Let’s share the wealth of knowledge

Over the last 13 years of sleeping, eating and drinking closed captioning and subtitling, we’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge that only comes with time. In this page we try to try every bit of information that we have gathered that we believe will help our clients and vendors.

Please browse for some vital information along with some tricks of the trade that only come with more than a decade of being in this business. There are the standard FAQs, but also below you will find downloadable sample, forms, videos, different caption and subtitle files and many more things that will help you in understanding everything with closed captioning and subtitling and scripts.

Resources For Producers

Resources For Vendors

FAQ

Closed Captioning

At minimum, we need a video to work with. If you have a transcript of your program, you can submit that to save on the cost of transcription.
Production scripts are always welcome, and very useful in the creation of captions. However, a production script, while helpful, is typically not accurate enough to be used for captioning due to changes made to dialogue during filming.
“Closed” or “Open” refers to whether the captions can be turned off or not. With closed captioning, the caption data is encoded so that you can toggle it on or off through your television. Open captions are burned into the video image, meaning there’s no option to turn them off. We can help with either delivery!
A transcript of your program is broken down and timed by our team of expert captioners. In addition to syncing the transcript with the spoken dialogue, they also create the captions for maximum readability. After the program is captioned, it is quality checked by a skilled editor. Once completed, we provide a variety of delivery options!
We can export any of the standard caption and subtitle files, including but not limited to, SCC, Cheetah CAP, SRT, and more. We can also encode your video with open captions, or deliver specialized AAF subtitle files for Avid systems, for an additional cost. If you need a file type that you don’t see here, ask! We can almost certainly accommodate anything you may need.

Subtitling

While subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) are nearly identical to closed captions, for the most part subtitles are intended for someone who can hear, but cannot speak the language spoken in a program. As such, subtitles will typically not include speaker identification for an offscreen speaker, sound effects, or music symbols. Additionally, any pertinent onscreen text will be translated and subtitled as well, which is not the case for captions.
While we have a default style for subtitles, you have the option to customize several attributes, such as font, size, outline (size, color, lack thereof), or whether or not it has a background or drop shadow.
You can either provide us with a foreign translation, which we will time to your video, or we can translate it for you using one of our dozens of expert translators.

Transcription

The answer to that question is, “do you want us to?” In a scripted film or television program, you want transcription to be 100% accurate to the sound, as the assumption is any of these verbal pauses are intentional. However, if you’re transcribing an interview, for maximum readability, you most likely will not.
Any format you need! We can customize your transcript to your specifications. For some examples of our standard formats, check out our samples. Please note that some specialized transcription formats are available at an additional cost.

Translation

To ensure the best quality of the final product, we use only experienced translators who speak the target language as their mother tongue.
A “pass” means a native speaker of the target language working with the original material. A “one pass” translation means a native speaker of the target language translated the original material and proofread their work. A “two pass” translation means that after the first pass, a second native speaker reviews the original text and the translated text, to make sure the translation is as accurate and natural as possible.

Translation is similar to creative writing. Language has connotation and tone ambiguities that make translation a job where two heads are better than one. Translation involves a lot of judgement calls, and just as two different writers may write completely different sentences with similar meanings, two different translators can interpret a text differently. If twenty people looked at the same piece, the twentieth person may still find a phrase that he/she feels could be better translated. Using multiple translators ensures the highest quality, most natural translation possible.
Not at all! Translators that specialize in subtitling are excellent at making the most concise translations possible, because often a translation is longer than the original material, and in the case of subtitles, you must conform to line limits and character limits. Translators that specialize in dubbing scripts will be concerned with ensuring the rhythm and line length is even more similar. With films and television shows, translators have to be creative and consistent — interpreting the writers’ and actors’ choices and then conveying that in their translation.
At the very minimum, we need the video/audio, or the written document if there is no audio/video. To save on transcription costs, feel free to submit an accurate written transcript along with your audio/video.

Scripts

CCSL stands for Combined Continuity and Spotting List. The combined continuity side will include a time code for every camera shot, with a description of the continuity (action), and optionally, any dialogue spoken. The spotting list side includes all dialogue, music, and sound effects, structured as it would appear as captions, with speaker (and, if desired, subject) identification.

Post-production scripts are usually a requirement for submitting a program for distribution/broadcast. They can be used as a map for technical work later, including subtitling, dubbing, and visual descriptions. In addition, they serve as a written documentation of every shot, every line, and every sound of a program, for legal and copyright purposes.
For the most accurate CCSL possible, we recommend submitting a production script along with your video. For an additional savings, you can provide an exact transcript of the dialogue. We will take care of the rest!
A dialogue list is a document that includes a timecode for each new speaker, and a speaker identification. We can also customize dialogue lists to your particular need (for example, if you need a dialogue list with language annotations for translation)
A spotting list is a document that includes time code information for every caption in a program. You have the option to include in/start time code, out/stop time code, duration, speaker identification, subject identification, and voice over indication, in addition to the spoken dialogue and sound effects.
With language annotation, a skilled editor reads every word of a text, and creates a detailed document that helps with creating the most accurate translation possible. This may involve explaining puns, jokes, and wordplay that won’t translate directly to another language, explaining the use of a famous quote, and giving context to cultural or historical references. Language annotation helps create rich, accurate, and natural translations.