1. Technical Information
- Font: Nyala, 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 - X characters per second (cps)
- Chidren's programs - X 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
- 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.
- For two line events, ensure that you maintain a logical and grammatically correct line break (e.g. after punctuation).
- 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 17 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 21 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 21 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).
- Word-level alterations are also possible, but extra care must be taken to keep in context.
6. Dual Speakers
- Use a hyphen without a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one speaker per line.
- Do not translate proper names (e.g. John, Mary) unless requested.
- Only translate nicknames if they have a specific meaning or are well-known and have official South African equivalents.
- Use local language translations for historical/mythical characters (e.g. EXAMPLE).
- Translate brand names to a generic term if the brand is unknown in South Africa and is relevant to context. (e.g. "EXAMPLE" for "Clorox")
- Do not italicize proper names or company names.
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.
- If there is a supplied English Template, the italics usage for that should be followed. This rule supersedes all the below rules. If you spot something you think is incorrect, please follow the template regardless but notify Pixelogic immediately so that we may confirm.
- 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 / ship names
- Genera and species' scientific 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 emphasis
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use an ellipsis without a space for an event starting mid-sentence.
- Use an ellipsis for abrupt interruptions.
- Follow instructions from Pixelogic regarding Main Titles. If instructions were not provided, double check.
ALULA Match Localization Library entry if provided, otherwise uppercase.
NETFLIX Do not include 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.
- Use uppercase letters for titles.
DISNEY+ Match the case of the onscreen text.
- Titles of movies, TV shows or published works: Use official / accepted translations. If none are available, leave in the original language.
12. Forced Narratives / On-screen Text
- 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 be ALL CAPS.
Long passages of on-screen text (e.g. prologues / epilogues) can use mixed case to improve readability.
PARAMOUNT Forced Narratives should always match the case of the onscreen text.
DISNEY+ 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.
- 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.
13. 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.
14. Numbers, Time & Currency
- From 1 to 10, spell the numbers: "EXAMPLE", etc.
- Above 10, numbers can be written numerically: "11", "23", "37", 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").
- Never convert currency.
- Convert to metric system: kilometers (km), Celsius (°C), Kilograms (kg).
15. Quotation Marks
- Use double quotation marks (" ") without spaces for regular quotations.
- Use single quotation marks (' ') without spaces for quotes within quotes.
- If the quotation is an independent clause (is part of the quote), the punctuation mark comes before the quotation mark.
- If the quotation is not independent clause, 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.
- Put song titles in quotes.
- Common abbreviations: EXAMPLE
- Write acronyms without periods between letters: "FBI", "BBC", "LA".
- 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.
19. Censored words
- If a word has been censored in the audio use four asterisks 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.
- 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, exclamation marks and ellipses can be used at the end of a line. Commas can be used within the lyric line, if required.
- Song titles are in quotation marks.
- Album titles are in italics.
21. Translator Credit
- Do not include a translator credit.
ALULA Include a translator credit.
FOX Include a translator credit.
NBCUNIVERSAL Include a translator credit.
NETFLIX Include a translator credit (DO NOT INCLUDE for VanDam & Backlot Trailers).
SONY (Feature/Episodes only) 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.
22. 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.
23. SDH Instructions - Speaker IDs / Sound Effects
- Use [ ] brackets for speaker IDs or sound effects.
- Use lowercase, except for proper nouns.
- Only use speaker IDs or sound effects when they cannot be visually identified.
- Include single events of sounds (e.g. "Oh", "Um...", "Wow!").
- Song lyrics should be enclosed with a music note (♪).
- 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.
- For censored words, either bleeped or audio muted: Use four asterisks ****
- For foreign dialogue:
- If translated – Use [in language] (e.g. [EXAMPLE] )
- If not meant to be understood – Use [speaking language] (e.g. [EXAMPLE] )
- Always research the language. Do not use [speaking foreign language] or [in foreign language]