Tips for producing high-quality subtitles
The quality recommendations for AV translations (in Finnish) were announced at the end of January 2020. You should use these recommendations when making subtitles yourself.
Remember that subtitles are part of the message conveyed by the video. You can always pay attention to style, comprehensibility and readability. Depending on the program, you may not be able to influence all the points mentioned below.
Pay attention to the subtitles already when making the video
- Leave an empty space at the bottom of the image, do not, for example, fill the slides with visual material all the way to the bottom. This way, the subtitle placed at the bottom of the screen does not cover anything else.
- Speak calmly and clearly. Say what is shown in the picture, if it is not clear from the video.
- Make sure the sound quality is as good as possible (exclude background noise, use a separate microphone)
- Consider the goals and viewers of the video. Who is watching the video and in what context?
- Pay attention to the whole when texting
- the message is determined by the interplay of image, language and sound.
- adapt the message to the content, style and rhythm of the video.
- High-quality subtitling is clear common language that follows grammar and spelling rules.
- Abbreviations are either written open or omitted.
- Times in the following format: hh.mm,ss.
- In terms of numbers, the usual formatting according to grammar is followed.
Wrapping of subtitles
Subtitles consist of lines that can be understood in one reading and are placed on one or two lines.
- It takes three seconds to read a line. No more than 37 characters per line/two sentences for the entire line.
- Make the top row shorter than the bottom row. This way, moving the eye from the top row to the bottom row is faster.
- Replicas are aligned to the left edge.
- If necessary, line up the content of the reply into an easy-to-read and comprehensible whole. The most natural point for a line break is a sentence boundary.
- If you have to divide the sentence into several replicas, formulate comprehensible entities from all the replicas.
- Again, the most natural point for change is the sentence boundary. If you have to continue the sentence in the next line, we mark the continuation of the sentence with a hyphen at the end of the first line, in which case there is a space before the hyphen and after the last line of the line. –
- Compaction is probably needed!
- Time the subtitles on the screen when the speech starts, at most a little while before.
- Subtitling ends when the speech ends at the earliest or a second later at the latest.
- It takes more time to read a short reply than a long one.
- The rule of thumb is that subtitles are not visible during clearly visible image cuts, for example when a black screen is shown on the video.
- This is deviated from if the comprehensibility of the subtitles suffers, and it is not possible to format the texts differently.
- Please note that the viewer must have time to look at the picture as well.
- Try reading your own subtitles. Does their speed feel appropriate, unhurried?
Tämä ohje tuotettu DigiCampus-hankkeen Estettömyys ja saavutettavuus -osahankkeessa. DigiCampus-hanketta rahoittaa Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö, ja osahanketta toteuttavat Hämeen ammattikorkeakoulu, Jyväskylän yliopisto ja Jyväskylän ammattikorkeakoulu.