1. Technical Information
- Font: SimHei, White
FOX (THEATRICAL only): Arial Unicode
HBO: DFN Kai-SB, White
- Minimum duration: 1 second
- Maximum duration: 7 seconds
- 29.97 frames/second (fps) - 210 frames
- 23.98 frames/second (fps) - 168 frames
- 25 frames/second (fps) - 175 frames
- Reading speed (include spaces and punctuation):
- Adult programs - 9 characters per second (cps)
- Chidren's programs - 7 characters per second (cps)
- SDH (Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing)
- Adult programs - 11 characters per second (cps)
- Chidren's programs - 9 characters per second (cps)
- Frame gap: 2 frames minimum
Note: Frame gap should be 2 frames or at least 5 frames
All frame gaps of 3-4 frames should be reduced to 2 frames
- Character limit: 18 characters per line
- Maximum number of lines: 2 lines
2. Line Treatment
- If an event can fit on one line, please keep it to one line. Do not split for grammatical reasons.
- For two line events, ensure that you maintain a logical and grammatically correct line break (e.g. after punctuation).
- If possible, the bottom line should be longer than the top line, provided you do not violate Rule 2.2.
- Always position either top or bottom center. Never have subtitles in any other position.
- An event should be moved to the top if there is text in the lower third of the screen (e.g. credits)
- In cases where the entire screen is covered with text, choose the option that causes the least disruption to the viewer.
- If there is a supplied English Template, the timing for that should be followed. Events may be merged or split if the in-cues and out-cues are maintained. This rule supersedes all the below rules.
- Subtitles should be timed to audio (within 3 frames).
- If extra time is needed for reading speeds, the out-time can be extended by 12 frames past end of audio.
- If dialogue starts within 3 frames of a shot change, pull the in-time to the shot change.
- There should always be a minimum of 2 frames between the out-time of an event and the shot change after it.
- If dialogue ends within 3 frames or less of a shot change, pull the out-time to 2 frames before the shot change.
- While the reading speed is 9 cps, this is not always possible, the following priority should be followed:
- Time to audio and extend by 12 frames past end of audio (if it doesn’t cause the event to cross a shot change and look awkward).
- Let the reading speed go up to 12 cps.
- Merge or split events to help with reading speeds.
- Truncate without losing the meaning of the audio.
- If, after you have tried all of the above, the reading speed is still exceeding 12 cps then the file can be submitted as is, but all the above must have been tried.
- Subtitles should convey the context of the audio as accurately as possible, but do not need to be a word for word translation. This article shows examples of basic syntactical changes - Fotios Karamitroglou: A Proposed Set of Subtitling Standards in Europe.
- Omit superfluous and unnecessary information such as hesitation markers, repetitions, and redundancies (e.g. "You know", "you see" etc).
6. Dual Speakers
Use a hyphen without a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one speaker per line.
FOX (THEATRICAL only) Do not use hyphens.
- Do not translate proper names (e.g. John, Mary) unless requested, otherwise transliterate.
- Only translate nicknames if they have a specific meaning or are well-known and have official Chinese equivalents. (e.g. Stinky Pete or EXAMPLE)
- Use local language translations for historical/mythical characters (e.g. Genghis Khan, Santa Claus = 圣诞老人).
- Translate brand names to a generic term if the brand is unknown in Chinese and is relevant to context. (e.g. "EXAMPLE" for "Clorox")
- DISNEY Book titles, song titles, magazine and movie/show titles must be in brackets 《 》.
- If the character is introduced in a Forced Narrative, always use the following format regardless of onscreen format:
"Zane Lowe – Presenter" = （主持 赞恩罗威）
- Do not use a Chinese mid-line period separator ()
Terms of address: Use formal or informal terms of address based on the relationship between characters and keep them consistent throughout (unless there is a change in the relationship). When in doubt, use formal terms.
- Only use full width Chinese punctuation, except for the hyphens in dual speakers subtitles or the periods in abbreviations (e.g., M.B.A.)
FOX (THEATRICAL only) Only use full width Chinese punctuation.
- Use a full-width colon for quoted speech.
- A full-width colon may be used for an explanation or an example.
- Enumeration commas can be used for lists (e.g. “A、B、C”).
- Use question marks for questions.
- Only full-width exclamation/question marks are allowed at the end of a line.
- Do not use double exclamation/question marks (e.g. !!, ??, !?).
- Do not use italics.
- Do not use ellipses (3 dots) or dashes when an ongoing sentence is split between subtitle events.
Event 1: 你們在自動電梯上有60秒時間
Event 2: 說服他們參與你的項目
- Use an ellipsis to indicate a significant pause (2 seconds or more) or dialogue trailing off.
Event 1: 所以…
Event 1: 所以…你們願意和我一起合作嗎？
In the case of a pause (2 seconds or more), if the sentence continues in the next event, do not use an ellipsis at the beginning of the next event.
Event 1: 所以…
Event 2: 你們願意和我一起合作嗎？
- Use an ellipsis without a space for an event starting mid-sentence.
Event 1: …說服他們參與你的項目
- Use an ellipsis for abrupt interruptions.
Event 1: -我們籌集過資金…
Event 2: -多少？
- Follow instructions from Pixelogic regarding Main Titles. If instructions were not provided, double check.
ALULA Match Localization Library entry if provided.
NETFLIX Do not subtitle Main Titles. If mentioned in dialogue, check with Pixelogic.
- Episode Titles: Do not subtitle if they do not appear onscreen, if they do, check with Pixelogic.
NETFLIX Do not include Episode Titles. If mentioned in dialogue, check with Pixelogic.
- If a Main/Episodic title is provided enclose the title in 《 》:
《破曉時分》NETFLIX Use the following format:
- Titles of movies, TV shows or published works: Use official / accepted translations. If none are available, leave in original language.
NETFLIX If none are available, transliterate.
- Use Chinese brackets for: albums, films, songs, TV programs, newspapers, magazines, books, works of art, trilogies.
我們看《Planet of the Apps》吧
- NETFLIX Do not add main title brackets or Chinese parentheses to approved Netflix credits translations and leave a space after NETFLIX.
13. Forced Narratives / Narrative Subtitles
- Only include plot-pertinent Forced Narratives.
- Delete redundant Forced Narratives (e.g. identical to onscreen text/covered in dialogue/appears repeatedly in the video).
- Use Chinese parentheses for onscreen text.
Event 1:FOX (THEATRICAL only): Use Chinese quotation marks 「」 for any text that is part of the photography of the film.
FOX (THEATRICAL only): Burned-in text (graphic text added after filming) do not require quotation marks.
- Ensure that Forced Narratives do not cover onscreen text. In the event, there is onscreen text at the top and bottom, place the Forced Narrative in the location easiest to read. If both locations are identically difficult, then place the event at the bottom.
- Never combine a Forced Narrative with dialogue in the same event.
- If a Forced Narrative interrupts dialogue, use an ellipsis without a space at the end of the preceding event and at the beginning of the following event.
- Speaker’s title for documentaries: Only translate a speaker’s title once, the first time the speaker appears in the documentary.
14. Foreign Dialogue
- Foreign dialogue should only be subtitled if the viewer was meant to understand it per creative intent in the original version. Please check with Pixelogic to see if you are using a Subtitled or Subtitle-less version of the video.
- Foreign words should be translated or transliterated if no direct translation exists.
15. Numbers, Time & Currency
- Use common writing characters for large numbers, not characters used in finance.
Correct: 五千, 四十億 etc.
Incorrect: 壹, 贰, 參, etc.
- Use Western numbers for apartment / street / phone / chapter / page / flight numbers, measurements, monetary amounts, addresses, dates and times.
- Use half width numbers (1, 2, 3) instead of full width numbers (１, ２, ３).
- Do not mix Western numbers with Chinese number characters.
- Do not use Western numbers for days of the week.
- Do not use a comma to separate the thousands digit for only 4 digit numbers.
- Do not abbreviate years (e.g. 她2017年来过).
- Never convert currency.
- Convert to metric system: kilometers (km), Celsius (°C), Kilograms (kg).
16. Quotation Marks
- Use full-width double quotation marks (“ “) without spaces for regular quotations.
- Use full-width single quotation marks (‘ ‘) without spaces for quotes within quotes.
- If the whole sentence is in quotes, the punctuation mark comes before the quotation mark.
- If only portion of a sentence is in quotes, the punctuation comes after the quotation mark.
- Quotes should be used at the start and end of a quote, not at the start of every subtitle.
- Do not translate words or phrases repeated more than once.
- If the word or phrase is said twice in a row, time to audio but do not repeat the translation.
- This rule can be ignored if the context uses repetition for emphasis or comedic effect.
18. Censored words
- If a word has been censored in the audio use a mid-line ellipsis to indicate the censored word.
- If the song is original to the show/movie, check with Pixelogic if translation is required. For all other instances do not translate.
LIONSGATE This rule is for characters singing only. Do not translate background songs.
- Songs in which the lyrics have been altered or parodied for comedic effect can generally be titled.
- Do not italicize or use quotes for song lyrics.
- Use an ellipsis if the song continues in the background but is interrupted by dialogue.
- Only question marks, exclamation marks and ellipses can be used at the end of a line.
20. Translator Credit
- Include if present in provided English template, otherwise do NOT include a translator credit.
NETFLIX Include a translator credit - "字幕翻譯："
PARAMOUNT (Theatrical) Include a translator credit - "字幕："
SONY (Feature/Episodes only) Include a translator credit - "字幕翻譯："
ALULA Include a translator credit.
DISNEY (THEATRICAL only) Include a translator credit.
FOX Include a translator credit.
NBCUNIVERSAL Include a translator credit.
- If a client requests a translator credit and does not specify a format use one of the above prioritizing top to bottom.
- Company names are not allowed as Translator Credit. Only the individual translator.
- In the cases where the file is a reformat of an older subtitle file, there may be no translator credit required as it may not be present on the original file.
21. Language Tag
- If the following event is present at the end of the template:
[LANGUAGE TAG - Do not Translate]
do not omit or translate, but simply copy the English text into your language file. This is an identifier in English for BD/DVD authors.
22. SDH Instructions - Speaker IDs / Sound Effects
Speaker IDs/Sound Effects
- Use [ ] brackets for speaker IDs or sound effects.
- Only use speaker IDs or sound effects when they cannot be visually identified.
- If a person who is on-screen continues talking off-screen, do not add another identifier for their off-screen dialogue. We assume it's the same person talking until another person is visible or until there is an identifier for a different speaker.
- Do not identify a speaker until their character name has been introduced. Until they are introduced, use generic IDs (e.g. [man], [man 2], [cop], [doctor])
- For documentaries, commentaries, bonus material (VAM) etc. do not identify interviewees by their first name. Only use their last name. You can use first names for the characters from the program, assuming they have been identified that way in the full program.
- Use a generic ID to indicate and describe ambient music (e.g. [rock music playing on radio]).
- Only include plot-pertinent sound effects.
- Never italicize speaker IDs or sounds effects, even if the dialogue is italicized.
- Include single utterances and exclamations (e.g. Oh, Um..., Wow!)
- If translated – Use [in language] (e.g. [用俄語] )
- If not meant to be understood – Use [speaking language] (e.g. [說英語] )
- Always research the language. Do not use [speaking foreign language] or [in foreign language].
Songs (additional to Section 18)
- Song lyrics should be enclosed with a music note (♪)
- Songs heard within the scene should be identified if possible.
- If a word has been censored in the audio use four asterisks to indicate the censored word.
23. Special Instructions
- Always translate as faithfully as possible (including expletives). Do not use dialect or words that would otherwise introduce a level of obscenity not implied in the content.
- Deliberate misspellings and mispronunciations should not be reproduced in the translation unless plot-pertinent.
- Do not use regional slang, idioms or dialects (e.g. Hakka, Gan etc.)
- Specify if the person spoken to is female/male/animal/deity. (e.g. 你、妳、他、她、牠、祂、它).
Please reference the following for any language-related issues not covered in this document:
25. Client Style Guides
Apple - August 9, 2017 - V1