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Subtitles and the power of PARASITE

Bong Joon-ho, the South Korean director of "Parasite," subtly criticized prejudiced audiences in his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, saying in Korean (translated by director Sharon Choi) as, "Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." 

Bong Joon-ho, one of the world's leading filmmakers understands that transcreation and subtitling are necessary in reaching the hearts and minds of the global market.  

As the creative force behind "Parasite", Bong Joon-ho insisted on subtitles. As he explains in this interview, he refused to have his movies dubbed. He felt that giving an actor an American English voice would diminish the message and nuances of the Korean language.  

The process of subtitling is governed by many rules and is an artful balance between communicating the proper meaning of spoken audio and the logistics of word count. Typically, subtitles are limited to a maximum of 42 characters on screen for a duration around 6 seconds or 420 characters a minute (this is only characters not words!). In most American films there are approximately 125 words of dialogue a minute. This means that more words are spoken than can be written in subtitles. Furthermore, there is often no direct translation for words in some languages. 

These constraints make effective word portrayal for the translator more challenging than you may have originally imagined. Translators need specific creative skills and extensive linguistic knowledge to convey subtle nuances depending on the language and culture.

Rennert linguists are experienced professionals in transcreation and subtitling, who can help you reach your target audience. Contact us for a free quote and tell us more about your project.

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