WHAT IS SUBTITLING?

Subtitles are an indispensable and effective tool for the comprehension of an audiovisual message. Firstly, a general distinction can be made between intralinguistic and interlinguistic subtitles, according to the correspondence (i.e: Italian>Italian) or non-correspondence (i.e: Italian>English) of the source language with the language used in the subtitles.

Subtitling is not simply about transferring spoken dialogue into a written caption. It is a complex process of adaptation of the film dialogues to a written code within a whole set of parameters including space limits, rhythm of speech, register and many more. Appropriate changes in sentence and language structure and effective cuts are exactly what makes the difference between good and bad subtitling.

Such accuracy is even more important when subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing or in the case of audiovisual material for children.

Scripta manent – or the written word remains – should be the motto of the accomplished subtitler. Indeed, a written text has a much greater impact compared to the spoken word (take swear words, for example). The subtitler therefore has the task of mediating all of these elements without losing the author’s original intended message. 

INTERTITULA stands for the excellent quality of its subtitling, a result of appropriate language choices and morphosyntactic structure, coupled with close scrutiny of punctuation and a decisive grammar tool sadly considered by many as purely incidental.