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Captioning Key - Speaker Identification

Establishing the identity of both onscreen and offscreen speakers is vital for clarity.

  • When possible, use caption placement to identify an onscreen speaker by placing the caption under the speaker.
  • Do not identify the speaker by name until the speaker is introduced in the audio or by an onscreen text/graphic.
  • When a speaker cannot be identified by placement and his/her name is known, the speaker's name should be in parentheses.

    The speaker's name needs to be on a line of its own, separate from the captions.

    Correct Example

    (Jack)
    I don't see how blasting
    would work on this building.
  • When a speaker cannot be identified by placement and his/her name is unknown, identify the speaker using the same information a hearing viewer has.

    Correct Examples

    (female #1)
    I'm happy.

    (male narrator)
    That is wonderful!

  • If a speaker is offscreen and his/her offscreen position is known, place the captions to the far right or left, as close as possible onscreen to the offscreen speaker's assumed position.
  • If there are multiple speakers and only one narrator, identify as (female narrator) or (male narrator) at the beginning of the media. It is not necessary to identify gender for each caption thereafter.
  • When an actor is portraying another person or character, identify the actor as the person being portrayed.

    Correct Example

    (as George Washington)
    If the freedom of speech
    is taken away,

    then dumb and silent
    we may be led,

    like sheep
    to the slaughter.
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Tags: captioning-key