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Dotsub Subtitle Specifications

Last Updated: Sep 11, 2015 01:39PM EDT
This document describes the different values and most commonly found notes under subtitle specifications for captioning and translation jobs assigned to you.

So you have been assigned your first video and, upon clicking on the link to your assignment, you've noticed a pop-up instructing you what are the subtitle specifications for this job:

While most of these specifications should appear listed, please note that your pop-up might actually differ a bit, depending on whether a value has been entered or not (ie, if the client has not specified a maximum subtitle duration, that field will not appear on your screen).

Content Type:

This field is for your reference on the type of content of the video, and while it does not necessarily affect the captioning/translation style-wise, it is a good reference on the type of content that you are assigned to.
The categories are: Arts, Education, Entertainment, Finance, General, Health, Medical, Politics, Science, Spiritual, Sports, Technology, Technical

Due date:

The date and time when this job is due - This is expressed in your local time.

Subtitle Style:

  • Spoken Audio: caption/translate all dialogues.
  • Include on screen text: add a line for signs, lower-thirds and general text that appears on screen between square brackets [ ].
  • Include audio descriptions for the hearing impaired: include additional information that is relevant to the message of the video between square brackets [ ]. Commonly used ones are [♪ music ♪], [applause], [laughter], etc.

Dialogue Style:

How should different speakers be presented when they appear on a single caption - See examples below:

  • Double Chevron >>
    I'm thirsty. Are you thirsty? >> Yeah. It's about time I got a sandwich.

  • Line Breaks + Dashes
    - I'm thirsty. Are you thirsty?
    - Yeah. It's about time I got a sandwich.

  • Line Breaks
    I'm thirsty. Are you thirsty?
    Yeah. It's about time I got a sandwich.

Speaker Identification Style:

Are speakers noted between square brackets? If so, what information is needed?

  • None (Do not identify speakers)
  • First Name (if available)
  • First and Last Name (if available)
  • Numbered (speaker 1, speaker 2, etc.)
  • By gender (male/female)

Format Specifications:

Any maximum or minimums allowed by the client in terms of characters and line duration will appear here.
These are hard limits so, if they are set, the platform will not allow a line to exceed them, showing an error when you attempt to save said line:

  • Maximum Lines Per Subtitle: new lines can be added by pressing Shift+Enter, but some clients specify a maximum number of line on their subtitles.
  • Maximum Characters Per Line: what is the maximum number of characters (including spaces) allowed per line - Note that, while characters might be limited, adding a second line will help you enter more content on a single caption.
  • Minimum Subtitle Duration: while the recommended minimum caption duration is of approximately 1.5 to 2 seconds to allow time for the human eye to read the content, some formats require the captions to have a specific minimum duration.
  • Maximum Subtitle Duration: while the maximum recommended duration for a caption is of 6 to 7 seconds to preventing it from lasting too long on-screen, some formats require a hard limit. The maximum duration will be expressed here.

Additional Notes:

Any exceptions to the specifications, as well as glossaries, documents, reference material or instructions will appear listed here.

Once you close the specifications window, should you need to review these, you can do so by clicking on the Subtitle Specification link, under your toolbox:

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