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As we keep telling you, subtitles become essential on videos. But why? And what is the reason for their creation?

We explain everything to you the way your favorite history teacher does. 

The birth of subtitling... in the cinema, of course!

You all have in mind the silent films of Charlie Chaplin, where the written word was already very present on the screen. The "cards" were used to complete the characters' mimics. The texts were already intended to give the viewer a better understanding of the story. 

The arrival of talking pictures in the late 1920s revolutionized cinema. Until then, silent films were universal. Now, the cinema is confronted with a number of new challenges. cultural and linguistic barriers

The first solution was to play the scenario in several versions. This was ultimately a long and expensive job. For this reason, the studios finally decided to turn to subtitling. This solution, which requires special attention from the viewer, was finally adopted. Nowadays, it is becoming almost the norm. Many cinemas only show films in their original version to the detriment of dubbing. 

The development of subtitling on television

Unlike cinema, television is far from having adopted subtitles. Almost all programmes are broadcast in French, using dubbing. So what use are subtitles for on TV? The answer is simple: accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing people! 

In the United States, the first subtitled program for the deaf and hard of hearing appeared in 1972. In France, it was ten years later that the subtitle was introduced on France 2! Today, and since the Law of 1 August 2000The subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing is an obligation on radio channels. Let us recall that unfortunately, 16% of the French population has hearing problems

The advent of subtitles on social networks 

We've already explained that, video has become the star of social networking. The importance of video content gives a new lease of life to subtitles. The majority of videos are watched on a phone. This smartphone is most often consulted on the move, in the office, in the presence of friends or family... and the sound can disturb those around us. The solution is therefore to watch your video on mute, the magic working through subtitles

The subtitle has even become the star of some videos, such as those published by Raw or Konbini

"The first quality of a subtitler is to know how to speak and write French. When I started out, I only knew basic high school English, but as I was working with an Anglo-Saxon, when he explained all the finesse of his language to me, I would comment on all the subtlety of mine. ”

Olivier Peyon (Translator of more than 150 English-language films)

What about today?!

Nowadays, subtitling is a profession in its own right but also a passion! Indeed, we call "fansubbers", fans of programs that subtitle their favorite series for free. But this quality is not to be taken lightly. Netflix got a slap on the wrist after subtitles broadcast on its platform rather approximate


To become a subtitler, you can follow a professional Master's degree in film or audiovisual adaptation and translation. 


Test your subtitling skills
with Captured

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