By Ana Lis Salotti
SubtitleNEXT is an all-encompassing professional timed-text software with every advanced feature an expert subtitler could ever wish for—so much so that working with it for the first time may be daunting.
This is desktop software with cloud-like capabilities: it allows you to work not only with locally-stored media files, like video, audio and
presentations, but also with videos on public websites, privately-owned web domains and file transfer protocols, among others.
SubtitleNEXT offers so many features with so many customizable options that a novice subtitler may easily get flabbergasted when first
opening its complex user interface (UI).
It has highly advanced text editing features for captions and subtitles, including the insertion of creative subtitles with different colors, nonstandard positionings, and fades. It features a solid spellcheck and search and replace engine allowing things like capitalizing the beginning of a line, removing dashes or extra spaces and correcting punctuation.
It is operating system- and hardware-agnostic, which means that it can run in any operating system (Windows, Mac or Linux) and doesn’t
have special hardware requirements. CPU consumption depends mainly on the media file used. An HD movie will consume much more CPU than a proxy media file.
There was something I found frustrating, though. While all playback and editing subtitle commands have customizable shortcuts, more than one shortcut may be assigned to a single command, creating the potential for conflicts.
Reading speeds are noted with numbers and colors. Shot changes are marked on the audio waveform, and violations detected. You can set
rules for shot change violations and fix them all automatically. The automatic fix feature is pretty comprehensive, automatically correcting
overlapped or empty subtitles, timing issues regarding gaps between subtitles and duration, and character count or line limits, among other fixes. You can fix them automatically for each subtitle, for the whole file or within a particular interval. It also allows you to burn subtitles. It supports all languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, vertically-positioned and right-to-left languages.
This versatility and complexity may arguably be explained by the software’s origin and target market. SubtitleNEXT was born as the company’s software successor to one of the first specialized hardware-based workstations of the 90’s. It targets the whole spectrum of the multimedia industry, from independent subtitlers, to marketing agencies and language service providers to production and post-production companies, broadcasters and live subtitling and captioning service providers.
To cater to this wide market, SubtitleNEXT offers three product lines called “bundles:” Novice, Explorer and Expert. The biggest differences between them are their import/export and media distribution capabilities, making each tier attractive to different types of users. SubtitleNEXT Novice handles .srt and .sub formats, fulfilling almost every individual subtitler’s need.
In reality, I couldn’t find one feature that SubtitleNEXT lacks, except for simplicity. It doesn’t seem like a good option for a novice subtitler or an audiovisual translation student, who will probably be overwhelmed by the complex UI and the number of features and customization options—even the screen layout, appearance and design can be personalized.
The Explorer bundle extends their capabilities to all import/export formats available, including for DVD/Blu Ray distribution, closed-caption streams and some real-time output possibilities. The Expert tier has all of the above plus multiple delivery formats from a single source, including formats for the cinema, and more live subtitling options.
Therefore, both the Explorer and Expert tiers are more attractive to multimedia companies.
Life-time licenses start at 484.29 USD for Novice; Explorer goes for 1,036.15 USD—advertised as a sale price—with monthly subscriptions for 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Expert is 3,799.24 USD. The Novice bundle has a free demo available for download here, but it only allows saving and exporting 20 subtitles. A fully functional unrestricted 15-day free trial of Novice, Explorer or Expert can be requested here.
Profuz Digital also offers a software platform that helps companies manage their multimedia services, teams of translators and their whole
project workflow. NEXT-TT is a hybrid platform that incorporates SubtitleNEXT and functions mainly as a desktop application but manages data and access on the cloud. With this platform, a translator of a lesser-diffusion language can create, edit and quality-control a
movie using their usual desktop and online tools specific to their language, while working with a streamed movie file. NEXT-TT also provides control and security mechanisms for access rights management, live monitoring and exchange of information by restricting media
access without download or storage. To handle confidentiality issues, the company says that it’s the software owner who fully controls the
storage rules. For instance, the platform may only manage who has access to media files or may store some of them for a period of time or
until certain conditions are met, such as when the work is delivered. The owner may also choose to encrypt files for a higher level of protection. NEXT-TT’s price is available on quote.
Lastly, all SubtitleNEXT licenses include annual software maintenance and premium support for a calendar year after purchase, and they
automatically update to the latest version.
A new release is coming in the next quarter where there will be more options for creative subtitling and live subtitling with one or two stages of re-speaking.
All in all, SubtitleNEXT is everything that professional subtitle software should be. To my mind, however, it could have a simpler UI and fewer personalized options. After all, less is usually more. You know what they say about choices: when an indecisive user is faced with too many choices, they may freeze and not know what to do.
This piece is based on the author’s personal review of SubtitleNEXT software and the information provided by Mrs. Ivanka Vassileva, CEO at Profuz Digital. The author received no payment or other compensation for it, nor does she have any affiliation or relationship with the supplier of the product under review. This review does not represent the opinions of AVD or ATA.