Essential tools for video translation Project Managers - José Henrique Lamensdorf - translation - tradução

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Essential tools for video translation Project Managers



If you are a Project Manager (aka PM) in a translation company that now and then (or even constantly) gets job requests involving video, you'll find here a few computer programs that are essential for your work.

WARNING: We must face the truth. If your firm is just a file-pusher, merely reselling the work of the cheapest translators available in the marketplace, don't waste your time reading this! These suggestions may add value to your work, however they won't cut down costs!

    • I have been working with video localization since 1987.
    • The software I'll be recommending here comprises the programs I have been using to date.
    • I have no business relationship whatsoever with their developers; I haven't received, nor intend to receive, any consideration from them for such referral. In fact, I'll be recommending mostly freeware, whenever available.
    • I cover the whole nine yards in video localization work, however I know many good translators who only do part of it.
    • I only translate between Portuguese (BR as target) and English (US as target), however I also do video work involving Italian, French, and Spanish - languages that I speak, but do not translate professionally (translation is done by carefully selected partners, and then I do everything else).

Let's consider a translation agency. It's unlikely that it will ever handle dubbing or subtitling work for movies/TV, as there is an entire separate industry doing it. However that company normally using their services to translate reports, catalogs, manuals agreements, web sites, and a host of other things will eventually ask them to "translate" (meaning dub or subtitle) a video.

This is what is known as corporate video, usually institutional, training, product launch and others - my specialty, though I occasionally work on feature films and TV series too.

As I said, I cover the entire job. So it's normal to have a translation agency PM sending me just the URL on YouTube or Vimeo, and tell which of the five languages I service will be involved. I usually offer them some analyses, like the choice between dubbing and subtitling, opportunities to save in subtitling, and others. I use most of the tools I'll be recommending here to quickly provide them with a cost estimate of the possible options.

However what if... the language pair involved is not among the five I serve, and the translator you have only does part of the job? These analyses, as well as some necessary procedures, will be up to the PM, like most projects that don't involve video.

So here are some computer programs I think that would be useful for a PM to have on his/her computer, in order to manage video translation/localization projects.

The orange button will open the download page for the corresponding programs. All of them are in English, yet some allow changing the user interface language during or after installation.


FreePlayerA very versatile video and DVD player; it enables you to watch video files, being compatible with countless formats, and capable of rendering subtitles in real time, when these are available in a separate file.

FreeList technical features for several video files at onceJust drag & drop as many videos as you want to its window, and you'll get a table with the essential info you need for a cost estimate (e.g. file type, screen size, playing time in minutes and seconds, plus their sum, among others). It spares you from having to open each video, one at a time, write down its playing time, and add all together.

A necessary complement for PlayTime above
PlayTime is actually just a very practical Graphic User Interface (GUI) for all the data gathered by MediaInfo, so its installation is required to provide you with all the info on the videos.
Any Video Converter

Free or $Download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, etc., convert video formats and sizesIf the video to translate/localize is hosted in YouTube, Vimeo, etc., this program can download it to your computer by merely copying and pasting its URL. It also converts between different video file formats, frame sizes, etc.
Express Scribe

Free or $Transcribe/translate audio or video files efficientlyThis program is not specifically for you, but for you to recommend to your translators who aren't aware of the most efficient way to transcribe/translate audio or video files.

FreeAudio editorIf you have a video where the audio is too bad, you may use this program to Normalize the volume so it is possible to hear it. With some practice, you'll be able to remove noise, such as a hum or hiss.

FreeConvert DVD into IMG and vice-versaThis program is useful to convert a DVD crammed with files into one single IMG file, and then to convert this file into an exact replica of the original disk. It's good to transmit a DVD via FTP or cloud (DropBox, WeTransfer, etc.) without messing up the DVD structure.
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