Subtitle translation (Transtool)

Subtitle translation (Transtool)

How to deal with Transtool for subtitlesEach Transtool segment represents one subtitle. The hard return breaks the subtitle in 2 lines.

Please follow these instructions on your translation, even if the original doesn't.


Length restrictions

  1. There is a maximum of lines per subtitle and characters per line. There is also a speed limitation in characters per second, based on the time the subtitle stays on screen. If you add too many characters in the translation and exceed any of these limitations, it will turn red. Then, you will need to condense and synthesize.

  2. Don’t use abbreviations to make the content fit in the length limitation (except for accepted ones like “km”). Note that these are not strings of a software. Subtitles need to be read very fast; the length limitations are for reading purposes, not for space restrictions. If you have too many characters, please condense and synthesize.

  3. Write your translation in only one line. If the window turns red, it means it exceeds the length limitations. Now it's time to choose where to split it. Never split the subtitle in two lines it if fits in one.

  4. If you need to use two lines, split the subtitle respecting the syntagmas. Find a syntactically natural place based on the following:

    The line should be broken:
    The line break should not separate:
    − after punctuation marks
    − before conjunctions
    − before prepositions

    − a noun from an article
    − a first name from a last name
    − a verb from a subject pronoun
    − a prepositional verb from its preposition

  5. Don't leave single words on the second line (nor the first line). There will be a more natural and balanced place where to break the subtitle:

  6. Don’t write the numbers in letters, they take a lot of space (characters) and are more difficult to read.

  7. Don’t delete parts of the sentences or syntagmas. The text must be correct and easy to read. For example, don’t remove articles before nouns. Again, if you have too many characters, please condense and synthesize. For example:


ExceptionsIn the same subtitle (never between two different subtitles), you can split the line in less convenient places:

  • To avoid leaving a single word in one of the lines
  • If there is no other way to keep the restrictions

You can exceed the length limit in 1 character if this will fix a segmentation issue.


Order of the subtitles/segmentsMatching the imagesRemember that the subtitle needs to reflect what is being said and shown in the video at that moment. So, please, keep the information in the same subtitle of the original. This means we can't move part of the content form one segment to the other in order to fit in the length restrictions:

Also, because in many cases the images will show what the subtitle is saying. If we change the order of the translation between segments, some important information will appear swapped and subtitle and images won't tally. Like the one below, where the image is showing a number and the subtitle shows a different one:


Continuity and punctuation between subtitlesDon’t use “…” to link two subtitles. They use too much space and are not necessary. Use the standard punctuation instead. If a subtitle needs to end in a coma, use a coma. If it needs to end without any punctuation, use no punctuation. If it ends up with a full stop, use the full stop and begin next subtitle with Caps.


Understanding Transtool with subtitle character restrictionsYou can see the restrictions on the bottom left corner.

There are 3 of them: Length, Width and Height.


LengthIt is calculated based on the reading speed (the time each particular subtitle displays on screen). It is variable and different on each segment.

In the example above, the maximum amount of characters allowed on the whole segment is 78. And there are 46 typed characters.


WidthIt is the maximum amount of characters allowed on each line and it is the same on the whole Transtool.

In the example above, the maximum amount of characters allowed on each line of the segment/subtitle is 40. And there are 22 typed characters on the first line and 24 on the second line.


HeightIt is the maximum amount of lines allowed on each segment/subtitle. It will be always 2 lines in the majority of jobs.

In the example above, there are 2 lines used out of the 2 allowed.