprehension by the viewer.