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Do YouTube Subtitles And TV Subtitles Have The Same Standards?

Do YouTube Subtitles And TV Subtitles Have The Same Standards?

Subtitles for the web and for television = same standards?

Not at all!

Subtitles intended for television broadcasting must meet several distinct standards.

Here are 6 specificities you can find in North American TV transcription.

1. “As is” transcription

It is important not to modify or translate what is said when subtitling television content. The words of the speakers will have to be transcribed as they are heard.

Transcriptionists are often asked to produce clean and corrected text, for example, when subtitling a training session. When it comes to television, it will be necessary to faithfully transcribe what is spoken orally, even if it involves vulgarities or “Franglais”, which is a mix between French and English.

For example:
  • “Es-tu viré su’l top, câline?” which is the Quebec French slang for “Have you lost your mind?”
  • “What’s up, friends?”

2. Timing adjustment

Subtitles preparation includes creating text bubbles that will be perfectly synchronized with the audio recording.

A bubble must have a duration between one and five seconds, by the standards of American television.

The transcription is divided into hundreds of grammatically logical bubbles. Transcriptionists must also pay particular attention to video plan changes.

3. Narrator identification

It is not uncommon for speaker changes to be indicated in standard subtitles. For television, additional coding will identify the narrator’s speech.

The narrative passages will therefore be displayed on the screen in a different format than that used for the dialogues. Often, the narrator’s interventions will appear in italics.

4. Off-screen speakers’ identification

When it comes to writing subtitles for television, we have to put ourselves in the viewer’s shoes to ensure that the content presented is consistent.

When we can hear interlocutors of a video, it is quite easy for us to recognize the voice of a speaker who speaks while off-screen.

North American television captioning standards require that off-screen speakers be identified when speaking. This information is essential to understanding the content for the hearing impaired.

For example, one may read:
  • (David) : Wait for me, I’m coming!

5. Description of sounds

Again, for those who do not have access to audio, the transcript will have to accurately reflect much more than the dialogues. Here are five elements that should be included in subtitles to describe the sound universe.

Relevant environmental sounds will be transcribed. Here are some examples :
  • (sound of door closing)
  • (Ding dong!)
  • (Knock! Knock! Knock!)
  • (car horn sound)
Subtitles should also include sounds emitted by interlocutors :
  • (laughs)
  • (sigh)
  • (applause)
  • (a woman cries in terror)
Also, with the aim of enriching the understanding, video speakers’ intonation will be specified:
  • (Yelling) : Come right back!
  • (Whispering) : He is here…
When there is no dialogue, describing ambient sounds may be relevant to immerse the audience :
  • (waves sounds)
  • (crowing of a rooster)
  • (cheerful children cry)
  • (bird’s chirping)
  • (deep rumbling)

6. Musical excerpts’ identification

When they do not overlap with the dialogues, three different types of passages with musical extracts are transcribed.

The description of a particular musical atmosphere will be transcribed as follows:
  • (intriguing music)
  • (melancolic music)
  • (instrumental)
If the music used is a famous piece that is identifiable by the transcriber, the title followed by its composer or performer can be entered as follows :
  • (Clair de lune by Debussy).
If the lyrics of the song are audible by the transcriber, the extract can be transcribed by identifying the passage with musical notes symbols :
  • ♪♪ Do, ré, mi, fa, sol, la, si, do. ♪

As you have seen, television projects involve certain additional captioning standards.

Eitherway, transcription or subtitling needs are considered unique. This is why SousTitreur offers great flexibility to meet all customers’ specific demands.

From very technical terms or unusual names to censorship requests and the deciphering of accents from all over the world, ClosedCaptioner.com is up to the task!

Our team of multilingual transcribers and revisers is able to provide transcripts and translations in multiple languages with accuracy that will meet your needs.