by Ombeni Mtanga
There is always diversity in how we approach things–as there is in how we pursue the same thing. For me, I began engaging in audiovisual translation in a way that was never planned.
I am not a fan of movies or drama. As I am writing this, I have only managed to watch one series: Banshee. But I read five books per year.
However, one day I was watching a video of Dr. Myles Munroe. He was delivering a 2014 yearend speech at his ministry in The Bahamas. That day something clicked my mind and I started watching from another perspective. I started thinking of those who are not familiar with the language in the video.
And before this video, I had rejected two tasks from clients who wanted me to help them with Swahili subtitling. What a coincidence! The rejections were coupled with self-reflection: Can’t I learn subtitling and start offering this service? When will I stop rejecting subtitling projects?
I had an excuse– I couldn’t afford to pay for a subtitling course on Udemy or LinkedIn Learning. And I didn’t have the time either. Later on, I came to realize that it was more costly to reject the work than to pay the course fees.
So, the first thing that came to mind was to find YouTube tutorials on subtitling basics. Thanks to this platform, I found helpful tutorials that walked me through the steps to master subtitling. I devoted my time to learn, and of course, I really enjoyed the lessons.
I learned how to use different software for subtitling. I understood how they work. I liked Subtitle Edit, and I am still using it. I have completed multiple subtitling projects with it. It is a great software available for free.
After that, I tested myself by subtitling that 14-minute speech into Swahili. At first, it was not perfect, but I was super excited to see my subtitles on the screen. I had no idea what it feels like to work on something you learned on your own. I did it!
English is my second language. So, it was sometimes challenging to get exact utterances. I wondered how I could overcome this. Transcription software came to mind. I downloaded Descript to help transcribe words or phrases I didn’t hear well. Software like this helps a lot in audiovisual translation. It can help save time and improve the quality of the work.
Today, I consider myself a subtitling artist who can offer quality work, and I am happy to do it. It’s thanks to YouTube tutorials, the Dr. Munroe video and the clients who made me develop an interest in learning and providing audiovisual translation.
Should you need Swahili subtitles, please do not hesitate to reach out. I’d be happy to help. Asante. Thank you. Happy subtitling to all subtitlers.