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TABLE OF CONTENT

     Translation/Adaptation

     Voice Casting & Performance

     Recording

     Editing

     Mixing

     Resources

 

TRANSLATION/ADAPTATION

  • Colloquialisms

    • We want our audiences to relate to the content they are watching and the message to resonate with the same intention as the original voice (“OV”). Unless the content is a period piece or the use of language in the OV is different from the way people talk nowadays, we suggest dubbing translators utilize colloquial language when the content justifies it.
  • Censorship

    • Our mission is to honor the original creative intent as much as possible with our dubbed versions. Dialogue (including expletives) should be rendered as faithfully as possible, without using dialect or words that would otherwise introduce a level of obscenity not implied in the content. We strongly encourage dubbing adapters to not soften or censor any cursing or profanities used in the OV (with adherence/respect to local laws). 
  • Lip Sync & Intent

    • Perfect lip-sync is a goal we want our dubbing partners to constantly pursue, however, we don’t want to sacrifice the message and intention of the OV by prioritizing perfect lip-sync. The original intent of the dialogue is our priority and we lean on the expertise of dubbing translators/adapters to make judgment calls when both attributes can’t be achieved. 
  • Sensitive & Inclusive terminology

    • Inclusion and Diversity (“I&D”) are priorities for Netflix and while we have made considerable progress, we are still learning how to better communicate our needs and expectations to the dubbing community. When I&D topics appear in our content, Netflix’s dubbing team will provide guidance and support to make sure we are representing the original characters in the best way possible. For titles where Netflix does not provide guidance we expect our partners to proactively make efforts to find representation and cultivate new talents. This also extends to finding correct terms for translation of gender, ethnicity, and religion.
  • Established Intellectual Property & Franchises

    • Some of our shows are or will be based on established intellectual property (“IP”) that has been translated for other forms of content (video games, books). The dubbing team will provide which sources should be utilized as key references in order to be consistent across the board. If for some reason Netflix is not aware of a local translation we expect our partners to flag this to us. For the titles that we won’t be providing references or guidance for, we expect our partners to proactively research and define what will work best for the content in their respective language. 
  • Research

    • Some of our films and series utilize vocabulary specific to the topic that is not necessarily in the common vernacular. We want to encourage our studio partners to assign translators and adapters with existing knowledge/experience needed for these titles, and/or to have them research extensively to make sure the same level of verbal expertise exists in our dubbed versions. This also extends to making sure the director, actors and all other stakeholders are aware of pronunciations and meanings of special terms and topics. Please reach out to the local dubbing team to collaborate and share knowledge & context for the best results. 

VOICE CASTING & PERFORMANCE

  • Creative Director

    • We would like our studio partners to be as thoughtful about selecting the creative team as producers are for the original version. Translators, adapters, (casting) directors, and other dub creative disciplines should be identified and secured based on qualifications or specialties for that genre or topic of the film/series. We know production schedules can make this challenging, so please reach out to Netflix to assess flexibility in dates as necessary.
    • We want to ensure creative oversight/guidance is provided during the Voice Casting recording sessions. Ideally, the Dubbing Director assigned to the title should be present during all Voice Casting sessions, but when this is not possible due to schedule conflict or any other circumstance, we want our dubbing partners to assign a secondary Casting or Dubbing Director for the Voice Casting recordings and not leave it to the audio engineer or studio staff to direct these sessions. 
  • Age & Gender

    • Casting for the dubbed version should uphold the original creative intent and provide an immersive and authentic experience for the viewer. Please do your best to cast talent that would have a common understanding of the character’s background and challenges. Please explore both adult and minor casting pools and make selections based on both creative intent and performance quality.
  • Voice Match & Performance

    • Achieving both attributes is ideal but sometimes might not be realistic. Voice matching is important but creating an immersive experience for our audiences is our first priority. Unless voice match with the original is imperative to that experience because of the partial use of original audio, we will prioritize capturing the best performance in order to create the most credible experience for the audience. Dubbing Directors and Partners will be guided in such scenarios by Netflix’s dubbing team as needed. 
  • Musicals

    • In content where songs are required to be dubbed, the ideal expectation is for the dubbing actors to be able to perform the songs. However, when voice actors are not able to sing, our guideline is to cast a singer that matches the dubbing actor to make sure there is voice consistency between the dubbed dialogues and the songs. 

  • Pronunciation & Delivery

    • We want to ensure that all the dialogue is intelligible enough to be easily understood, but we don’t want the actor’s delivery to be compromised because of this. It’s okay to have less than perfect enunciation when recording action/intense sequences or to have a muted projection in quiet, intimate scenes. Pronunciation should be as natural as possible and the delivery should match the on-screen talent performances. 
    • Accents should only be recreated if pertinent to plot, character, or dialogue/humor. They should always be recreated as authentically as the original actor created them. In these scenarios, reach out to Netflix Dubbing for further clarification if needed.
  • Breaths/efforts/reactions

    • Long sequences with solely breaths and efforts can potentially be lifted from the original audio as needed. Please make sure to reach out to the titlemanager and clear any use of original efforts.
    • Breaths and efforts that are part of the dialogue performances however, should be included in the dub performance. This sometimes means recording breaths or efforts that are not present in the original audio. We expect the Dubbing Director to make these judgment calls in collaboration with the Sound Engineer.
    • Including breaths, efforts and reactions can make the difference to create an immersive dub experience. 

RECORDING

  • Preamps

    • Please make sure that the recording preamps are high quality units that don’t generate audible noise or excessively color the sound, especially when either increasing the gain to the desired recording levels or recording loud performance. 

  • Microphones

    • Large-diaphragm condenser microphones are our suggestion for lip-sync animation. The original voices are recorded in controlled environments like sound stages and this type of microphone is the common practice, therefore, we aim to match the dubbed versions as close as possible to the OV. We rely on the technical expertise of your recording engineers and technicians to position these microphones adequately and ensure the proper distance from the actor's mouth - for more details see our Dialogue Recording Recommendations at the bottom of this document.
  • DAW’s

    • Any professional DAW in the market is acceptable. We lean on our dubbing partners to utilize professional software that accommodates their workflows and technical best practices.  

  • Pre-recording processing

    • We strongly recommend not using any dynamic processor (EQ, Compression, Limiting, Noise-gate, De-Esser) in the recording process in order to capture the dialogues as clean as possible and leave room for sound mixers to manipulate the sound as needed. A Low cut filter is acceptable as long as it’s not above 100Hz. 

  • Walla/group

    • We expect dubbing versions to match the crowd/group sound design of the original. Netflix will work with Post-production to provide as much walla and loop group from the original as possible, but we expect all studios to recreate the same layered sound regardless of whether these original elements are used.

EDITING

  • Noises

    • Audible noises like tongue clicks and saliva should be removed during the editing process unless the original performance demands it.

  • Manual & Plug-Ins 

    • Both approaches are encouraged. Utilizing noise-removal plug-ins is acceptable as long as the process doesn’t affect the quality of the recorded audio. 
  • Lip Sync

    • The recommendation is to edit against the reference image and not just the audio waveforms. We want our audiences to experience our content in their respective language like if they were watching the OV. Dialogues should start when the on-screen actors move/open their mouths, and should end when their mouths close. Also, be mindful of the lip flaps/mouth shapes and even the gesture/movement of the actor on-screen to synchronize the dialogue with the physicality to create that performance bond. 
  • Off-screen dialogue

    • For off-screen audible dialogue, we recommend matching the waveform of the OV with the dubbed version. Considering there are other audio elements (Music or SFX), we want to make sure the dubbed versions leave room for the sound design to play its role in the storytelling. 
  • Breaths & Reactions

    • We encourage dialogue editors to follow the original dialogue stems in order to match where breathing and reactions are present. 
  • Fades

    • It’s ideal for dialogue editors to use fade-in and fade-out in every dialogue. The noise captured like room tone or pre-amp gain might not be noticeable during the recording and editing process but could represent undesired noise during the mixing process. 
  • Track assignment

    • Sound editors should assign the tracks in an organized way for the sound mixers to have a clean setup to start with. 

MIXING

  • Dialogue Levels

    • Dubbed versions should match the audio levels of the OV. If the recording and editing guidelines are followed, sound mixers won’t find the need to push the dubbed dialogues and make them louder than what the OV dictates. In order to keep the dialogues consistent and balanced, we encourage sound mixers to utilize mixing controllers or consoles for level automation instead of any dynamic processors that could potentially affect the natural sound we are striving for.  

  • Dynamic Processing

    • EQ
      • Equalization is a resource to remove and soften unwanted frequencies and/or accent desirable frequencies on the dialogues. Equalization shouldn’t be considered as a process to compensate for subpar recordings and therefore, we encourage sound mixers to not over-utilize equalization for such purposes. 
    • Compression
      • Compression is accepted as long as the dynamic of the dialogues is not considerably affected by it. Our expectation is to have natural-sounding dialogues and we suggest sound mixers to balance levels with volume automation before utilizing compression as a resource. 
    • Futzes
      • When Netflix’s dubbing team can’t provide plug-in specifications or parameters, our expectation is for sound mixers to match the futzes as close as possible to the OV. Film-makers work very closely with sound designers creating all the sound land-space for their content and we want to make sure every language provides the same experience. 
  • Time Processing

    • Reverb & Delay
      • The purpose of reverb and delay is to provide a sonic reference to our audiences of where characters are located and where are they interacting. In order to provide an immersive experience, we want to encourage sound mixers to match the spaces as close as possible to the OV when Netflix’s dubbing team can’t provide plug-in specifications or parameters. Plug-ins or hardware for such purposes is accepted as long as the goal is achieved. 
  • Panning & Perspectives

    • When available from the content partner, Netflix Dubbing will provide OV dialogue stems to our dubbing partners, and we advise sound mixers to use them as an audio reference for panning when panning and perspectives are not clear enough for replication in the full mix
  • M&E

    • The M&E tracks we provide to our dubbing partners have been approved and QC’ed for dubbing mixing purposes. We advise dubbing mixers not to make any modifications or volume adjustments while mixing.   If you encounter any issues with the M&E tracks provided, please flag them to Netflix’s dubbing team so we can advise on how to proceed. 

  • Optional tracks

    • Optional tracks usually contain reactions, call-outs, foreign language, and wallas. We advise our dubbing partners to utilize the optional tracks at their discretion as long as the recorded dialogues blend seamlessly with the optional tracks provided. Netflix’s dubbing team will provide creative and technical directives when the optional tracks should be utilized for specific purposes. 

RESOURCES

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