News Archive

Big 4 challenges to create the best subtitles

Challenges for Subtitles

Have you ever watched a foreign film with the subtitles in your native language? Have you ever longed for a new episode with subtitles of your favorite series? Subtitles somehow changed the way people entertain when they do not have to wait for the time-consuming voiceover to enjoy their favorite show. That’s how subtitles become more and more popular, but it is not easy to create high-quality subtitles. As an insider in subtitling, SK Translate will show you 4 obstacles of subtitling: Space restrictions, Time restrictions, Multi-speakers, and The quality of subtitles!

Space restrictions

The subtitles should not cover too much sceen space not to cover the videos’ images. Consequently, experts in multimedia have set several limits regarding the number of characters per line. They specify the maximum number of lines per subtitle and the maximum number of characters per line. For example, two lines are the maximum number per subtitle and there are no more than 35 characters per line.

Time restrictions

The problem is the subtitle must appear on the screen around the same time as the speech. However, it must also be shown in an appropriate time so that the viewers can read the full text. Therefore, subtitle creators should take reading speed into account when subtitling. Reading speed also varies with different audiences like children, adults or the elders, for example, people cannot read the same amount of words in 6 seconds. On average, the reading speed is about 3 words per second, which means that people needs about 4 seconds to read 2 lines of subtitle with 70 characters.


Translated or not, videos with multi-speakers are really challenging to insert subtitles. It also relates to space restrictions and time restrictions. Screen space and pacing are the problems, you have to make sure the corresponding text is visible as people are speaking and that readers can finish each subtitle before the next one appears.

Things get even more challenging when you have to deal with fast-paced conversations, arguments or debates of 5 people. Again, planning your subtitling services in advance can be useful here but it’s not always an option – especially for non-scripted recordings. You might have to adapt your translations or consider switching to voiceovers if the pace is too fast to keep up with.

The quality of subtitles

In terms of quality of subtitles, we should care about 2 main matters: the quality of the translation and the aestheticism. We should consider the font, the size, and the color of the subtitle. With karaoke subtitles, we should also consider the effect of the subtitles.

Why choose the Subtitling service of SK Translate?
– Professional  workflow, meeting all needs from customers
– Project progress is always committed thanks to project management specialists, moderators.
– Quality of translations, subtitles is guaranteed through QA and QC progresses, proven through many successful projects of major partners, such as DOJI, Qantas Airlines, Vingroup,etc.

Get free quote

Get a free quote