Foreign Language Subtitles in Macromedia Flash Movies (FLV)

Adding Subtitles to Flash

Adelphi Translations have done a lot of foreign language subtitling over the years but recently have had more and more requests to add subtitles to Flash movies. Macromedia Flash has become the default movie format on the web over the last few years and is the default format for most on-line film upload sites such as YouTube.

Until recently, however, it has been difficult to add captions or subtitles to Flash which would show in any browser and any Flash player, of which there are many. Even now the only guaranteed solution is to use ‘open captions’, which are ‘burned on’ to the movie itself.

The creation of an XML based caption format, Timed Text XML, has helped to standardise the process. Now the captions can be created in an external file which is linked to the Flash movie and which will play back in many of the popular Flash movie players such as the JWPlayer.

The Timed Text subtitle format looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<tt xml:lang="en" xmlns=""
 <style id="1" tts:textAlign="right"/>
 <style id="2" tts:color="transparent"/>
 <style id="3" style="2" tts:backgroundColor="white"/>
 <style id="4" style="2 3" tts:fontSize="20"/>
 <div xml:lang="en">
 <p begin="00:00:00.25" dur="00:00:03.25">Dreamweaver users now have access
 to Flash Video. Didn't have it before.</p>
 <p begin="00:00:04.20" dur="00:00:03.07">And if you were to talk to a
Dreamweaver user about three or four years ago</p>
 <p begin="00:00:08.03" dur="00:00:01.04">and ask, "You want to put video
on a web page?"</p>
 <p begin="00:00:09.11" dur="00:00:04.00">They would look at you and go
"Yeah.Dude.Yeah.Right.Uh Huh. Next."</p>
 <p begin="00:00:09.11" dur="00:00:04.00">Well never mind then</p>
 <p begin="00:00:09.11" dur="00:00:04.00">Blah</p>
 <p xmlns="" begin="00:00:12.11" dur="00:00:04.00">Di ba</p></div>

To create this kind of file could only be done manually, typing into Notepad, until some kind soul developed a Custom Format file for Subtitle workshop which allows the subtitle file to be exported as Timed Text XML. There is also an on-line tool, ‘Subtitle Horse’ which will export subtitles in the correct XML format. Then the Timed Text subtitles simply have to be linked to your Flash movie and uploaded to your web server.

We are big fans of XML standardised formats here at Adelphi but be aware that many translation services wouldn’t have clue how to handle them. So for all your foreign language subtitling needs give us a call.

Transcription and Translation Services Sheffield

transcription and translation services

Transcription Services

In translation projects sometimes the first step will be the transcription of recorded material into a written form. When clients have video or audio materials to be translated but have no script, we will transcribe them. Often the original will be in a foreign language and needs to be translated into English.

Adelphi Studio also offer legal transcription services. We have transcribed legal materials including PACE tapes (Police and Criminal Evidence) in many languages including Urdu, Hindi, Bengali etc. but most requests are still for English transcription.

Adelphi Transcription and Translation Services offer:

  1. Transcription in the same language as the source file.
  2. Transcription where the original source language is transcribed directly into the target language.
  3. Transcription where the source language is required along with a translation into the target language. The two languages are usually provided to the client in parallel text.
  4. Adelphi Translations has transcribed from audio CDs, video DVDs , Betamax tapes, cassette tapes, MP3, AVI, MPG and WAV formats.

The Problems of Transcription

Transcription can vary enormously in its difficulty. Our recent project involved poor quality recordings of telephone conversations in a mixture of Gujarati and English, making this project especially tricky. If a well-recorded narrator is speaking from a script ‘to camera’ this would be much easier. Even one-to-one interviews can be hard. When listening to a people speaking it is amazing how often sentences are garbled, stopped half-way, possibly continued later or not, speakers overlap each other and the whole conversation is littered with an amazing variety of ‘umms’, ‘errs’ and other vocal throw-aways. A speaker using a language in which they may be fluent but which is not their mother tongue, will also be more difficult to understand and transcribe.

The Basic Catagories of Transcription

There are two main categories of transcription:

Verbatim Transcription: a 100% accurate transcription of the submitted sound file or recording where nothing is omitted, and no alterations are allowed. This type of transcription service is often preferred for legal transcription (witness statements in court transcriptions) or conference transcriptions.

Intelligent Verbatim Transcription: The transcriptionist is allowed to do some editing to the recording. Abbreviations are replaced with full terms, irrelevant words may be eliminated and grammar may be corrected in order to make the transcription more intelligible and easier to read. This type of verbatim transcription will be better for for focus group transcriptions, academic transcriptions (lectures or speeches), corporate transcriptions or business transcriptions. Because of the editing work involved the cost of this type of transcription may be slightly higher.

Whatever your need, and whichever language the source files are recorded in, Adelphi can help you with your transcription needs.


Adelphi Translations is a full service translation agency producing translations, typesetting, multilingual and foreign language websites, voice overs, Flash files and subtitles in any language.

Adelphi Translations Limited is a company registered in England and Wales.
Company Number 06989736 · Registered Office Thorncliffe Park Estate, Chapeltown, Sheffield S35 2PH