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Ukrainian Timed Text Style Guide

This document covers the language specific requirements for Ukrainian. Please make sure to also review the General Requirements section and related guidelines for comprehensive instructions surrounding timed text deliveries to Netflix.

1. Abbreviations

  • Abbreviations are written with periods in most cases. Exceptions:
    • Measurements: кг (kg), см (cm).
    • In a few cases, a hyphen is used between the first letter of the word and the last letter: м-р (Mr.), д-р (Dr.).

2. Acronyms

  • Acronyms should be written without periods between letters.

3. Character Limitation

  • 42 characters per line 

4. Character Names

  • Proper names should be transliterated or transcribed. Do not translate unless approved translations are provided by Netflix.
  • Nicknames should be transliterated or transcribed. Only translate if the nickname conveys a specific meaning relevant to viewers.
  • Use language-specific translations for historical/mythical characters.

5. Continuity

  • When including ellipses in subtitles, please use the single smart character (U+2026) as opposed to three dots/periods in a row.
  • Do not use ellipses when a sentence is split between two continuous subtitles.

Subtitle 1     Коли війна закінчиться, 
Subtitle 2     він не зможе повернутися

Subtitle 1     до нормального життя,
Subtitle 2     як би вона цього не прагнула.

  • Use ellipses to indicate a pause (2 seconds or more) or an abrupt interruption:

-Що б тобі сказати
-Я не знаю.

  • In the case of a pause (2 seconds or more), if the sentence continues in the next subtitle, do not use an ellipsis at the beginning of the second subtitle.

Subtitle 1     Я така рада, що
Subtitle 2     не знаю, що й сказати.

  • Use ellipses without a space to indicate that a subtitle is starting mid-sentence:

на цьому й закінчимо нашу програму.

  • For the sake of reading speed and readability, ellipses may sometimes be dropped in sentences wherever they are used to convey a pause in the dialogue. Apply good judgment.

6. Documentary/Unscripted

  • Only translate a speaker’s title once, the first time the speaker appears.
  • When ongoing dialogue is interrupted by a speaker’s title, use ellipsis at the end of the sentence in the subtitle that precedes it and at the beginning of the sentence in the subtitle that follows it.
  • Dialogue in TV/movie clips should only be subtitled if plot-pertinent and if the rights have been granted.
  • News tickers/banners from archive clips do not require subtitles unless plot-pertinent.
  • Avoid going back and forth between italicized and non-italicized subtitles when the speaker is on and off screen. If the speaker is on-camera for at least part of the scene, do not italicize. Leave italics for off-screen narrators.

7. Dual Speakers

  • Use a hyphen without a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one character speaking per line.
  • Text in each line in a dual speaker subtitle must be a contained sentence and should not carry into the preceding or subsequent subtitle. Creating shorter sentences and timing appropriately helps to accommodate this.

8. Font Information

  • Font style: Arial as a generic placeholder for proportionalSansSerif
  • Font size: relative to video resolution and ability to fit 42 characters across screen
  • Font color: White

9. On-screen Text

  • Forced narrative titles for on-screen text should only be included if plot-pertinent.
  • When on-screen text and dialogue overlap, precedence should be given to the most plot-pertinent message. Avoid over truncating or severely reducing reading speed in order to include both dialogue and on-screen text.
  • The duration of the FN subtitle should as much as possible mimic the duration of the on-screen text, except for cases where reading speed and/or surrounding dialogue takes precedence.
  • If an FN contains numbers, the translation should mimic the number formatting.
  • If on-screen text being replicated in forced narrative contains numbers, the translation should mimic number formatting.
  • Forced narratives that are redundant (e.g. identical to onscreen text or covered in the dialogue) must be deleted.
  • Forced narratives for on-screen text should be in ALL CAPS, except for long passages of on screen text (e.g. prologue or epilogue), which should use sentence case to improve readability.
  • Never combine a forced narrative with dialogue in the same subtitle.
  • When a forced narrative interrupts dialogue, use an ellipsis at the end of the sentence in the subtitle that precedes it and at the beginning of the sentence in the subtitle that follows it.

10. Foreign Dialogue

  • Foreign dialogue should only be translated if the viewer was meant to understand it (i.e. if it was subtitled in the original version).
  • Foreign words and expressions, such as bon appétit, rendez-vous, doppelgänger, zeitgeist, persona non grata, should be translated.

11. Italics

  • Italicize the following:
    • Dialogue that is heard through electronic media, such as a phone, television, or computer
    • Only use italics when the speaker is not in the scene(s), not merely off screen or off camera
    • Song lyrics (if rights have been granted)
    • Voice-overs
  • For albums, books, films and program titles do not use italics -quotation marks should be used instead.
  • Do not use italics to indicate emphasis on specific words.

12. Line Treatment

  • Maximum two lines.
  • Text should usually be kept to one line, unless it exceeds the character limitation.
  • Prefer a bottom-heavy pyramid shape for subtitles when multiple line break options present themselves, but avoid having just one or two words on the top line.

13. Numbers

  • Numbers from 1 to 10 should be written out.
  • Numbers above ten should be written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc. 
  • When a number begins a sentence, it should always be spelled out.
  • Note that the above rules may be broken due to space limitations or reading speed concerns, as well as for consistency when listing multiple quantities, for example.
  • Measurements should be converted to the metric system, unless the original unit of measurement is plot relevant.


  • Use quotation marks at the start of the quotation and after the last line of the quotation, marking the beginning and end of the quotation (rather than the beginning and end of every subtitle within the quotation), e.g.
    • Subtitle 1: “Is this a dagger I see before me?
    • Subtitle 2: The handle towards my hand.
    • Subtitle 3: Come, let me clutch thee.”
  • Use chevrons («») without spaces for regular quotations.
  • Use double straight quotation marks ("") for quotes within quotes.
  • Use chevrons («») without spaces for the following:
    • Album, book, film and program titles if rendered in Cyrillic. If left in English, the title should be formatted without italics.
    • Foreign words (if not transliterated)
  • Only use chevrons («») for proper names when transliterating. Should you decide to leave the proper names in English, no chevrons («») should be used, e.g. United Airlines / «Юнайтед Ейрлайнз», but never «United Airlines».
  • Periods should be outside the quotes e.g. «Hello».
  • All other punctuation should be inside the quotes, e.g. «Hello!», «Hello?», «Hello…», if the punctuation mark is part of the quotation. Double punctuation (e.g. «Hello?!», «Hello!..», «Hello?..») should be avoided.
  • Use quotation marks when a character is seen to be reading aloud.
  • If an on-screen character does “air quotes” when speaking, please apply quotation marks to the equivalent word in the target language in order to retain creative intent and to help ensure clarity about which word or part of the sentence the air quotes apply to.

15. Hyphens and Dashes

  • Hyphens (-) should be used in the following cases:
    • In compound words, such as "бізнес-план", "фітнес-клуб", etc.
    • In ordinal numbers, such as "1-й", "2-го", "5-му", etc.
    • In contractions where the middle part of the word is omitted, such as "вид-во" ("видавництво"), "ін-т" ("інститут"), etc.
    • With surname prefixes "Мак-", "Сан-", "Сен-": "Мак-Магон", "Мак-Клюр", "Сан-Мартін", etc.

  • En-dashes (–; Alt+0150) should be used in number ranges with no spaces before and after the dash, e.g.: "1–2 дні", "2019–2020 рр.", etc.
  • Em-dashes (—; Alt+0151) should be used to separate words in a sentence. The em-dash is surrounded by spaces on both sides. It is recommended to use a non-breaking space before the em-dash.

16. Reading Speed Limits

  • Adult programs: Up to 17 characters per second
  • Children’s programs: Up to 13 characters per second 

17. Repetitions

  • Do not translate words or phrases repeated more than once by the same speaker. 
  • If the repeated word or phrase is said twice in a row, time subtitle to the audio but translate only once.

18. Songs

  • Only subtitle plot-pertinent songs if the rights have been granted. 
  • Opening and ending theme songs should only be subtitled if clearly plot-pertinent (e.g. for children’s content when the lyrics tell a story) or if instructed by Netflix. Normally, adult programs should not have the opening songs subtitled, except for SDH.
  • Italicize lyrics.
  • Use an uppercase letter at the beginning of each line.
  • Use ellipses when a song continues in the background, but is no longer subtitled to give precedence to dialogue.
  • Punctuation: only question marks and exclamation marks should be used at the end of a line. No commas or periods are to be used at the end of a line. Commas can be used within the lyric line, if necessary.
  • Follow this approach for poetry also.

19. Titles

  • Main titles: Subtitle the on-screen main title for branded content when the approved title for Ukrainian is available in KNP/Terminology and it does not match the title which appears in the card. Do not translate the main title from scratch: always use the approved title provided.
  • Do not subtitle when the on-screen main title and the approved title for Ukrainian are identical and fully match. (e.g. the on-screen title is already in Ukrainian, both read with the exact same words and spellings, etc.)
  • Subtitle when the approved title for Ukrainian contains a part that is transliterated/translated/transcreated/edited and does not fully match the on-screen main title. (e.g. when the on-screen title is The Tinder Swindler but the approved title for Ukrainian is Аферист із Tinder)
  • When the provided translation of the main title does not work with a line break in a way that fits within the limit, the maximum character count per line or maximum line limit can be exceeded. Do not split the provided translation into multiple subtitle events.
  • Do not italicize the main title event.
  • Episode titles: do not subtitle episode titles if they do not appear on screen/are not voiced-over. If on-screen (either as part of the principal photography or burned into video) or voiced-over, please reference the KNP tool for approved translations.
  • Titles of published works, existing movies and TV shows: use official or well-known translations. If none are available, please leave the title as is.

20. Special Instructions

  • The euphony principle in Ukrainian is considered to be subject to deviations from standard rules based on rhythm, melody, and the preference of the translator. Hence, the translator's choice between prepositions such as "з/із", "у/в", as well as between conjunctions such as "і/й", "і/та" is a subjective decision and both are acceptable.
  • Dialogue must never be censored. Expletives should be rendered as faithfully as possible.
  • The extreme profanity words starting with "х", "п", "ї", "б" should be avoided or used very sparingly when context demands it.
  • Plot-pertinent dialogue always takes precedence over background dialogue.
  • Always match the tone of the original content, while remaining relevant to the target audience  (e.g. replicate tone, register, class, formality, etc. in the target language in an equivalent way).
  • Deliberate misspellings and mispronunciations should not be reproduced in the translation unless plot-pertinent.
  • When brand names or trademarks appear, you may either; use the same name if it is known in the territory you are translating for; adapt to the name that the brand or product is known by that the territory you are translating for; or use a generic name for that product or item. Avoid swapping out names of brands, companies or famous people for other names.

21. Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH) Guidelines

  • Include as much of the original content as possible.
  • Do not simplify or water down the original dialogue.
  • Where content has been dubbed into Ukrainian, please refer to the dubbing script or dubbed audio as the basis for the SDH file and ensure that the two match as much as reading speed and timings allow.
  • Reading speed limits can be increased to:
    • Adult programs: Up to 20 characters per second
    • Children’s programs: Up to 17 characters per second
  • Truncating the original dialogue should be limited to instances where reading speed and synchronicity to the audio are an issue.
  • For TV/movie clips, all audible lines should be transcribed, if possible. If the audio interferes with dialogue, please give precedence to most plot-pertinent content.
  • All same-language audible songs that do not interfere with dialogue should be titled, if the rights have been granted.
  • Use song title identifiers when applicable - song titles should be in quotes: [грає «Forever your girl»] or [звучить «Forever your girl»]. Keep the associated verb in lower case.
  • Song lyrics should be enclosed with a music note (♪) at the beginning and the end of each subtitle.
  • Add a space between the music note and the preceding or subsequent text.
  • When a dual speaker subtitle appears in a song, e.g. when there is a duet, each line of sung text should have a music note at the beginning and end to clearly indicate that both characters are singing.
  • Use brackets [ ] to enclose speaker IDs or sound effects.
  • Identifiers/sound effects should be all lowercase, except for proper nouns.
  • Only use speaker IDs or sound effects when they cannot be visually identified.
  • When characters are not yet identified, use [чоловік], [жінка] or [чоловічий голос], [жіночий голос], so as not to provide information that is not yet present in the narrative.
  • Role-specific identifiers can be used where appropriate, e.g. [диктор]/[дикторка], [лікар]/[лікарка], [продавець]/[продавчиня].
  • Use a generic ID to indicate and describe ambient music, e.g. [грає рок-музика], [рок-музика], [по радіо грає легкий джаз], [легкий джаз по радіо]
  • Plot-pertinent sound effects should always be included unless inferred by the visuals.
  • Subtitle silence if plot-pertinent. For example, when plot-pertinent music ends abruptly.
  • Be detailed and descriptive, use adverbs where appropriate when describing sounds and music, describe voices, speed of speech, volume of sounds.
  • Describe the sounds and audio as opposed to visual elements or actions.
  • Sound effects that interrupt dialogue should be treated as follows:

Subtitle 1: Однак останнім часом я…

                  [кашляє, сопе]

Subtitle 2: …помічаю чимраз більше такого.

  • Speaker IDs and the corresponding dialogue should ideally be on the same line.
  • Never italicize speaker IDs or sound effects, even when the spoken information is italicized, such as in a voice-over.

[оповідач] Був/була собі…

  • In instances of foreign dialogue being spoken:
    • If foreign dialogue is translated, use [in language], for example [іспанською]
    • If foreign dialogue is not meant to be understood, use [speaking language], for example [розмовляє іспанською] or [розмовляють іспанською]
    • Always research the language being spoken – [розмовляє/розмовляють іншою мовою] should never be used

22. Reference

  • For style, grammar, spelling and punctuation topics not addressed in this style guide, please refer to the following resources:


Change Log:


  • Revised section 5 Continuity - final bullet point added
  • Revised section 14 Quotes - 7th bullet point added
  • Revised sections 16 Reading Speed and 21 SDH - sections edited to mention "reading speed limits" and "up to"
  • Revised section 20 Special Instructions - 1st bullet point added


  • Revised section 19 Titles - "for branded content" added


  • Revised section 19 Titles - rules added/edited to include main title translations


  • Revised section 14 Quotation marks - 1st bullet point reworded for clarity


  • Revised section 12 Line Treatment - 3rd bullet point added
  • Revised section 14 Quotes - 8th bullet point added
  • New section added: 15 Hyphens and Dashes - subsequent sections renumbered
  • Revised section 9 On-screen Text - 4th bullet point added
  • Revised section 18 Songs - 6th bullet point edited
  • Revised section 19 Titles - 3rd bullet edited
  • Revised section 20 Special Instructions - 9th bullet point added
  • Revised section 21 SDH Guidelines - 8th bullet point edited, 10th and 11th bullet points added
  • Revised section 22 Reference - old link removed


  • Revised section 4 Character names - 1st and 2nd bullets amended to include "or transcribed"
  • Revised section 9 Forced narratives - 4th bullet point added regarding number formatting in FNs
  • Revised section 14 Quotes - 4th bullet example edited and the 6th bullet expanded for clarity regarding double punctuation
  • Revised section 18 Titles - 3rd bullet point edited to clarify approach for titles which do not have existing translations
  • Revised section 19 Special instructions - 2nd bullet point about profanity added
  • Revised section 20 - SDH Guidelines - localized examples added



  • Revised section 5 Continuity - 1st bullet point added clarifying the type of ellipsis permitted
  • Revised section 20 SDH Guidelines - 3rd bullet point reworded




  • Revised section 9 On-screen Text – section header revised for clarity


  • Revised section 6 Documentary - 3rd, 4th and 5th bullet points added
  • Revised section 9 Forced Narratives – 2nd and 3rd bullet points added, 5th bullet point revised
  • Revised section 13 Numbers - 4th and 5th bullet points revised
  • Revised section 16 Repetitions – 1st point revised for clarity
  • Revised section 17 Songs – 2nd bullet point added
  • Revised section 18 Titles – 1st and 2nd bullet points revised
  • Revised section 20 SDH Guidelines - renamed and expanded for clarity  




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