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. Below, you will find a few versions of the OTP Cheat-sheet that you can adapt for your language.
Open this article for editing, copy the code and paste it into a new article 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, or align the sheet with text in a specific way).
|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 100 ms before speech|
|Line-breaking||Don't split linguistic units|
|Line-length balance|| One line can't be shorter|
than 50% of the other
|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 Adobe Photoshop or the free, multi-platform graphics-editing software GIMP, you can easily adapt this image format for your language (the text layers are editable in the PSD and XCF files).
Use these links to download the desired image format: PNG, PSD / Photoshop or XCF / GIMP. If you have prepared a version in your own language, share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to spread the news!
Below, you will find non-English versions of the OTP Cheat-sheet, adapted by OTP volunteers.
The Greek version of the OTP Cheat-sheet was created by Dimitra Papageorgiou.
The Serbian version of the OTP Cheat-sheet was created by Mile Zivkovic.