TED Translators Cheat-sheet
This "cheat sheet" represents best practices in OTP subtitling. Note that the character number values refer to languages which use a Latin script, and may differ for languages written in other scripts (often being lower than the max numbers below). For length and reading speed rules for your non-Latin script language, consult your language's page on OTPedia, your Language Coordinators or fellow OTP volunteers in your language's Facebook group.
There are a few versions you can use:
Open this article for editing and copy the code to create a version for your language. You can learn more about editing OTPedia in this guide and more about customizing such tables here (if you wish to add or merge fields).
|Subtitle duration||1-7 seconds|
|Max reading speed||21 characters / s|
|Max number of lines||2|
|Max line length||42 characters|
|Max subtitle length||84 characters|
|Subtitle start||Not over 100ms before speech|
|Line-breaking||Don't split linguistic units|
|Subtitle structure|| Don't merge end and beginning|
of two sentences
|Text segmentation|| Don't split sentences too much|
if not necessary for length/speed
|On-screen text||[Square brackets]|
Instead of the Wiki table above, you can use the image format designed by Dimitra Papageorgiou. If you know how to use Photoshop or the free, multi-platform graphics-editing software GIMP, you can easily adapt this image format to your language (the text fields are editable).