• Before you start translating subtitles for a video, we recommend you watch the video to gain a better understanding of its context, tone, and style.
  • When dealing with dialects, choose words and phrases that are most commonly understood across the language. Likewise, if a language has multiple words for the same thing, choose the word that is most commonly understood and most relevant to the video. For example, if the target language has multiple ways of saying life, choose the way that is most commonly understood across the language and conveys the most similar meaning used in the video.
  • It’s not necessary to translate each subtitle individually, word for word. Instead, use wording or phrasing that captures the overall concept of the video.
  • Localize translations. If a concept or idiom is referenced that’s not familiar in your country or language, use a different term that makes more sense. For example, if you were translating for a European audience, you would replace soccer with football.


Subtitle Line Length

  • Keep subtitle length to about 42 characters per line.
  • Avoid more than 2 line breaks per subtitle.

Subtitle Duration

  • Duration of subtitles should not be shorter than 1 second.
  • Duration of subtitles should not be longer than 7 seconds.

Reading Speed

  • For adults, a speed of 8–25 characters per second is recommended.
  • For children, a speed of 8–16 characters per second is recommended.

Sounds and Music

  • Describe relevant sounds to the plot.

Example: (water dripping)

  • Differentiate between spoken and sung audio, such as musical lyrics. With sung audio, add musical characters around the subtitled text.

Example: ♪ I am a child of God ♪

  • Describe music without lyrics.

Example: ♪ (prelude piano hymn) ♪ or ♪ (jazz music) ♪

Speaker Identification

  • Use parentheses () to indicate when someone is speaking offscreen.

Example:    (Michael) Wait for me!

  • If two speakers are talking in the same subtitle—during a conversation, for example—use one line per speaker and use a hyphen at the beginning of each line to indicate each speaker.


-Have you heard about the gospel of Jesus Christ?
-Yes! I’m a Latter-day Saint too!