I am trying to translate a Chinese video with HARDCODED Chinese subtitles to English. I myself cannot read/understand the language myself.
I only have one thing to work with, the Chinese hardcoded subtitles to make a translation with.
I think translating audio the audio would be difficult for a program to do since there's also background audio.
So my question is; are there programs out there that can translate based on pixels? (With pixels, I mean the subtitles.) PREFERABLY not outdated programs.
This is what I tried:
- Searched for a fan translated .srt file
- Asked the uploader directly for the Chinese .srt file so I could translate it from there by copy-pasting it into Google Translate (he said no btw because he only does hardcoded subtitles :/)
- Used SubRip (a program) to detect pixels on the screen and extract the timing. (I left this option open, I mean it's a real hassle and it's VERY outdated.)
- Using Yandex image translate, I mean it works but it's going to take me ages to translate & get the timing of the subtitles.
- Searched the video online that I wanted to translate from other uploaders, the problem is that NO ONE has translated this video and it's impossible to find by regular searching).
Thanks either way.
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You've listed/tried all the free options.
BTW, Subrip isn't outdated, you have to "train" it to recognize the characters. It's especially difficult with Chinese, where a missing or added stroke can change the meaning of the word completely.
If it's a popular movie or genre (e.g. anime), look for special interest groups that may have or be willing to do the translation for you.
Paid options include:
Search around for a copy of the movie from another country or distributor. Other than them most obscure movies, most Chinese movies are released in other non-English speaking countries. In particular look for Malaysian versions of the movie as they often include English subtitles. Beware of Singapore releases (check the run time) because they're often cut because of Singapore's strict censorship laws.
Forget auto-translation. At best, you'll get a barely readable translation, it's especially bad with proper names which it usually breaks down to it's literal translation.
Which leads to the best way to get the translation done. Paying someone to do the translation for you. Ideally skip the subs and have them translate directly from the dialog since the subs may not be accurate unless the dialog is Mandarin*. Check out fiveer.com for sample pricing, which runs about $5 for three minutes of video or 250-300 characters. Note that since the pairing of characters may change the meaning of phrase, if someone says they'll translate 250 "words", it's really based on character count and you may only get 100 "words" out of 250 characters.
*Modern hanzi (written language) is based on Beijing dialect Mandarin. Meaning each spoken word can be directly written as a character. However, dialects like Cantonese (IMO, really a different language) contains words and phrases that can't be directly transcribed. If you're not familiar with the differences between the numerous Chinese dialects, match what's spoken with the subs. If it matches most of the time, it's likely Mandarin. If it's not, it's probably Cantonese or another dialect/language.
Last edited by lingyi; 30th Jul 2019 at 15:03.
Hi, thanks for your reply.
Yes, I also came across that when doing research.
I was thinking about paying someone or asking a translator group if they would be willing to take on this project. The problem with this is that I hate being dependant on people and was hoping that there would be some kind of solution out there in 2019. Sadly that's still not the case I suppose.
I was also thinking of uploading it to YouTube and using YouTube's smart video player to generate subtitles (CC) based on audio. It works but is also not very accurate as you explained in your post.
Search around for a copy of the movie from another country or distributor. <--- I already tried this and as I said, it's barely impossible to obtain this video. I had a REALLY hard time finding a copy. I even had to search in Chinese to find it.
I think the subtitles are in Mandarin. Actually, they're videos, not a video (plural). It's a donghua. But anyway, I will ask fansub groups if they're interested in subbing this (which I really hate doing) or I'll just learn Chinese and come back to this in a couple of years...
Had to look up donghua. It's Chinese anime, correct?
If so, fansubs are the way to go as it's likely to contain slang and made up words that no amount of learning formal (i.e. Beijing dialect) Mandarin will allow you to understand.
Nothing wrong with reaching out to the community. They may even be able to help you find related videos that you may not even be aware of.
Also, patience. It's taken me decades to find some Chinese movies that "have never been released on video". Figure out what the title may be in other languages, especially since they may no relation to the original title. Think Power Rangers in the U.S.
Abbyy Fine Reader Professional (not free) will OCR Chinese images (batch operation) into Chinese text. Once into Chinese text, google translate does a pretty good job of translating into English. I don't know if Abbyy can be batch used to OCR a video.
A few tips that may help you not get ignored by the person(s) or community you may ask to help with fansubs.
I may have confused you with my statement that you may be able to figure out if the dialog is in Mandarin. Mandarin is the spoken language. Hanzi is the written language. You can transcribe Beijing dialect Mandarin directly into Hanzi, but you don't say that the writing is in Mandarin. Say your subs are hanzi (traditional Chinese), Chinese characters or just Chinese. Also, be 100% sure the subs are not Japanese kanji or Korean hangul. To the untrained eye, both may look like hanzi (especially Kanji which uses some, but not all hanzi characters and modified others) but are not Chinese.
Don't offer anything, especially payment for the work. The person(s) or community may just look at translation as a challenge / chance to hone their skills. I don't know if anyone at videohelp, especially the regulars has ever accepted payment for their help and work.
Ask for a translation of the dialog versus translation of the subs. There are subtleties and in the case of anime, slang that aren't reflected in the subs. 9 out of 10 times, the best subs are those that follow translate based on the context rather than the actual spoken dialogue. A classic example is the first English subs for John Woo's The Killer, which translated the nicknames of the main characters, Mickey Mouse and Dumbo which are a far cry from insulting names they were calling each other, Har tau (shrimp head) and Sai B (little brother in a derogatory tone). It was changed to Numbnuts and Butthead in later releases, but there's no substitute for the real dialog.
Edit: If the subs are done free or for a very low price, don't ask for revisions. Assuming the subber takes pride in his/her work, they don't want their work to be questions. If it's a community, others will likely make corrections and revisions. Be patient.
Ah, I understand now. It's definitely not Japanese nor Korean. It looks like Kanji/Hanzi (Chinese symbols). More like Hanzi, traditional Chinese.
Don't offer anything, especially payment for the work. Okay, I will not but might donate some at least for appreciation or I'll feel bad even though they just do it for themselves.
Ask for a translation of the dialog versus translation of the subs. Yes, I will mention that.
Thanks for your advice, that's really informative. I've never done such a thing, ever. I was actually prepared to pay since they're doing work. But I get what you're saying.
Thanks a lot for your help!
The image below is what the subtitles basically look like btw.
Your image is definitely hanzi.
As for payment, it's definitely a nice gesture, but unless they solicit it directly, I wouldn't worry about it. If you feel the compelled to make a payment, offer to buy a movie or video that the person/group may be interested in. This has the added benefit of making another fansub available to the community.
I'm a big fan of Asian cinema and there's a lot of pride in many fansub groups. Some rushing to get their subs out first. But, as with other things, fastest isn't always the best and those that rush and do a poor job, quickly disappear.
Another tip. Unless you have your subs done professionally, expect to have them shared for free.
Also, as I stated, there's a lot of pride in fansub communities and the worst thing someone can do is charge for their subs. The second worst (possibly the first) thing is to claim someone else's subs are yours. Some groups purposely mistranslate a line or two as a check if someone stole their work.
I will keep all of this in mind. Thanks for all your help! I really appreciate all your replies.