GOSUB and OOONA join forces

OOONA and GOSUB are combining their expertise and together they will offer a comprehensive set of technical subtitling and closed captioning courses.

This venture enables both organizations to share skills and knowledge in different and complementary areas of work.

This new partnership will cover a wide range of technical audiovisual cutting-edge courses offered to the market.

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www.gosub.tv

www.ooona.net

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7 tips for quality subtitling and captioning

  • Tip 1: Having clear, easy to read captions

A maximum subtitle length of two lines is industry standard and also recommended. In some cases, you may have three lines, however this is usually when we have to take the sound effects or character ID’s in closed captioning into consideration.

Ideally, each subtitle should contain a single complete sentence, wherever two lines of unequal length are used, the upper line should preferably be shorter to keep as much of the image free as possible and in left-justified subtitles in order to reduce unnecessary eye movement.

Subtitle lines should end at natural linguistic breaks, ideally at clause or phrase boundaries.

  • Tip 2: Correct positioning of the captions on the screen

The normally accepted position for subtitles is centered and placed towards the bottom of the screen, but in obeying this convention it is most important to avoid obscuring ‘on-screen’ captions or any part of a speaker’s mouth or eyes.

If you are working on a closed captioning project, ensure to clarify if you need to position the captions according to the speaker’s position on screen.

  • Tip 3: Using italics properly!

Italics should be used in the following cases:

A voice-over reading of a poem, book, play, journal, letter, etc. Note: This is also quoted material, so quotation marks are also needed.

When a person is dreaming, thinking, or reminiscing.

When there is background audio that is essential to the plot, e.g.: a TV or radio.

Off-screen dialogue, narrator (see Exception 2 below), sound effects, or music (this includes background music).

The off-screen narrator when there are multiple speakers on-screen or off-screen.

Foreign words and phrases, unless they are in an English dictionary.

  • Tip 4: Subtitling is not writing.

Remember that you cannot use bold in subtitling. Nor are underlined words permitted in subtitling.

You cannot break up a word with a hyphen when it doesn’t fit; eg.

Her family was very under- standing and compassionate.

Additionally, the language register must be appropriate and correspond with the spoken word.

Subtitling is not recreating the story-line but obvious repetition of names and common comprehensible phrases need not always be subtitled.

And don’t forget to subtitle the signs. All-important written information in the images (signs, notices, etc.) should be translated and incorporated if it is relevant to the plot, and wherever possible.

  • Tip 5: You can never know enough.

Subtitlers must always work with a (video, DVD, etc.) copy of the production. If possible, try to obtain a copy of the dialogue list or script and a glossary of unusual words, names and special references. The more accurate information you have, the better the quality subtitles you will create.

If you are subtitling a series, find out if previous seasons or episodes have been translated. Consistency is super important when subtitling.

  • Tip 6: Keeping things out.

As a general rule, avoid omissions. However, it is not always possible and in some cases, if you do not omit some of the text, viewers might miss it all.

In some events, it is ok to omit repetitive or irrelevant dialogue. Omitting vocatives, for instance, is usually welcome after a portion of the show has been seen and viewers are comfortable with the character’s names.

Hesitations or self-corrections can also be omitted. They are sometimes confusing for the viewer and can hinder direct understanding. The same applies for redundancies and repetitions.

  • Tip 7: Simplification

You should simplify the text to make the subtitles easy to read so that the viewers can understand them at first sight.

Let’s look at modulation, which portrays the same (or similar) situation from various perspectives. We can make a complete sentence fit in the short space available if we slightly change the point of view. See the example below:

The sushi was made by us

We made the sushi

I hope you enjoyed reading these tips and that you will find them useful in your practice.

A question I am often asked about in subtitling

A question that comes up a lot in my courses is about abbreviations. Can we use abbreviations in subtitles and closed captions? Just how far can we abbreviate?

Of course, there are different opinions on this topic, but I believe there are also some very good ground rules which you can go by. I have put together some very basic and easy to follow guidelines on what I think is ok to abbreviate in subtitle or caption files. I hope you will find this useful.

  • Abbreviations such as “wanna” (want to) and “gonna” (going to) are appearing more and more in captions these days.
  • Use apostrophes for abbreviations of auxiliaries like “They’d want” and “We can’t” but avoid abbreviations like “y’know” (you know) and “Jo’burg” (Johannesburg).
  • You can use numerals to indicate numbers over ten, for example; She is 15 years’ old, however we don’t use numeric expressions, for example; “the 3 of us” or “100s of times.”
  • Use acronyms like “UCLA” and “NATO” but acronyms like “PM” (Prime Minister) should be avoided.
  • Symbols such as “&” should also be avoided.

Numerals, apostrophes, acronyms and symbols all save character space by abbreviating meaning signs, we should however, use them cautiously. We always need to correctly render the meaning of the dialogue in the subtitles and keep within the restrictions of appearance.

I hope you have found these guidelines helpful in identifying what to abbreviate and what not to.

Have a great day!

Kelly O’Donovan

Creator of opportunities – http://www.gosub.tv

 

 

 

Subtitling and closed captioning plays a very important role in our lives.

Subtitles and captions are widely relied on by viewers. The deaf and the hard of hearing need captions. People also reply on captions for low quality mobile speakers on TV’s or laptops, noisy environments, and not to disturb the baby sleeping or those around them. Subtitles are used because localization has been done though them. There are all kinds of reasons why we need to have subtitles and captions available for viewers.

Nowadays, it is more common that you will have the selection to turn on the captions, not only for entertainment but learning purposes too. Colleges and Universities are incorporating captions into their tutorials and this has not only become common practice, but also FCC regulation.

How captions are presented, both optically and structurally, could have a serious impact on the viewers understanding and enjoyment of the content. The difference between a good and bad experience is usually minor fixable issues.

I’ve written this very short article to share what I believe are the basic good practices in subtitling and closed captioning.

Let’s begin with the visuals of captions. I would start off by advising to avoid presenting too much text onscreen at one time. Make sure the subtitles are easy to read and follow. Always allow enough time for each subtitle to be read.

Ideally, each subtitle should contain a single complete sentence.  wherever two lines of unequal length are used, the upper line should preferably be shorter to keep as much of the image free as possible and in left-justified subtitles in order to reduce unnecessary eye movement.

It is important to caption all important dialogue and to distinguish between speakers. In subtitling, you should simplify the text to make the subtitles easy to read so that the viewers can understand them at first sight.

Use a large enough text size. The font must be clear and easily readable. There should be a high contrast between the caption (text) and the background.

Position subtitles at the center/bottom and avoid clashing with any on screen texts. The normally accepted position for subtitles is center/bottom of the screen, but in obeying this convention it is most important to avoid obscuring ‘on-screen’ captions or any part of a speaker’s mouth or eyes.

Always ensure accuracy in captioning. The target point for synchronization should always be at naturally occurring pauses in speech-sentence boundaries, or changes of scene. This has to be the most important best practice in subtitling and closed captioning.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my short article.

Have a great day!

Kelly O’Donovan

Creator of opportunities – http://www.gosub.tv