• Transliteration - Subtitles in English script For Indian Languages

    Antariksha Joshi
    Antariksha Joshi
    Thu Jan 18 2024
    Banva can help you create subtitles, Superfast!

    Why Transliteration - What is transliteration and why is it useful?

    Recently, a customer approached us with a use case of generating subtitles for Hindi songs, but in English (Latin) script. And that got us thinking, do more people have this use case? And is this only relevant for Hindi or for other Indian languages as well? For that matter, what about speakers of languages like - Japanese, Chinese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Thai etc. Will they find this useful?

    This goes to the core of why people use subtitles - one obvious use case is to watch videos in a foreign language. Another is Same Language Subtitles (SLS). SLS are meant to enhance viewing experience for a language you already understand. This can be because - you have trouble understanding the accents (my cousin who watched Oppenheimer movie in US, said that she understood only 60-70% dialogues, because accents were heavy, and there were no subtitles.), watching video in a public space where you can’t turn on the audio, as an aid to people with hearing difficulties and so on.

    Transliteration is special use case, mainly for Same Language Subtitles (SLS), but can also be useful for translations. It is a process where the script of the spoken language (Hindi/Devanagiri) in a video is converted into a different written script (English/Latin). This allows people who understand Hindi, yet are more comfortable with the English script to enjoy Hindi content, in a script they’re more used to reading in. This is especially useful in urban areas where the population is often multilingual and educated in English.

    In India, where most of the spoken day-to-day conversation happens in Hindi and other regional languages, yet English is the default language of business and education, transliteration can act as a bridge. Especially because, we use QWERTY English keyboards to type, and don’t really know how to use Devanagari keyboards (Or keyboards in other scripts like Tamil, Telugu, Bengali etc.) We use transliteration everyday when we send Hindi whatsapp messages which are typed in English. And because of this, overtime, we’ve gotten used to typing our native languages in English.

    If your target audience is that segment of population that we just described here, then transliteration should be your go-to subtitling strategy when generating subtitles in Indian languages. It can help you boost engagement for your videos, especially if your target demographic is urban Indian audience. This can be further extended by generating subtitles in both native and english scripts, and then giving a choice to the user of choosing the script of their choice.

    How Transliteration - How to generate transliterated subtitles using Banva?

    Now that we’ve seen why of transliteration, let us turn to how. Basics of creating an account on Banva, uploading video & generating subtitles has already been covered in a separate video. You can watch it here to get started - 

    Once you’re familiar with the basics, it’s very straightforward to transliterate subtitles using Banva. After you select Audio & Subtitle languages, you just need to tick option “Generate subtitles in Latin (English) script“. You can watch this in action in the following demo 

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