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[Debconf-team] subtitling 101

Hi all,

This would be a slightly longish mail as well so please bear.

I discovered shared subtitles few years back, opensubtitles.org and
subscene were a big part of that. Learning mediainfo and some basics
opened a new world for me.

$mediainfo <videofilename>.mkv | grep Frame

mkv is one of my favorite containers as it gives quite detailed
information about a media file and is a well-known format. Anyways,
what I do and used to do is figure out the video fps and download an
.srt file from one of the above sites which is nearest to what I had.
Most of the releases had 23.976 and 25.000 fps while the odd ones
would have 29.976 fps.

Subtitles help me/us in variety of ways and I usually go for the
colored, hearing-impaired ones (even though I'm not hearing-impaired)
for the following reasons :-

a. As a non-native english speaker there are times when the speaker
speaks too fast or s/he has an accent which makes it difficult to
understand what s/he wants to say. Subtitles help me/us understand the
person's flow and makes it much more easier to process even if I have
to see it more than once.

b. At times you come across a word that you don't know and have to
look up. Having subtitle means you know the spelling of the word and
can look it up on wikitionary or some web resource to get more
information about that word.

c. As far as colored, hearing-impaired subs are concerned, I have
found that the subber takes a bit more effort as far as quality of
her/his is concerned, then one without. Also at times, colored subs.
also tell if something extraordinary event is happening or something.
While color-blind and blind people would not get much from CHI
releases, it does help.

Now that I have spelt some of the reasons why subtitles are good, one
of the biggest reasons that people do not make subtitles is lack of
knowledge how to get starting with one. Timestamps and number ordering
are the biggest issues for a potential subtitle-maker.

00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:01,488
... wanted to be able to use

00:00:01,488 --> 00:00:03,284
Thunderbird and GnuPG together with Tor,

The above are the first two lines from citizenfour Q&A session which
was held last year.


Sometime back, I saw this -


What that perl script told me is that it probably is possible to
generate an empty .srt file with timestamps and ordering if we know
the length of the video (total duration to the microsecond) and having
some sort of base frequency (like 5 seconds which is put there) as the
interval between two lines of subtitles.

The only issue which remains is of re-ordering in case somewhere the
subs. start going wrong for which I haven't got any complete

Having a subtitling workshop/training on one hand make it harder for
anybody from the subs. team in the short-term but does have potential
upside of having more subs. from everybody. There would be people like
me who might be interested in making a partial subtitle file for
something they are/were unable to attend due to parallel sessions
being held or they being part of a BoF or something where one of their
favorite topics is being talked about.

I have no idea if anybody from the subtitling team would be there. If
there are, they could also do some training sessions and hopefully
this debconf would have some more subtitles as well as a slightly
bigger team.

Look forward to hearing replies on the above.
          Shirish Agarwal  शिरीष अग्रवाल
  My quotes in this email licensed under CC 3.0
EB80 462B 08E1 A0DE A73A  2C2F 9F3D C7A4 E1C4 D2D8

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