What’s the difference between regular screenfonts and caption and subtitle fonts?

If you’re accustomed to the idea of screenfonts for your computer screen or your cellphone, what differences do you need to pay attention to when it comes to screenfonts for captions and subtitles? A handy guide for trainspotters and other obsessifs.

Issue “Classic” screenfonts Captions & subtitles
Reading environment Continuous (computers) or brief (cellphones) Continuous, but words appear and disappear or scroll
Foregrounds Typically black Typically white or yellow
Backgrounds Typically solid colour, usually white Usually overlaid on moving images
Masking Rare Common (as with Line 21, teletext, HDTV)
Available resolutions Usually moderate to high Usually low
Inclusion Usually intrinsic to the item (e.g., a written document) Usually applied after initial creation (e.g., a movie subtitled in postproduction)
Typical typefaces Custom-made Reused print fonts
Luminous or reflective? Usually luminous Usually luminous, occasionally reflective
Eye motions Normal saccadic reading with variations Normal saccadic reading continually reset and disrupted
Reader skills Usually nondisabled native speakers Usually a person with a disability (as with captioning – deaf readers) or a second-language speaker (as with subtitling – readers in translation)
Reader control Low to high (reader can often change size, sometimes font and colours) Low (reader can rarely change any aspect)
Technology-induced limitations Low (many characters and type attributes are available) Medium (many characters [like accents] and type attributes [like italics, bold, and small caps] are unavailable)
Character encoding Unicode or ISO Custom (though Unicode usage is increasing)
Onscreen vs. offscreen Onscreen Usually onscreen, but sometimes viewed offscreen (as with a reflector)
Aliasing Usually antialiased on modern computers, sometimes not Usually not antialiased (chief counterexample: video players on computers)
Pixel shapesTypically squareSquare, round, or rectangular (with multiple aspect ratios)
Designer acumen Medium to high Low
Scientific research basis Modest Nearly nonexistent
Taken seriously? Somewhat No

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What’s the difference between regular screenfonts and caption and subtitle fonts?