Question about the use of the hyphen (-)

Hi, everybody! Nina is back to ask questions about my doubts.

I’ve been on Viki for a while, but I never tire of learning from everyone here. Usually we use the hyphen (-) or dash (—) to separate characters lines, the correct way would be to separate them like this (example):

-I love you.
-I love you too.

Or like this

- I love you.
- I love you too.

Is that space you give in the sentence after the hyphen (- hi) the right one? Or don’t have a specific rule about that?

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The Em dash ( — ) is used when someone is interrupted and comes directly after the last thing he/she said: Where are—

When 2 people are speaking in 1 segment, we use hyphens, surrounded by spaces: - Hello


Should there be a space after a hyphen?

Since hyphen is clearly used here at viki site lately to separate two speakers, a space is definitely needed after the hyphen. Just by looking at it you can see how much better it looks, which common sense tells us adding a space is necessary after the hyphen.

This is done on netflix too, and with all honesty it doesn’t look too neat lol
– He said I was to be blamed for that.(double space) - It was never your fault

I hope you never confuse a Dash with a Hyphen. A dash is used here at viki site mainly when the speaker are interrupted therefore it requires no space. Hope this helps.

PS. I hope this is what you was talking about the new way I see lately the subtitles in dramas in other sites and even here at viki.

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Nina, just remember that (—) in Portuguese has different use. We use (…) to interruptions. (

All dramas I’ve seen here used hyphen with space to dialogues.


In dialogues with different speakers you already use the -br- to format and need to use a blank before and after so, no no blank after the hyphen and the dialogue is how Viki advises.

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Sim, é que em alguns dramas usam o travessão quando dois personagens estão falando - ao invés do hífen- , não sei se ainda fazem isso, por isso coloquei como exemplo.

I’ve seen it, and I’ve also been part of teams that used the dash, I use the hyphen anyway, but I get it just fine! Thanks :grin:


Note: I couldn’t use the hyphen as an example because the text formatting didn’t allow it, when I tried to put it as an example it turned my hyphen into a bulleted list :grimacing:


Hi there. The information others provide here for translating is helpful – thanks.
Here are a few examples to apply. Also, there are YouTube videos that can explain any of these “rules” in clear and easy to understand terms.

  1. Use a hyphen to join two or more words together: one-way, get-together, right-handed, and so on. NOT using a hyphen can change the meaning of a sentiment.
    Use a hyphen to separate numbers between 21 and 99 that are spelled out: twenty-five, ninety-nine, and so on.
    Some people with two surnames may also use a hyphen: Rodriguez-Torres, Smith-Torres.
    Hyphens are not separated by spaces, while a dash has a space on either side.
    [Even though to MY eye, it looks better with a space ; ) ]
  2. Dashes: Most commonly used in place of “to” or “through” when showing a range of values, such as a span of time, dates or numbers.
    8–10 p.m.
    The score was 7–21
    Some words that also use dashes are Democrat–Republican debate, Denver–based, and South–North highway.
    Again, more examples are available on YouTube videos. A dictionary is always, of course, helpful.

@evelyn_martins @ninafk19

Well, when my daughter is writing a script or a story she used the hyphen (-) to separate two dialogues, but I also see subtitles in dramas and movies now with a hyphen (-) (space) sentence/dialogue [then second person in that same line] (hyphen) (space) dialogue/sentence.

Whether is correct or not, is debatable. In all honesty it looks too messy to me, and I’m not a fan of this new thing going on in dramas/movies.

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If you want the hyphen to appear instead of the bullet: click the hyphen twice.

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In written content (books, articles, magazines), I have seen quotation marks ("), en dash (–), and the em dash (⁠—). It is a matter of style.

When I first started working with subtitles, I did have this estrangement regarding using the hyphen. But it makes sense — at least with Brazilian keyboards —, because it is the only one that doesn’t need using ctrl or fn.

Ps: To talk about punctuation is complicated. Grammar rules of English don’t always apply to every language (I’m here as a Brazilian Portuguese speaker and teacher). While editing English subtitles, it is very valid, but some tips need to be considered with a lot of caution when editing another language file.


Yes! you hit it right on the spot.

Grammar rules of English don’t always apply to every language (I’m here as a Brazilian Portuguese speaker and teacher).

But remember that when you are writing in English you have to follow the English Grammar rules; not the ones from your country. In Brazilian Portuguese sentences/subtitles you follow the gramas rules you know as the teacher that you are. I was the moderator of a drama and a Brazilian Portuguese subber left the drama bc I corrected certain things and I stopped once I realized the grammar usage was different so I respected that.

We must never say you(we) are right, and I’m (they are) wrong. We need to do our research or better yet, we must communicate better, and explain why we use (…) instead of dash (-) like you explained to @ninafk19. I liked the fact that you never said to nina is this way [you have to do it] You stated in your sentence with ''in Brazilian Portuguese etc…etc… (and you also provided a helpful link). I’ll be looking in to it bc I love learning rules of grammar according to the origin country.

We as teachers understand that what applies in your country might be wrong in mine, so common sense dictates we just follow the rules of grammar according to the rules in that specific language. It may be extra work but extra work that in the long run is worthwhile. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.


You are so right! That is why it is great that there are editors from different countries. I really like learning all of the different rules and uses.

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I thought none of us did it like that! I’ve been working here since 2016 and I’ve never seen this thing, at least in the English.
And these “General tips” from Viki shouldn’t be taken as the word of the deity, especially in those details.
I personally think that the space is needed. It’s always put in books, for instance.


I’m glad my topic is getting so many responses, understanding another volunteer’s point of view (no matter the nationality) is always great, it’s an amazing experience, thanks for all the responses, I will read everything! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Hey angelight, were you in the drama The Girl’s Speech? I was co-moderating the Spanish because I remember that the Spanish subtitles were still incomplete. I remember at the time I tried to communicate in Spanish with the crew (and honestly, my Spanish was terrible), but you (I think it was you) sent me a very nice message alerting me about my Spanish, I never forgot it (I just don’t know if it was you or another volunteer, but your nickname looks familiar)

But, it is very true, for me to want to debate about the grammar of another language, I need to have all the necessary knowledge, that’s why I don’t opine about it, because I know that I need to learn a lot, and learn even my own language if I want to learn another language first.

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Yes, I worked with you in The Girl’s Speech [I loved that drama]. I believed you was using translator to communicate in Spanish with me, so I wrote to you about the stuff that was wrong so you can correct the sentence. I use to warn people about the use of translators, and how ineffective they were (back then translators were really bad in any language) some people were nice enough and apologetic like you, but others got offended and insulted me lol

It was nice working with you, and I’m glad we were able to finish the whole drama for the pleasure of the viewers. Yes, the subject of grammar is very complicated, and sadly some people assume they know it all by reviewing certain stuff, and won’t listen to any suggestion, but I’m glad you were always receptive in a very positive way in everything I told you and was never argumentative. Different countries have different rules in grammar, and we need to understand that and work around that instead of assuming they did it wrong.


Since I’m no master of English, I don’t engage in such activities in projects here. I leave this to the natives and experts. I can only say something about what I know. I’m exposing my thoughts here, but regarding En-Ptbr translations, I no longer point mistakes I caught. Most of the moderators don’t accept others’ opinions or knowledge.

Anyway, any language requires non-stop studying. Even my college teachers had to open their grammar books once in a while. Anyone doing translation activities and didn’t open a grammar book or a dictionary in the last seven days needs to rethink their approach.



I’m glad you pointed that here since I’ve experienced the same thing in the past. Well, several things that irks me, and I had to endure in the past. I swear, some of these moderators that don’t accept other’s opinion and knowledge is because they let the position (CM/Mod/etc…) get to their head, and think they even own this site. They are too good to receive/accept constructive criticism (that by the way was fair bc we are telling them what we know/we are not making it up). I guess they see that as competition, when we are just sharing what we know with them.

I always research everything I want to discuss with others when it comes to grammar because I want to make sure I’m not giving the wrong information since some things do get updated. I also didn’t want to ever make the same mistake I did back years ago, when I corrected something my Brazilian Portuguese volunteer did, and the person was right, and I was the one who was wrong. I learned my lesson well, and I apologize and asked the person to come back to the drama.

I also believe that some people here think that what they learned during their college years centuries ago are set on stone, and they never bother to pick up a book, dictionary or do research as to what is available for us to enrich our knowledge by learning from others, from resources available in the internet also. I see a lot of copy and paste information and they use it as is their own, but we have a way here to find out if what they wrote is plagiarized. I have caught several here doing just that, but I let them deal with their conscience on their own. In the long run, one day it will come back to bite them in their a** if they don’t stop doing that.