Forum rules
Under no circumstances is spamming or advertising of any kind allowed. Do not post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-orientated or any other material that may violate others security. Profanity or any kind of insolent behavior to other members (regardless of rank) will not be tolerated. Remember, what you don’t find offensive can be offensive to other members. Please treat each other with the kind of reverence you’d expect from other members.
Failure to comply with any of the above will result in users being banned without notice. If any further details are needed, contact: “The team” using the link at the bottom of the forum page. Thank you.
stargazer500
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:00 am

Breaking body-lines

Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:37 pm

Hi "subtitlers" and others!
I have only translated about five films yet, and the dreaded sword of ambivalence still strikes me now and then. Here are a few of my questions:

1. The last original script I downloaded from this site has very short body lines. Some body lines are broken/split into two though they only consist of as little as 25 characters (Yes, I'm speaking about the monologues). Should I keep it like this or should I follow general recommendations and break them only if they exceed 40 chars?

2. Very often in this particular script, the upper line is also longer than the lower. Should I leave it like this or, also here, follow general recommendations and keep the upper line shorter than the lower?

Grateful for all answers to these questions. If you know a good site where I can find good answers to these and similar questions I will be even more grateful. (Maybe there's a link on this site?)

Best Regards

Stargazer

User avatar
SmallBrother
Site Admin
Posts: 3321
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:59 pm
Location: Somewhere on this globe

Re: Breaking body-lines

Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:41 pm

Hi Stargazer500,

First of all, subtitling rules are different for different languages. About which language are you talking?
Also, apparently on top of that there are different personal opinions about specific aspects.

As for your specific questions:
1. The last original script I downloaded from this site has very short body lines. Some body lines are broken/split into two though they only consist of as little as 25 characters (Yes, I'm speaking about the monologues). Should I keep it like this or should I follow general recommendations and break them only if they exceed 40 chars?
I think 25 characters (monologue) split into two lines makes no sense at all. I think everyone would agree, regardless the language. Some keep 45 or even 50 as maximum for one line. Personally I keep 40 as guideline, with a margin of a few characters if needed.
2. Very often in this particular script, the upper line is also longer than the lower. Should I leave it like this or, also here, follow general recommendations and keep the upper line shorter than the lower?
Preferably lines should have the same length, that's easiest for the eye. But also, preferably the line break should come at a 'natural' point, keeping word groups together, which is easier for understanding. Obviously these two preferences can be in eachother's way. In that case, personally I would choose for keeping word groups together.

For example, I would use this (34+23):
Personally I keep 40 as guideline,
with a margin of a few.


And not this (23+34, first line is shorter):
Personally I keep 40 as
guideline, with a margin of a few.


Here's one topic on this forum about subtitling guidelines: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12599

Written rules for subtitles in Dutch are here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=12639. Note that in here 55 characters is the given maximum per line, which personally I think is too much. However, in general, dutch needs more text than english, so sometimes there is no way around it. I think it's better to have 50 characters on one line than 'shortened' translations (and missing meaning) or very short timings.

stargazer500
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:00 am

Re: Breaking body lines

Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:14 am

Thank you very much for the quick and good answer, SmallBrother! I translate from English, to Swedish and right now I'm working on the subs from "Red Lights". I suppose the srt-files on their bumpy up- and downloading way to me sometimes have been modified for different reasons? Luckily your answers confirm what I suspected. It's hard enough to learn all of the general recommendations. In the subs in question they guillotine phrases as if it were some kind of carnage. Red.Lights.2012.720p.BluRay.x264.YIFY

Anyway, Except for the obvious differences in sentence and phrase construction, I hope and think that the general subtitling rules in English and Swedish are about the same?
Best
Stargazer

User avatar
SmallBrother
Site Admin
Posts: 3321
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:59 pm
Location: Somewhere on this globe

Re: Breaking body lines

Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:42 pm

Except for the obvious differences in sentence and phrase construction, I hope and think that the general subtitling rules in English and Swedish are about the same?
I am not sure. "General" and "about the same", I guess so. But only guessing, because I am Dutch, I don't know about Sweden-specific rules and we don't have a Swedish admin to ask. You could wait for a Swedish subtitler to jump in on this, or ask Google.

Note that there could be differences which are not very obvious, but still significant. For example, a dialogue between two people, in English both lines will have to start with a "-" sign:
- How are you?
- I am always fine.


In Dutch only the second line starts with a "-":
Hoe gaat het ermee?
- Ik voel me afschuwelijk.

User avatar
jcdr
Site Admin
Posts: 540
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:49 am

Re: Breaking body-lines

Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:31 pm

The questions from Stargazer keep on coming back from time to time on various subtitling forums. I was asking myself the same questions few months ago, after having translated my first few subtitles! So in addition to what SmallBro stated, I would add the following:

If you look at the guidances and rules which exist over the Internet for the professional 'subtitlers', these are aimed at the whole syndication industry to cope with the widest panels of subtitles readers. The '40 characters per line' rule ensures that various TV channels could put characters big enough for short-sighted people to be able to read on their 21" 4/3 television. Some TV channels will even go down to 38 or 36, to superimpose the text over a black box background (good reason for having the minimum text on the first line).

But do these rules really apply to fansub website users, most of them being likely to watch movies on >32" 16/9 LCD TVs without sight impairment?
I personally prefer subs with a maximum of 50 characters per line / 100 characters per page, which allow a better splitting of sentences at commas or natural 'breathes', without the need to add those annoying starting or ending '...'. So the choice is yours, you decide to which panel you wish to dedicate your subs.

More important than the number of characters per line, is the reading speed. The English syndication rule is around 16 cps (characters per second), again to cope with the widest panel. As you are interested in translating in Swedish, have a look at the book http://books.google.fr/books?id=KOo7mfiXibUC : the expected reading speed for Swedish subtitles was 7-10 cps in the 80's, and increased to 9-14 cps in the 2000's (page 133).

So again, does this apply to fansub website users? If you use the 16 cps rule, you will end up doing the same as the professional translators: savagely cutting into the dialogs, and showing only half of these. I think the vast majority will prefer to have almost verbatim translations. Having done a small analysis of the addic7ed and OS fan subs, I now have personally put the limit for my English or French subs to 25 cps, with a strict limit to 35 cps when offset goes over three lines (meaning, I prefer a large time offset or a cut translation than a sub I don't have time to read!). I also set a minimum of 500 ms/line.

You could do this useful exercise: for instance HIMYM S08E01 http://www.opensubtitles.org/fr/subtitles/4670280/ has a very fast one-minute length monologue at 11'43'', with some parts of the verbatim transcript as high as 50 cps. Translate this part in Swedish, look at the episode, and see what speed you are comfortable with. Like that, you will be able to set your own limit over which you will have to cut into dialogs without remorse...

Kerena112
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:37 pm

Re: Breaking body-lines

Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:45 pm

Opening subtitles
In the File menu, there are three menu choices that relate to opening or creating subtitles:

New subtitles - Creates a new, blank script.
Open subtitles - Opens an existing subtitles file or imports subtitles from a Matroska container file.
Open subtitles with charset - Opens subtitles but lets you choose what character set Aegisub will use to interpret the file. Usually not needed anymore, see below.
When you open a subtitles file that is not detected as Unicode, Aegisub will attempt to guess what character set it is encoded with. If it is unsure, it will ask you to choose from two or more likely alternatives. If the result looks garbled or otherwise incorrect, try reopening it with another character set.

Return to “General talk”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests