Multilingual DVD Production

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This page is a step by step guide how we made a Sign Language DVD for the Scottish Prison Service.

The Project

The brief was to produce an interactive DVD containing induction material for a collection of prisons in Scotland. The Scottish Prison Service wanted the DVD to form part of the induction process that all prisoners go through on their first few days in jail. Being in an on-screen format makes the information more understandable (and therefore more valuable) than the printed alternative.

Because of the diversity in Scotland’s prison population, the DVD needed to be provided in the following languages, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Kurdish, Polish, Punjabi, Spanish, Urdu, British Sign Language and Braille.

Before the project began the induction material existed as a collection of Microsoft PowerPoint slides, these were to be used as the design template for the movie files.

A key aspect of the project was the budget, the final cost of providing the DVD had to be comparable to the cost of producing printed versions of the same information.

The Process

Preparation. Converting the PowerPoint files into PNG format (this a preferred format to jpg when working in the medium). The slides were then placed into Sony Vegas to form the basis of the English movie. Scripts were prepared and spell checked.

At this stage, a demo English version was prepared and sent to the client for comment. Only when everyone involved was satisfied with this version did we begin the translation and production of the other language versions.

Translation. The script and slides were translated into the 8 languages listed above. All of the translators employed on this project were professional mother-tongue translators with experience in this sector. After translation, the text was proofread, making sure the copy was 100% correct before being used in the video editing and recording process.

Record. Using our in-house recording studio we brought in professional voice-over artists to record each language. Pro Tools was used to record the voice directly into the software (this process saves editing time later on). With the voice-over artist present we edited the sound files, clipping each one to match each slide, this was listened to more than once by the artist and when they were happy with the quality the audio files were bounced out of Pro Tools and imported into Sony Sound Forge. Sound Forge is used to remove any background noise and makes it easier to import to the next stage of the process.

Filming British Sign Language. The British Sign Language (BSL) was filmed in front of our blue screen in the media studio. The blue screen was lit independently of the subject using a three-point lighting scheme, this is very important as a consistent colour and gradient is required for the blue screen to function properly.

After a round of tests (to determine position and lighting) and a quick warm-up, we began the filming. The Sign Language script was read out loud and the Signer began to sign in real-time. The video was captured using a Canon XL2 and recorded directly into the video editing package (this saves time later on in the project). In total, we took two takes of the whole recording.

The Sign Language Video was then opened up in Sony Vegas and we added a blue Croma key to remove the blue background. The video of the Sign Language Interpreter was then placed in front of the slides, synced with the English audio and rendered for use in the DVD authoring software.

Making the DVD. After all aspects of production were completed (i.e. translation, voice-overs and the BSL) we began putting the DVD together. Firstly we used Sony Vegas to build separate movies (one for each language). Markers were placed at the start of each slide, these were used later on to form the chapters that would control the interaction of the project. Some issues were found at this stage such as the Urdu and Polish recordings being very long, as a workaround, new movies were made for these languages. After each language variant was completed they were rendered and imported into Adobe Encore, this piece of software is used to make the interaction aspect of the DVD.

The BSL video was also brought into the project at this stage. As can be seen from the screenshot above all languages can be selected from the menu.

Distribution. After the project was completed, we burnt the project to DVD, designed the artwork for the DVD case and sent the DVDs to the relevant places.
The Result

This project was delivered within the timescales requested and to budget. As with all projects at K International we always ask for feedback after the project, this is included below.

“ The Scottish Prison Service in its drive to provide information to prisoners in different accessible formats has made available on DVD, its core national induction programme for prisoners. The DVD is available in a number of different languages and also includes versions for those with visual and hearing impairments. K International Translation Service have been instrumental in assisting the Scottish Prison Service to deliver this information in meeting the needs of prisoners. ”

Need Our Help?

K International are here to help you with any linguistic project, no matter the amount of languages or the format you need it returned in. Call the Government Team on 01908 572600 or we’ll be happy to help you with your project.