Ready, Steady, Text - A Subtitling Race!

When international cycling teams came to Bergen to compete in September, BTI Bergen had to step up their game.

Posted on Oct 06, 2017 by Heidi Johannessen and Janne Sørgulen  | Tags: Subtitling, Events, press, press release

This year's UCI Road World Championships were held in Bergen, which proved hugely popular with the locals - as many as 250,000 people gathered along the course, stretching from the city center to neighboring islands. Hundreds of thousands of Norwegians watched the event on television, too, and that's there we come in.

Our client TV 2 was the event's main broadcaster in Norway, making us responsible for both foreign and same-language subtitling of all things cycling. In addition to our standard evening shifts, TV 2 wanted an extra pair of hands during the day. Eleven days prior to the first race, we were also commissioned to subtitle all live events. Most of the BTI Bergen subtitlers were already scheduled to work, so this posed quite a challenge. In addition, at least a third of our resources were away during the Championships, some to escape the crowds, and one to get married! After some tricky timetable tetris, we managed to cover all the upcoming shifts just a few days before the opening ceremony. One person was switched around no less than three times before the puzzle was complete. Kudos to the team for being so flexible!

BTI Studios does the live subtitling for UCI Road World Championships cycling race

photo credit: Ulrik Holsen

The longest live shift lasted nine hours and included four alternating subtitlers and forty fingers basically typing at the speed of sound. They watched (and typed) as Tom Dumoulin won the individual time trial up Mount Fløyen, 403 meters above sea level, where some fans had camped out for days to secure the best possible view. Fløyen saw a total of 15,000 people cheering the riders on, and one eager fellow was even tackled by the police and pushed into the crowd to prevent him from being hit by a motorcycle when he started running after one of the cyclists!

The untranslatable word "folkefest" was thrown around a lot during the event - it roughly translates as "a party for the people", and refers to a big, enthusiastic crowd creating an amazing atmosphere. The 250,000 spectators (which virtually equals Bergen's entire population) didn't go unnoticed in the world of cycling, and the riders seemed very pleased, too. It doesn't matter that your legs are burning when the sound of a huge, cheering crowd propels you along! There weren't many Norwegians competing, but we are very proud to say that one of them, Alexander Kristoff, came in second in the final event, the Men’s Elite Road Race.

The Championships were a huge success, and we hope we contributed to that by making it more accessible for viewers. One of the best banners we spotted in the crowds was one that said: "Good luck, Innsbruck". Next year's host will no doubt have a hard time competing with Bergen's great atmosphere and turnout. In any case, our subtitlers are ready. Allez, allez!

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