Professional SDH

Subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) or Closed Captions

Based on to Priberam dictionary’s definition, SDH is “the translation of audiovisual material, supplemented by the identification of the author of the lines, the inherent emotions and the description of the sound or musical effects”.

Quoting the Media Accessibility Platform, “Although subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing is now an established type of audiovisual translation, it is still not fully understood.”

Some of the misconceptions have led to unnecessary misunderstandings that could impede progress. So a better understanding of the social and technical constraints of this type of subtitling could prove important at a time when technology offers us new opportunities.”

It is important that SDH and its specificities are publicised and understood by the general public, as it is an extremely important and necessary form of communication in a growingly inclusive world.

SDH is the quintessential vehicle for the audio component of audiovisual material for deaf or deafened audiences; only by using special subtitles will people with reduced hearing be able to fully understand not only what is being said, but also the emotional nuances in the discourse between the characters. Only then can they fully enjoy the experience.

What is the difference between subtitling and closed captions?

It is only natural to confuse subtitling and SDH.

Ordinary subtitles are aimed at audiences who don’t speak the language of the audiovisual material, while SDH creates subtitles in the same language as the film, for those who can’t hear the dialogues well.

SDH subtitles don’t just transcribe the dialogue, but also indicate subtext, noises, emotions, humour, sarcasm, sound effects and music, as well as the names of characters when necessary.

This is the main difference: subtitles assume that viewers can hear the dialogue and therefore do not incorporate sound effects or other information. SDH, on the other hand, includes all audible information, even emotions. 

As the means of communication par excellence, language in its broad sense is so much more than just a sum of words. Conversations carry a series of subtexts, intonations and intentions.

When we dialogue with someone, in words made up only of letters, we almost subconsciously convey an array of other information.

Anyone who has a full sense of hearing can’t imagine the reality of the huge fringe of the world’s population that is deprived of hearing and therefore of “listening”.

For this reason, SDH is not a job that can be done by someone without training or even specific personality characteristic.

The translator needs great sensitivity and empathy, as well as a deep understanding of everything that someone who is totally or partially deaf can lose in verbal communication.

Nor can this work be carried out by translators who don’t have a great deal of experience with conventional subtitling, since all the codes – informative, pictorial and even chromatic – take longer for the brain to process, so subtitles need to summarise dialogues even more than open captions and stay on the screen for longer.

Count on an excellent SDH service

At CristBet, we have been working daily on closed captions for television and various other customers for almost two decades.

The translators we assign to the SDH service are chosen very carefully for their skills and experience as well as for their personality.

In a modern world where appearances can seem more credible than reality, we feel it is part of our mission to publicise the extreme skill and delicacy of this work and what sets us apart from the competition, to our customers’ full satisfaction.

If you’re looking for high-quality SDH services for your audiovisual projects, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are committed to making your content accessible to all audiences, including those with specific needs, ensuring that your message is conveyed effectively. 

Your special SDH project will be handled with care and expertise at CristBet. 

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