Standard colors for subtitles?
Thread poster: José Henrique Lamensdorf

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:56
English to Portuguese
+ ...
May 24, 2012

In Brazil, the standard color for video subtitles is pure yellow, with a black outline on the letters. This pervades all TV channels, commercial video, etc., though now and then I see white subtitles, with or without the black outline.

Most subtitles I see from the USA are white instead. The black outline is not as frequent as in Brazil. So whenever I translate and subtitle into English, I use white letters instead, .

Now I'll have to subtitle a video in Spanish (not with my translation, of course!), and I wonder whether there is any standard, or at least a trend, for the colors used in subtitles for Spanish, most likely Latin America, no specific country.

Please be welcome to use this thread to create a reference for color standards in subtitles for other countries as well.

Off-topic question: In the former Soviet Union, were subtitles red?
Answer: No. In the rare cases they allowed foreign films to be shown there, they used lectoring!icon_biggrin.gif


Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:56
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
In Spain I see yellow May 24, 2012

I don't have knowledge about standards, I guess I'd ask the client for preferences, but when I watch Spanish TV, I see yellow subtitling. Without outlining, at least it seems to me. I find this yellow colour much more helpful rather than white, like we have in Portugal, for yellow is seen on any colour, dark or light, except of yellow itself, of courseicon_smile.gif


Local time: 14:56
English to French
In France... May 25, 2012

In France, subtitles used to be yellow as well, and sometimes white. Now they are white as a rule, especially with Ceefax (multilingual) broadcasting. As far as I know, other colors are for hearing impaired specific subtitles, using color codes.


Margarita Díaz  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:56
French to Spanish
+ ...
Spain May 25, 2012

I work with sutitles for Spanish televisions and, mostly, it depends on the client, but, nowadays there is a tendence towards white text outlined in black. In Galician TV we use white text outlined in black for colored programs and yellow text outlined in black for black and white programs, classic films, basically, and programs where the main part of the image is in very light colours.

Happy translating!


[Editado a las 2012-05-25 09:56 GMT]


Monica Paolillo
Local time: 14:56
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Same in Italy May 25, 2012



United Kingdom
Local time: 13:56
+ ...
It varies in the UK Jun 12, 2012

Most DVD or open subtitling/captioning is done in white, either with a box of varying opacity or with an outline. Yellow is occasionally used too.

Teletext or closed captioning varies depending on the subtitling house style, some using the same colour to identify a major character throughout a programme or even a series, while others switch between white and yellow to indicate a change of speaker. Normally, only white, yellow, cyan and green are used against a black background, but I have seen one company using magenta, and and I've seen white on either a red or blue background used to indicate a sound effect.


Priscila Rossi
Local time: 10:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Subtitles Jun 12, 2012

White with black lining!


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Standard colors for subtitles?

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