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Subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

Subtitles adapted for people who are deaf and hard of hearing

Would you like to make your audiovisual production accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing? Babel Subtitling is there to help you adapt your film by creating subtitles that are targeted for this audience.


Subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing or SDH, is used for people who have impaired hearing. The subtitles need to be easier to read than interlingual (foreign language) subtitles because the viewers have little or no access to the sounds of the programme. Subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing aim to communicate the oral message in written form. Therefore it doesn’t involve translating one foreign language into another, but rather changing the communication channel and type of language used. This means that it’s necessary to adapt the dialogue as well as give brief descriptions on any sound effects, music, or where a sound is coming from.


Generally speaking, subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing summarise what is heard as words can rarely be transcribed as such when we respect the viewer’s reading speed which is really important in SDH.


Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing specifically provide information on:

  • the type of conversation (on screen dialogue, voice-over, off-screen dialogue);
  • the overall atmosphere of the clip;
  • whether there is any music or not and its mood;
  • sound effects and what they are;
  • speaker identification and where sound effects or music is coming from.

To do this, we use a colour code, as well as guidelines for typography and specific text positioning.


We currently essentially work from French into French.


Surtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing is also available in French and Dutch.



Babel Subtitling

  • Subtitling for the deaf