The timing of captions is important to the viewer experience. Out-of-sync captions are confusing and can be misleading.

  • Each caption should start at the same time as the first word of the caption starts in the audio. Captions should reflect what is being said during that caption’s time on screen.
  • Each caption should not appear on screen for longer than 10 seconds.
  • The minimum caption duration is 1 second.
  • Each caption should be on screen long enough to be read comfortably by the viewer. Captions with many words, therefore, need to remain on screen longer than captions with few words.
    In some cases with fast dialogue, it is acceptable to start a large caption slightly early or end it slightly late to ensure it is on screen long enough to be read comfortably.
  • Captions should start and end within 1 second of audible speech. Captions describing non-speech sounds and music should have a maximum duration of 5 seconds.

Need help with timing? Check the Simple Caption Editor User Guide.

More questions? See our Recorded Captioning Style Guide.

Updated on September 6, 2018

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