Videos are the order of the day for most of us: multimedia is growing into an increasingly useful and diverse resource. Sometimes, viewers can’t turn on their speakers to enjoy video dialogues, more so when at work or out in public. So the next best move is to add captions with reader-friendly subtitle font to all your content.

For footage makers, it’s essential to understand the critical role of subtitles to an audience. These captions should improve the viewer’s access to a video’s audio content.

Subtitles also help increase a video’s accessibility by making:

  • the dialogues more friendly to the deaf and hard of hearing
  • storylines easier to comprehend
  • content consumable in multiple languages

With that in mind, you would like to create subtitles that help cater to your audience’s needs. Therefore, your caption creator and editor should spend quality time searching and choosing the right font for the video, depending on its use.

Moreover, you should adhere to standard practices for any other clip to ensure the final product appeals to the general public.

Moving forward, this post will discuss critical subtitle font topics to help you make an informed decision.

In this article;

  1. The factors to consider when choosing fonts
  2. Why the font type matter
  3. How to decide the perfect font position
  4. Tips for picking fonts based on the language
  5. Subtitling mistakes to avoid

Factors to Consider when Choosing Subtitle Font

Adding subtitles seems like a DIY job until you try it and plunge into problems such as poorly positioned captions or text that viewers must strain to see. Fortunately, professional video makers consider several factors before deciding which fonts to add to a clip.

Think of a visually impaired viewer consuming your video content and the best ways to make the texts or words visible.

You also want to check how your subtitle color contrasts with the background and whether the captions block access to important video content.

Further, consider the content’s recipient platform and how the final captions will appear when you finally post it.

Such factors should be your guiding light when creating and editing fonts for your new video. Remember,  this process should be done and redone to ensure the right size, positioning, color, and adherence to all other standards.  To achieve desirable results, hire a professional subtitling company or practice with many videos.

Six Factors in Choosing the Perfect Subtitle Font

●      Text Clarity

Text clarity is vital in subtitling; it impacts caption readability. Thus, consider stuff like the spacing between words and letters.

Moreover, check how easy it is to read each word and that each expression makes sense.

Inevitably, decide between

  • bold and thin fonts
  • italics and straight fonts

based on what works for your specific clip.

●      Color

Color can be the difference between a nightmare and well-thought-out subtitle font. The wrong approach can threaten to ruin the whole subtitle experience.

Remember, this text appears in front of video clips, so you must choose a color that maintains text readability despite the changing background lighting and effects.

●      Subtitle-Video color contrast

As hinted above,  subtitles must contrast nicely with the background-clip to ensure consistent captions throughout the video.

●      Does it work on multiple platforms?

Choosing a font that works well on multiple platforms is essential in increasing its accessibility. This means viewers can enjoy the subtitle regardless of the device or online-streaming website.

●      Readability

Your captions should be readable, even with the lighting effects in your clip. Text spacing, alignment, and how they appear as dialogues unfold can also impact readability.

●      Placement

Positioning is essential when adding subtitles to a clip.

While you don’t want to strain viewers by hiding subtitles at the end of the footage, it’s also crucial to ensure subtitles don’t appear in front of important video content.

Plus, not all positions will work for you, depending on where you plan to use or post your videos.

Why Does the Subtitle Font Type Matter?

Because multimedia files are consumed as on-the-go content, you want to keep everything simple for your audience. A streaming viewer has a matter of seconds to catch up with the subtitles that appear at the bottom of the screen; using calligraphy-like letters can only slow them down and ruin the whole captioning.

Go for formal-looking, easy-to-read styles that make sense to everyone out there. Below are some of the top ten fonts to consider when embedding captions to new footage.

Top ten fonts for video subtitles

  1. Arial
  2. Times New Roman
  3. Lucida Grande.
  4. STIX General.
  5. Verdana.
  6. Cambria
  7. Helvetica Neue
  8. Futura.
  9. Calibri
  10. Tahoma

Video makers can choose from many other options.  However, a special rule of thumb is to avoid anything too technical or calligraphic.

subtitle font

How to Decide the Perfect Subtitle Font Position

Most video makers place subtitles at the screen’s bottom.  This is a standard practice because that lower section displays graphics that do not matter to viewers.

When focusing captions on the lower part, it’s crucial to place it centrally, so the watcher’s eye doesn’t have to move across the screen to read a caption.

But while this approach works for movies and other videos, placing captions at the screen’s bottom is an excellent choice for commercial videos. This section usually hosts vital company information such as the Facebook or Twitter handles, announcements, and other social media information.

Hence, it’s best to add captions at the top instead of covering vital video info with subtitles in such situations.

Again, if you choose the latter, arrange all texts strategically to block vital video graphics.

Choosing the Best Font for Multiple Languages

The next concern is selecting a subtitle font that’s recognizable in most languages. Remember, your video is more accessible if more languages identify with your font. For example, the Neue Frutiger World is recognized in over 140 languages globally.

Such fonts are known as universal fonts; they allow users to enjoy clips with two or more subtitles in various languages but similar fonts.

Failure to use a multi-language font will leave boxes (□□□) instead of letters, which can ruin the viewer’s experience.

Subtitling & Subtitle Font Mistakes to Avoid

As hinted throughout the post, the audience should be your priority when adding subtitles to a video clip.

After spending quality time creating the perfect footage for your viewers, it only makes sense to complement accurate subtitling.

In captioning, every detail matters, from spelling and punctuation, to more complex issues like sentence length, font type, and caption placement. Today’s video consumers are accustomed to turning on the CC feature, so any wording that seems out of place can ruin the video experience.

Other times, your caption mistakes contribute to some of the funniest memes and circulate social media. Though some say “no publicity is bad publicity,” wrong captioning can take a toll and your brand image. Some errors cause confusion and misinformation, leading to an overall dip in the company’s rating.

In a nutshell, subtitles can be the difference between an excellent video and a tainted reputation. However, learning these mistakes upfront ensures you optimize the captions to viewer-friendly standards.

7 Subtitling Errors to Evade

1.     Translating word for word

Avoid translating word for word when adding subtitles to accommodate a multilingual audience. Because words mean different things in different lingo, such grave mistakes can make your video lose its entire meaning.

For instance, you can’t use a word for word translation for metaphoric quotes or risk ending with wording that’s confusing to your users.

To avoid such trouble,  hire a professional proficient in both languages. This reduces the likelihood of translation errors.

2.     Difficult-to-read Texts

Anything illegible further limits your video’s accessibility, especially if the focus is to translate audio to a different language.

Remember, your subtitle font impacts text readability along with factors like spacing, font size & thickness, and caption placement.

You also want to strike the perfect background-subtitle color contrast to ease access to the text despite the changing video graphics and lighting.

Lastly, choose a universal font that’s compatible with multiple languages to reduce the likelihood of subtitle failure.

3.     Using the same formatting for all dialogues

Using the same font style (and color) for the entire video clip is the wrong approach. Clip makers must strive to use different font formatting strategies for the various characters in the video. This improves access to captions and eliminates confusion.

4.     Poor sentence breaks

Captions should appear in sync with the dialogues and narrations.  Break only after the end of a complete sentence or phrase. Breaking text at random places can cause reading difficulty and comprehension problems among viewers.

Thus, focus on synchronizing your subtitles with the video narrations and conversations to improve your footage’s accessibility.

5.     Punctuation Errors

Choosing the right subtitle font doesn’t suffice. It’s mandatory to punctuate your video accurately by adding commas, exclamation marks,  full stops, and so on.

Punctuation helps readers make sense of the appearing video captions. A misplaced mark can cause misunderstanding or threaten to compromise your message’s quality.

6.     Poor timing

Adding captions that aren’t in sync with the video dialogues is the worst mistake.  When subtitles appear earlier or later than conversations, a viewer struggles to understand the situation.

Spend quality time checking the timing and make corrections in cases where the conversations and subtitles are out of sync.

7.     Wrong placement

Lastly,  subtitle positioning can make or break the audience’s experience.  While you don’t want the text to block the video action in your clip, it’s also essential to make the subtitles conspicuous and accessible to all readers.

If your footage’s bottom section contains vital company information or video content, add captions at the top without blocking actual video content.

Still, if you choose to use the bottom section, make sure the user’s eye doesn’t strain to capture the texts.

Remember, the goal is to use reasonably short sentences and have everything centrally-placed for on-the-go access.

 The Bottom Line

Today’s clip makers and editors will tell you that footage isn’t ready for public consumption until you’ve done proper captioning.

Remember, well-placed subtitles and captions help consumers get the most out of your footage.

They also help iron out inaudible areas, eliminate confusion and make your content friendly to a multilingual audience.

That being said, it’s crucial to involve a subtitling expert from Bunny Studios when choosing a subtitle font for your video.