TED Translators Cheat-sheet

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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:

Wiki table

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).

OTP cheat-sheet
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
Sound representation (Parentheses)
On-screen text [Square brackets]

Image formats

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).

Use these links to download the desired image format: PNG, PSD / Photoshop, XCF / GIMP (975 kb, 499x499).

Image shows the OTP cheat sheet table with subtitle standards.