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TEXT:

Feature

DO’s

DON’Ts

Additional Information

CASE

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

 

 

 

FONT

USE:

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

Include:

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

 

DO NOT

  • 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.

LINE DIVISION

 

DO NOT BREAK:

  • 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.

CAPTION PLACEMENT

  • 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:

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

Feature

DO’s

DON’Ts

Additional Information

SPELLING AND CAPITALIZATION

  • 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

 

DO NOT:

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

 

 

PUNCTUATION AND GRAMMAR

Commas:

 

  • 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

 

 

 

Ellipses:

 

  • 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

 

 

Spacing:

  • 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
 

 

Italics:

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
 

 


SOUND EFFECTS AND MUSIC:

Feature

DO’s

DON’Ts

Additional Information

SOUND EFFECTS:

  • 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.

MUSIC

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

 

Lyrics:

  • 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

 

 

 

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS:

Feature

DO’s

DON’Ts

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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