Q: How to punctuate my subtitles for automated dubbing?

Here are a few tips on how to improve the pronunciation of our digitized voices using simple punctuation, all by yourself:

  • Prepare your text ahead – Before running, review your text within a subtitles editor (like Subtitles Edit) and make sure that your text contains proper punctuation. A period at the end of each sentence, a comma every 6-8 words, a question mark or an exclamation mark could add a lot of character to the digitized voice
  • There is more to punctuation than . , ! and ? – Each character might have a different affect on timing in different voices. Some voices include pauses (each with different length) for – ; : ( ) ” ‘ and more (and in certain languages, e.g Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, etc. there are additional characters that are used for . and might deliver different pauses and emphasis). Furthermore, when people are speaking slowly, you might want to add extra punctuation (even if grammatically they are incorrect), in order to mimic the speaker’s dictation pace and pauses (or even split the subtitle to several ones, to get the timing of the pauses right – be sure to be aware that our engine considers a gap of less than 1 second (between 2 subtitles) as one consolidated subtitle, unless you end the first one with either a period, a question mark or exclamation mark), so use the English version of the punctuation if needed
  • Use the Dubbing Editor’s interactive preview – Within the dubbing editor, you can test your sentences syntax and try playing with them to get the best outcome. Once you modify the text in a subtitle, you can hit the play button on it’s right to instantly hear a revised version. Although the interactive preview plays it in a default speed (as acceleration must be calculated for the whole movie when a re-run is done), for this purpose, it works perfectly

Remember: Proper punctuation makes the voices sound more human. It doesn’t have to be grammatically correct, however it does need to sound like humans, and as we all know, humans do not normally speak over 8-12 words without taking a short pause, to breeze, or to make an emphasis.
E.g. there is a difference between: “A woman without her man is nothing”, and “A woman: without her, man is nothing.”
Make that difference clear for the digitized voice. It is just a software – it does not understand the content, unless you make sense of it for the voice.

As always, if that wasn’t clear enough – contact us and ask us directly. We’re here to help and improve. Please be as specific as possible (name the files involved, the subtitle line in question, the error you may found and the proposed change, and we’ll be in touch).