Prompting in Chinese
A client asked if we could prompt some video projects in Chinese. “I think so…” I said, knowing our high-end prompter software is multilingual. In this case, we applied a bit of ear for detail to get the result we wanted.
First, we researched the Chinese font. It wasn’t standard on US versions of Windows XP. (This was in 2008.) Once we found and installed the correct font, our software indeed produced Chinese characters from the script.
But how to pace the scrolling words for the on-camera talent when our prompter tech Dave couldn’t read them? Fortunately, a few English words in the script enabled him to scroll in sync with the speaker’s pace.
Then our client gave him a script with several sentences of Chinese characters, and no English by which to navigate. As they began recording, Dave noticed that by attending to the rhythm of the language, he could pace the prompter according to the pauses at commas and periods. (Who knew there were commas and periods in Chinese?)
Did Dave stay on-track? He asked the presenter if the prompter was keeping up and she said, “The prompter is perfect. It’s as though you could read Chinese!”