1. Technical Information
- Font: Arial, 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 - 20 characters per second (cps)
- Chidren's programs - 17 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: 42 characters per line
CBS: 37 characters per line
DVD (all): 32 (if all uppercase) characters per line
DISNEY (DVD only): 40 characters per line
HBO: 40 characters per line
- Max. 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.
- If the text needs to be broken into two lines, follow these basic principles:
- Line should be broken:
- after punctuation marks
- before conjunctions / prepositions
- The line break should not separate:
- a noun from an article / adjective
- a first name from a last name
- a verb from a subject pronoun
- a prepositional verb from its preposition
- a verb from an auxiliary, reflexive pronoun or negation
- Line should be broken:
- Always position either top or bottom center. Never have subtitles in any other position.
CRITERION: If reformatting older files that did not use top/bottom or center-only positioning, update to current style.
- 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.
- 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 a 1/3 of a second of a shot change, pull the in-time to the shot change.
Shot change and start of second event is 01:02:42:03
- 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 a 1/2 of a second or less of a shot change, adjust the out time to either 2 frames before the shot change or 1/2 of a second after the shot change, whichever looks better.
THEATRICAL ONLY: If dialogue ends within 1/3 of a second or less of a shot change, pull the out-time to the last frame of the first shot.
- For two events on either side of shot change, have the first event end 2 frames in from the shot change and the second event start on the shot change.
- Do not be afraid to cross shot changes if required. Do not split a subtitle unnecessarily to maintain a shot change.
- While the reading speed is 20 cps, this is not always possible, the following priority should be followed:
- Let the reading speed go up to 23 cps.
- 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).
- Truncate without losing the meaning of the audio.
- Merge or split events to help with reading speeds.
- If, after you have tried all of the above, the reading speed is still exceeding 23 cps then the file can be submitted as is, but all the above must have been tried.
5. Dual Speakers
Use a hyphen without a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one speaker per line.
-How are you?
-I'm fine, thanks!
6. Italics (In-depth guide)
- Dialogue that is heard through electronic media, such as a phone, television, public announcement system or computer
- Unfamiliar foreign words and phrases (not commonly used)
- Song lyrics when sung, not quoted (provided rights have been granted)
- Voice-overs such as out-of-scene narrators or visible characters expressing unspoken thoughts
- Titles of books / periodicals / works of art / albums / movies / tv or radio shows / plays
- Genus and species' names
- Do not italicize:
- During B-roll footage in a documentary.Avoid going back and forth between italics when the speaker is on and off screen. If the speaker is on-camera for part of the scene do not italicize.
- If the dialogue starts/ends out-of-scene, but the character is visible during the event (e.g. on a phone call between 2 people)
For ellipses, use the single smart character (U+2026) instead of three dots/periods.
- Do not use ellipses (3 dots) or dashes when an ongoing sentence is split between subtitle events.
Let’s take the dog
for a nice long walk.
- Use an ellipsis to indicate a significant pause (2 seconds or more) or dialogue trailing off. For a pause (2 seconds or more), there should be a space after the ellipses.
Loyalty... doesn’t exist anymore.
I don’t know. Maybe we shouldn’t...
- 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.
The murderer is...
- Use an ellipsis without a space for an event starting mid-sentence.
…and that’s how I saved the world.
5. Use two hyphens for abrupt interruptions.
-You can’t tell--
CRITERION: Use an an em dash preceded by a space.
-You can’t tell —
8. Forced Narratives
- Only include plot-pertinent Forced Narratives.
- Delete redundant Forced Narratives (e.g. identical to onscreen text/covered in dialogue/appears repeatedly in the video).
- Forced Narratives should always match the case of the onscreen text.
- 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 at the end of the preceding event and at the beginning of the following event.
Guys, I really think...
TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT
...we shouldn't go in there.
- Speaker’s title for documentaries: Only translate the title. Do not include speaker’s name, company name or character name.
- Only translate a speaker’s title once, the first time the speaker appears in the documentary.
9. 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.
- Always verify spelling and grammar when using foreign words.
- Foreign words should be italicized, unless they have become part of normal usage (e.g. In English, the following do not need italicization: bon voyage, bona fide, alfresco, kaput).
- Do not italicize proper names or company names.
10. Numbers, Time and Currency
- From 1 to 10, spell the numbers: one, two, three, etc.
- Above 10, numbers can be written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc.
- If a number starts a sentence, it should be spelled out.
- Exceptions to the above can be made for space limitations or correct usage (e.g. 2 km, phone numbers, She was 10 before she turned 11). See Numbers Style In-depth Guide.
- Use numerals for exact times (e.g. 10:45 p.m.)
- Use lowercase a.m. and p.m.
- Spell out words/phrases (e.g. midnight, half past, noon)
- Currency - $, £ or € precede the amount, without a space, except for more casual references or amounts that are not a specific figure. For slang terms (bucks, grand, etc) do not use the currency symbol, but still represent the amount in numerically.
- So, I have $225 and want $2.5 million, but would really like a billion dollars.
- So, I want 2 grand but would settle for 2 bucks.
11. Quotation Marks
- Quoted words, phrases and sentences are in double quotation marks; single quotation marks are used for quotations within quotations.
She said: "I will never, ever go on a date with him."
He said: "I always sing to 'Sweet Child O' Mine' when it’s on the radio."
- Quotes should be used at the start and end of a quote, not at the start of every subtitle.
Event 1: “Success is not final,
Event 2: failure is not fatal.
Event 3: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
- Periods and commas precede closing quotation marks.
- Colons and semicolons follow closing quotation marks.
- Question marks and exclamation points follow quotation marks unless they are part of the quoted text:
What is the second part of this quote, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is,”?
The second part is, “What are you doing for others?”
- Put song titles in quotes.
- Write acronyms without periods between letters: FBI, BBC, LA
13. Censored words
- If a word has been censored in the audio use four asterisks to indicate the censored word.
Tell him to **** off!
He’s a real mother**** when he’s mad.
- Subtitle all audible song lyrics that do not interfere with dialogue. Exemptions can be made if the song is playing in the background and is not plot-pertinent e.g. shopping mall music.
- Italicize lyrics.
- Start each line with an uppercase letter.
- Use an ellipsis if the song continues in the background but is interrupted by dialogue.
- Only question marks and exclamation marks can be used at the end of a line. Commas can be used within the lyric line if required.
- Song titles are in quotes.
- Album titles are in italics.
15. Common Words
- Always use:
- “All right” not “alright”
- “Okay” not “OK”
- “Whoa” not “Woah”
- “Yeah” not “Yea”
16. Translator Credit
- Do not include a translator credit.
NETFLIX Include a translator credit - "Subtitle translation by:".
SONY Include a translator credit - "Subtitles Translated by:"
ALULA Include a translator credit.
NBCUNIVERSAL Include a translator credit.
- If a client requests a translator credit and does not specify a format use the Netflix format.
- 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.
17. 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.
18. British English Versioning
List of US vs UK spellings - http://www.tysto.com/uk-us-spelling-list.html
19. Special Instructions
Do not subtitle sounds that are not actual words (e.g. Oh, Um, Mm-hmm) unless they are part of a specific phrase (e.g. Oh, my God!)
The Merriam-Webster dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/
Chicago Manual of Style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html