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5 Steps for an Easier Audiovisual Translation Process

Angela Starkmann
Angela Starkmann

4 minute read


Angela Starkmann shares five important steps for an easy audiovisual translation process. From template creation to translation to revision and quality assurance, here is how you can leverage a CAT tool in your AV translation process.
There are numerous file formats that can be translated (and yes, memoQ can work with [all of] them!). They usually consist of the timecode and the words that need to be translated. The reading speed (characters or words) and your client’s style guide are your main constraints. Simple enough—there are many basic subtitling editors you can use for your work. memoQ users prefer its advanced features for terminology management, concordance, and translation quality assurance (QA) (wait for the next articles describing the particularly useful features for media translation).

Audiovisual text translation for some service providers is often done in rigid translation environments. Clients have a certain environment for project management and translators type the subtitles in their text editors. 
This makes file handling easier and less prone to error for the service provider, but less flexible for translators, who might prefer more robust functionality and want to take advantage of newer tools.

memoQ is a productivity tool that can fit into the translation process wherever you need it, independent of your overall translation process. 

Let’s have a quick look at how you can use memoQ for an audiovisual translation process:

Process for translating a document

In source language A to a document in target language B

Step 1. Template Creation

Available: A timecoded video and a script in the source language (A). 
A template is created for this video with this script. If language A is not English, the template can be translated into EN (or the template is created in EN from the beginning). 
Note: This part of the process is usually not done by the translator, but rather by a designated template editor. 

Tool: This can be done within any subtitle editor.
A review round during template creation is useful. The better the quality the template, the better quality the subtitle translation.
Note: The template creation step could be useful also for pre-editing the source text for better usability with translation memory (TM) or machine translation (MT).
New, automated template creation following clearly defined rules can contribute to a better translation.


  • Reading Speed (CPS/WPS)
  • Terminology
  • Formality 
  • Gender (he/she/it – varies by languages)

Use memoQ for pre-translation after template creation but before the template is uploaded into the system or sent to the human translator/post editor.

Step 2. Translation

Available: A timecoded video and a template in the source language (A or EN).
Translation is sent to translator. Translator translates template using either the client’s online editor or an editor they choose themselves. 
Note: This is the translation step. Translation into several languages can take place at the same time.
Translation files are most commonly in SRT format, but other subtitling file formats exist. 
For series: Episodes of a series don’t always go to the same translator. Consistency issues!
Note: It is not always necessary to enable the translator to edit the timecode. For many translations (e.g., Netflix Originals), it is not even possible for the translator to edit the timecode. Usually, minor changes of the timecode are sufficient.

memoQ can be used during template creation, either by the project manager of the service provider or later by the AV-translator for pre-translation. Re-import of the translation back into the translation memory is needed in order to get the best leverage.

Step 3/A Revision 

Available: A timecoded video with changes, a template of the changes in the source language (A or EN), and the translation memory with the existing template translation in the target language (B).
The changed template in the source language is pre-translated with the translation memory, automatically reusing previous translations. Existing translations in the TM, along with term bases, and other resources, help produce a quick and consistent translation of the changes.
Note: During revision rounds, the previously translated text is re-used, making this step faster and less error-prone than translating from scratch or entering manual updates. Human translators are still crucial but technology minimizes the amount of repetitive work needed. Pre-translation also works well for small and last-minute updates. 
After every revision, the TM should be updated in order to have the latest version always available.
Note: The translation memory should be updated as part of any change round. This happens automatically if memoQ server is used.

Step 3/B Translation Quality Assurance

Available: A time-coded video, a template in the source language (A or EN) and a template translation in the target language (B).
The translated template in the target language is reviewing (proofreading, translation quality assurance). Often, technical QA is also included.
Note: Linguistic QA/technical QA is traditionally a manual process. Translation technology can add value with a more thorough quality check while also making the process faster, more efficient, and more consistent.
memoQ should also be used for QA before the translation is reimported into the system.
Note: There can be frequent changes to the source text, causing re-translation of parts of the text. Using TM and updating it whenever a change is made ensures that the most current translated content will always be available.

Step 4. Delivery

The template translation is delivered to the client. 
You will see your name in the credits for a subtitled movie soon!
Note: These notes are primarily from the perspective of a translator. It is possible to use memoQ in much more complex work situations (larger teams, many languages, several file versions, etc.). 

Using an advanced translation environment such as memoQ offers many benefits to anyone involved in audiovisual translation. The biggest advantage is its great flexibility—memoQ can fit into any process. The #1 solution to automate and optimize the entire localization process and manage translation and localization projects in a time- and cost-efficient manner. The memoQ team is working hard to make it the most attractive tool for the AV translations. 
We are convinced that human translators in this fast-paced, exciting industry will profit from the powerful productivity and quality benefits memoQ offers. 

Contact memoQ for more information about how you can benefit from using memoQ when audiovisual translations are part of your business.

Angela Starkmann

Angela Starkmann

Linguist, editor, PM and communication specialist with broad experience in software and documentation localization, translation of marketing material.

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