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TABLE OF CONTENT

     TRANSLATION/ADAPTATION

     VOICE CASTING & PERFORMANCE

     RECORDING

     EDITING

     MIXING

     TRAILERS

     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). 
    • If bleeps occur: Translate the censored expletives in a milder way. Avoid assuming what expletive has been used. (See Mixing: Bleeps for mixing specifications.)
  • 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 being respectful with our audiences.   
  • 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). For selected titles, the dubbing team will provide which sources should be utilized as key references in order to be consistent across the board. For the titles we won’t be providing references or guidance, we expect our partners to proactively research and define what will work best for the content in their respective language. 
  • Research
    • A considerable amount of the Nonfiction & Unscripted content, utilize vocabulary specific to the topic that is not necessarily in the common vernacular. We want to encourage translators and adapters working on such content to have existing knowledge/experience and/or to research extensively to make sure the same level of verbal expertise exists in our dubbed versions.  Please reach out to the local dubbing team to collaborate and share knowledge & context for the best results. 
  • Archival Footage
    • In general, archival footage should not be dubbed and instead covered by forced narratives to retain the authenticity, integrity and historical intent of archival source content.
    • Anything historical and filmed outside of the film/series itself is typically considered archival material. Examples of commonly used archival material are: Recorded audio from confessions/phone calls, TV news footage, court footage, speeches from political figures or activists, existing IP. If it is unclear whether a line/scene is archival, seek advice from your Netflix representative. 
    • Treatment of archival may vary from language to language. Your territory may prefer to dub archival, especially if there is a high percentage of archival that may disrupt a viewer’s experience (with too much forced narratives to read). Remember that each title is unique and different treatment may be requested by the Netflix representative on specific titles.
  • Music/Song Treatment
    • Songs should be translated and included in the forced narrative file (not dubbed) only if plot pertinent and if the rights have been granted. E.g. "Wild Wild Country"
      Please obtain song clearance from your Netflix representative.
  • Foreign Language Treatment and Accents
    • For shows where foreign dialogue is sparse throughout, or has plot pertinent importance, a forced narrative file for the foreign dialogue will be created as opposed to covering with voice-over. (e.g.: “Dirty Money”: French Canadian being spoken throughout the episode of “The Maple Syrup Heist” which was translated with forced narratives.)
    • If foreign dialogue accounts for roughly 40% or more of run time (e.g.: “Chef’s Table”), this dialogue would be better conveyed with dubs instead of forced narratives, as too many forced narratives causes a disruptive experience.
    • Do not replicate accents and/or grammar mistakes made by talking heads speaking a language other than their native language. The use of language accents should generally be avoided, because an inaccurately applied/imitated accent may be perceived as insensitive or offensive to certain cultural and/or ethnic groups.
    • Seek advice from Netflix if it is unclear how to treat foreign dialogue or accents.

VOICE CASTING & PERFORMANCE

  • Creative Director
    • 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 the sessions but when this is not possible due to schedule conflict or any other circumstance, we want our dubbing partners to assign a Creative Director for the Voice Casting recordings and not leave it to the audio engineer or studio staff to direct the sessions. 
  • Age & Gender
    • The goal should be for our dubbed versions to mirror as close as possible how the on-screen participants are portrayed and we want to make sure the voice talent is being cast accordingly in order to honor the original delivery of the on-screen participants. We strongly encourage our dubbing partners to cast talent according to appropriate and relevant age and gender to achieve the best natural vocal match.   
  • 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. If a voice and performance match can’t be achieved at the same time by one voice actor, 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. Match energy/tone of OV. 
        • Documentaries: Use best judgment when determining tone and rhythm of speaker, as well as speed and length of time needed for the translation. There should be a consistent tone and balance to respect the content.
        • Unscripted: Certain unscripted titles may merit more energetic performance due to the nature of the content (e.g. cooking shows, competitions). Please use best judgment when making these decisions in the tone and rhythm of the speaker.
  • Established Voices 
    • We always want to consider securing talent that has previously voiced a participant in previous seasons or shows in Netflix content. If a voice actor has been portraying the same on-screen participant in our shows, we expect that voice will be used in the production unless Netflix signals otherwise.
  • 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. Pronunciation should be as natural as possible and the delivery should match the on-screen participants. 
  • Reactions
    • Per our VO dubbing guidelines, reactions (Laughs, reaction noises, crying, etc) are not expected to be recorded. Please do not record anything that is not considered dialogue.

RECORDING

  • Preamps
    • Utilizing analog or digital preamps is acceptable. If the preference is analog, please make sure there is no audible noise generated when increasing the gain to the desired recording levels. 
  • Microphones 
    • We strongly encourage the use of large-diaphragm condenser microphones. The ideal is to provide a narration-type of sound and we consider these microphones to provide the experience we look for in VO style dubbing.
  • 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. 

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. 
  • Audio Sync
    • We recommend editing against the audio reference to allow the original audio to be heard for 1-3 seconds before the dubbed dialogue starts. The dubbed dialogue should end at the same time as the OV.
  • 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. 

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 
      • In very special cases, we will be requesting our partners to add a futz effect for Nonfiction content that contains archival footage (e.g. T.V. / radio broadcast), has a special treatment or effect to anonymize a participant, etc. When futzes are specifically requested for VO, our expectation is for sound mixers to match the futzes as close as possible to the OV. 
  • Print Master (dipping)
    • The PM tracks we provide should be utilized for mixing purposes. The best practice for VO Mixing is to dip the original audio to allow the dubbed dialogue to be listened to by the audiences. The dips are only expected when dubbed dialogue appears and should be as smooth as possible to not be perceived as a drop in the audio track. It’s okay to utilize gate/side-chain plugins as long as the transitions are seamless and non-distractive.   
  • Optional tracks
    • For selected titles, the dubbing team will provide Optional tracks for Nonfiction content. 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. 
  • Mix-Minus Narration
    • Unless specifically instructed, please do not remove narrator stems/utilize a mix-minus track. For example, in documentaries, the narrator is often telling their story (as a first-person narrator), and retaining their voice preserves the authenticity of the content. This is a very different function from an omniscient third-person narrator that can be replaced by a local voice. 
  • Bleeps
    • Do not recreate the bleep in the voice-over. Keep the bleep in the original mix audible to convey the creative intent. 

TRAILERS

  • If the way the trailer was cut makes it difficult to retain 1-2 second delay effect, it is acceptable to have the VO sync with the original dialogue.
  • If VO dubs create a jarring experience due to the way the trailer was cut, please reach out to your Netflix representative to discuss the best approach. 
  • Dubbing Style (e.g. VO for interviews, Lip Sync for recreations, etc.) should match long form.
  • Dubs should not cover archival footage and foreign dialogue (AKA dialogue other than source language). These instances will be covered with forced narratives. Instructions will be provided should a different treatment be required.

RESOURCES

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