As the world gets smaller, people find ways to use materials from other countries. However, this requires some sort of translation in order to work well. Audio translation has a number of inherent problems that need to be dealt with on every track.
Unlike a normal translation, the audio version has a number of limitations based on the format of the original material. The biggest limitation is that the translated track must match the original in length. This can be a problem as some languages simply use more words to describe the same concept; for example, French uses about 25% more words to describe the same thing as an English version. This can make for some interesting issues when converting from one language to another and the length must be the same.
Complicating the issue is when the audio must be synchronized with a video track. An obvious issue is when the audio must match what is seen on the screen, but that is usually the simplest issue. A more interesting issue is when there are cues in the video that must match the audio, such as when the number "3" shows up on an instruction video. The same number must appear in the same place in audio translation as well, meaning that the translator must have the same length before and after the number.
If there are 10 seconds of audio before the number and 5 seconds after it, the translation must match that timing; this can make for some interesting timing issues when the two languages have different structures, such as the loose structure of English versus the rather strict one of French.
Another way to deal with the timing issue is to adjust the speed of the track, making some languages sound sped up a little, and other languages sound a little slower. Although there are more precise ways to do it, sometimes it is necessary to resort to some basic tricks in order to get the job done. However, there is rarely a translation issue too tough for technicians to deal with with some trick from their bag. Usually it is just a matter of looking for a slightly different translation, but given the potential issues that a wrong translation can cause, sometimes it is just better to go with a technical trick.
There are other applications for an audio translation, as some translation jobs require that a transcript be made for the client. As a transcript is made as part of the translation process, this is usually not a problem. This just allows for a number of different ways for one group to communicate with another group in a different country, making for a smaller, more intimate world.
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