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Additional Information


  • Mixed case characters are preferred for readability
  • Use Capital Letters for:
  • Individual word
  • Single Phrase to denote emphasis
  • Shouting






  • White Characters
  • Medium weight font
  • Sans Serif
  • A drop or rim shadow
  • Proportionally spaced
  • Translucent box, especially on light backgrounds


  • Upper and lowercase letters with descenders that drop below the baseline
  • Multi line captions should be left aligned



  • Allow overlap with other characters, ascenders, or descenders


A font, or typeface, is a set of characters at a certain size, weight, and style. Font characteristics must be consistent throughout the media.




  • A modifier from the word it modifies
  • A prepositional phrase
  • A person’s name nor a title from the name with which it is associated
  • A line after a conjunction
  • An auxiliary verb from the word it modifies
  • Never end a sentence a begin a new sentence on the same line unless they are short, related sentences containing one or two words

When a sentence is broken into two or more lines of captions, it should be broken at a logical point where speech normally pauses.


  • Multi-lined captions should be left aligned when technically possible
  • Captions are placed on the bottom two lines
  • If placing captions at the top of the screen also interferes with visuals/graphics, place captions elsewhere on the screen where they do not interfere
  • It is preferred that there are no more than two lines per caption
  • Place all captions with reasonable margins
  • Captioned dialogue must be placed under the speaker
  • If a speaker continuously moves from one screen location to another, one placement for captions of that speaker’s communication must be used
  • Placement should not interfere with names, faces, or mouths of speakers or text/graphics that are essential to the comprehension of the media
  • Do not use other speaker identification techniques, such as hyphens


Caption Placement(vertical and horizontal) refers to the location of captions on the screen




Language mechanics incorporate the proper use of spelling, capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and other factors deemed necessary for high-quality captioned media.




Additional Information


  • Be consistent in the spelling of words throughout the media
  • Capitalize proper nouns for speaker identification
  • Lowercase sound effects, including both descriptions and onomatopoeia. Except when a proper noun is part of the description



  • Emphasize a word using all capital letters except to indicate screaming or shouting






  • When captioning a list separated by commas, use a serial, or Oxford, comma




Hyphens and Dashes:


  • When a speaker hesitates or slutters, caption what is said






  • Use an ellipsis when there is a significant pause within a caption
  • Use an ellipsis to lead into or out of audio relating to an onscreen graphic
  • Do not use an ellipses to indicate that the sentence continues into the next caption


Quotation Marks:

  • Use for on screen readings from a poem, book, play, journal, or letter
  • Beginning quotation marks should be used for each caption of quoted material except for the last caption




  • A space should be inserted after the beginning music icon and before the ending music icons
  • Spacing should not be inserted before ending punctuation, after opening and before closing parenthesis and brackets, before and after double hyphens and dashes, or before/between/after the periods of an ellipsis



Use Italics as follows:

  • When a person is dreaming, thinking, or reminiscing
  • When there is a background audio that is essential to the plot, such as a PA system or TV
  • The first time a new word is being defined
  • Off-screen  dialogue,  narrator, sound effects, or music
  • The off-screen narrator when there are multiple speakers onscreen or off-screen
  • Speaker identification when the captioned dialogue is in italics
  • Foreign words and phrases, unless they are in an English dictionary
  • When a particular word is heavily emphasized in speech
  • Do not italicize when a person who is off-screen is translating for a speaker who is onscreen






Additional Information


  • A description of sound effects, in brackets, should include the source of the sound. However, the source may be omitted if it can be clearly seen onscreen
  • The described sound effect should be on the first line of the caption, separate from the onomatopoeia
  • Described sound effects and onomatopoeia must be lowercased
  • Offscreen sound effects should be italicized, if italics are available
  • Place the description of the sound effect as close as possible to the sound source
  • Use punctuation to indicate speed or pace of sound
  • A sound represented by a repeated word is not hyphenated
  • A sound repeated by two different words is hyphenated
  • When describing a sustained sound, use the present participle from the verb
  • When describing an abrupt sound, use the third person verb form
  • Caption background sound effects only when they are essential to the plot


  • Never use the past tense when describing sounds

Sound effects are sounds other than music, narration or dialogue.


Background Music:

  • A description(in brackets) should be used for instrumental/background music when it’s essential to the understanding of the program
  • Off-screen background music description should be italicized
  • If possible, the description should include the performer/composer and the title
  • Use descriptions that indicate the mood
  • Be objective as possible
  • For a music that is not essential to the understanding of the program, place a music icon in the upper right corner of the screen


  • Avoid subjective words, such as “delightful”, ”beautiful,” or “melodic”
  • Nonessential background music should never be captioned at the expense of dialog
  • Do not caption background music with a duration under 5 seconds



  • Caption the lyrics verbatim
  • Lyrics should be introduced with the name of the artist and the title in brackets, if the presentation rate permits
  • Caption lyrics with music icons
  • Use one music icon at the beginning and end of each caption within a song, but use two music icons at the ned of the last line of a song
  • Space should be inserted after the beginning music icon and before the ending music icons








Additional Information

Intonation, Play on words, and No Audio

  •  If the speaker is not visible onscreen, or visual clues that denote the emotional state are not shown, indicate the speaker’s emotion
  • When a person is whispering, caption as: [whispering]
  • When feasible, describe puns
  • When people are seen talking, but there is no audio, caption as [no audio] or [silence]



Foreign Language, Dialect, Slang, and Phonetics

  • If possible, caption the actual foreign words.
  • If possible, use accent marks, diacritical marks, and other indicators
  • Indicate regional accent at the beginning of the first caption
  • Keep the flavour of the dialect
  • Caption profanity and slang if in the audio
  • When a word is spoken phonetically, caption it the way it is commonly written
  • If it is not possible to caption the foreign words, use a description (e.g., [speaking French]). Never translate into English


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