Hindi Timed Text Style Guide
This document covers the language specific requirements for Hindi. Please make sure to also review the General Requirements section and related guidelines for comprehensive instructions surrounding timed text deliveries to Netflix.
- (Please use proper discretion when selecting an abbreviation, the list below contains suggestions and is not strictly limited to these options.)
- Mr. - मिस्टर / श्री / श्रीमान
- Mrs. - मिसेज़ / श्रीमती
- Miss - मिस
- Ms. – सुश्री
- Dr. - डॉ.
- Prof. - प्रो.
- OK - ठीक
- etc. - इत्यादि / आदि / वग़ैरह
- i.e. - अर्थात्
- e.g. - उदाहरणार्थ
- a.m. - पूर्वाह्न
- p.m. - अपराह्न
- BC - ई.पू. / ईसा पूर्व
- AD - ई. सन् / ईसवी सन्
- Special characters are spelled out:
- # - नंबर / हैश
- % - प्रतिशत
- + - जोड़
- x - गुणा
- - - घटा
- = - बराबर
2. Character Limitation
- 42 characters per line
3. Character Names
- Do not translate proper names (e.g. Peter, Suzanne), unless Netflix provides approved translations.
- If no approved translations are provided, please transliterate character names.
- Nicknames should only be translated if they convey a specific meaning.
- 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 मानो या न मानो, स्नातक बनने के लिए
Subtitle 2 हमें बस दो और कक्षाएँ पास करनी हैं।
- Use ellipses to indicate a pause (2 seconds or more) or an abrupt interruption. In the case of a pause (2 seconds or more), if the sentence continues in the next subtitle, use an ellipsis at the beginning of the second subtitle.
Subtitle 1 मुझे सोचने दो…
Subtitle 2 …शायद कोई और रास्ता निकल आए।
- Use ellipsis without a space to indicate that a subtitle is starting mid-sentence:
…एक अभिसंधान पर हस्ताक्षर किया है।
- Only translate a speaker’s title once, the first time the speaker appears.
- When ongoing dialogue is interrupted by a speaker’s title, use an ellipsis at the end of the sentence in the subtitle that precedes it and at the beginning of the sentence 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.
6. Dual Speakers
- Use a hyphen without a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one speaker 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.
7. Font Information
- Font style: Mangal as a generic placeholder for proportional SansSerif.
- Font size: relative to video resolution and ability to fit 42 characters across the screen.
- Font color: White.
8. 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.
- Forced narratives that are redundant (e.g. identical to onscreen text or covered in the dialogue) must be deleted.
- 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 that follows it.
9. Romanized Hindi for Forced Narratives
- English dialogue and on-screen text should not to be covered by Romanized Hindi forced narratives, unless advised to do so.
- Hindi on-screen text in Devanagari should not to be covered by Romanized Hindi forced narratives, unless advised to do so.
- While creating Romanized Hindi forced narratives, look out for Urdu terms which have been normalized by their sheer prevalence in the day-to-day conversations in Hindi. For such terms, avoid having forced narratives, even though they are non-Hindi terms. Here are some examples of Urdu words for which forced narrative coverage can be omitted. This is just for reference and is not to be treated as a comprehensive list:
- Urdu: Akhbar, Tashreef, Intezam, Mehfooz, Aashiq, Tareekh, Watan, Waqt, Shukriya, Kanoon, Imaan, Kissa, Saahil, Gunaah, etc.
- If there is plot-pertinent dialogue (phrases, shayaris, etc.) in Urdu, Romanized Hindi forced narratives are recommended.
- For all other Indian regional languages (other than Hindi), and foreign languages (other than English), irrespective of how simple they are, forced narratives are recommended unless specifically mentioned otherwise.
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).
- Do not use italics.
- Use quotes instead for album, book, film and program titles.
I went to see Hamilton in theater today.
आज मैं थिएटर में "हैमिल्टन" देखने गया था।
Are you watching Love Story?
क्या तुम "लव स्टोरी" फ़िल्म देख रही हो?
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.
- Numbers from 1 to 10 should be written out.
- Numbers above 10 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.
- For ordinal numbers, 1st - 9th are spelled out: पहला, दूसरा, नौवाँ
- From 10th, ordinal numbers are written out numerically, followed by वीं: 10वीं, 12वीं, 50वीं
- To express decades, the number is kept as a numeral and the word "decade" is translated as दशक : 20 का दशक, 30 का दशक, 40 का दशक
- For decimals, use periods: 16.8
- For large numbers, use commas: 50,000
- For clock time, use colon: 8:30 / 20:30
- For currency, do not use symbols. Instead, transliterate the word (dollar, pound, cent, rupee etc.): 10 डॉलर, 20 पाउन्ड/पाउंड, 25 सेंट, 3.25 डॉलर, 20 मिलियन डॉलर
- There should be no spaces after text and before punctuation marks.
- Quotes should be used at the start and end of a line of applicable dialogue and not at the start of every subtitle.
- Use double quotation marks (" ") without spaces for regular quotations.
- Use single quotation marks (' ') for quotes within quotes.
- Direct speech is introduced by a comma.
- 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.
- Closing quotes follow the full stop:
अब तुम कल्पना करो मुझे कहते हुए,
"नहीं, आपका धन्यवाद।"
16. Reading Speed
- Adult programs: 22 characters per second
- Children’s programs: 18 characters per second
- 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.
- 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.
- Use ellipsis 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. Commas can be used within the lyric line, if necessary.
- Follow this approach for poetry
- Main titles: do not subtitle the on-screen main title card.
- 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, transliterate the original title.
20. Special Instructions
- Modern Standard Hindi should be used for translation. Please refrain from using dialectal words. When there is no alternative to the word in Modern Hindi, use the word closest in meaning.
- Always use plot/genre pertinent language.
- 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).
- The use of transliterations should reflect the formality of the dialogue. For example, formal dialogue should not include colloquial transliterations.
- Bindu marks may be used in place of the Chandrabindu.
- 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.
- Plot-pertinent dialogue always takes precedence over background dialogue.
- 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 Hindi, 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 can be increased to:
- Adult programs: 25 characters per second
- Children’s programs: 20 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: ["पल पल दिल के पास" बज रहा है]
- Song lyrics should be enclosed with a music note (♪) at the beginning and the end of each subtitle.
- Insert double space before the subtitle begins and after the subtitle ends: ♪ पल पल दिल के पास ♪
- 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 a speaker ID is required for a character who has yet to be identified by name, use [आदमी] or [औरत], or [आदमी की आवाज़] or [औरत की आवाज़], so as not to provide information that is not yet present in the narrative.
- Gender-neutral identifiers like [न्यूज़ रीडर], [डॉक्टर] or [दुकानदार] can be used where appropriate.
- Use a generic ID to indicate and describe ambient music, e.g. [रॉक म्यूज़िक बजता है] or [हल्का जैज़ संगीत रेडियो पर बजता है].
- 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: लेकिन आजकल मैं…
Subtitle 2: …कम पीता हूं.
- Speaker IDs and the corresponding dialogue should ideally be on the same line.
[वॉइसओवर / नरेटर] एक ज़माने की बात है, वहां…
- In instances of foreign dialogue being spoken:
- If foreign dialogue is translated, use [in language], for example [फ़्रेंच में]
- If foreign dialogue is not meant to be understood, use [speaking language], for example [फ़्रेंच बोल रहे है]
- Always research the language being spoken – [विदेशी/फ़ॉरेन भाषा में] should never be used
- For all language-related issues not covered in this document, please refer to:
- Revised section 12 Line Treatment - 3rd bullet point added
- Revised section 15 Quotes - 6th bullet point added
- Revised section 20 Special Instructions - 9th bullet point added
- Revised section 21 SDH Guidelines - localized examples added
- Revised section 6 Dual speakers - 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 12 Line Treatment - 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 15 Quotation marks - 5th bullet point added
- Revised section 19 Songs - 5th bullet point added
- Revised section 4 Continuity - 1st bullet point added clarifying type of ellipsis permitted
- Added section 9 Romanized Hindi FNs - new section added
- Revised section 21 SDH Guidelines - 3rd bullet point reworded
- Revised section 19 Special Instructions - 3rd bullet point added
- Revised section 20 SDH Guidelines - 3rd bullet point added
- Revised section 8 On-screen Text - revised section header for clarity
- Revised section 5 Documentary - 3rd and 4th bullet points added
- Revised section 8 Forced Narratives - 2nd and 3rd bullet points added
- Revised section 12 Numbers - 4th bullet point revised
- Revised section 15 Reading Speed - reading speed limits increased
- Revised section 16 Repetitions - 1st point revised for clarity
- Revised section 17 Songs - 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 18 Titles - 2nd bullet points revised
- Revised section 20 SDH Guidelines - expanded for clarity, reading speed limits revised
- Revised section 1 Abbreviations - 1st bullet point added
- Revised section 5 Documentary - 2nd bullet point revised
- Revised section 7 Font Information - Font changed from Shusha to Mangal
- Revised section 9 Foreign Dialogue - Removed 2nd bullet point for clarity
- Revised section 10 Italics - Do not use italics
- Revised section 12 Numbers - 11th bullet point revised
- Revised section 17 Songs - 2nd bullet point removed
- Revised section 18 Titles - 1st bullet point revised
- Revised section 19 Special Instructions - 2nd, 3rd, and 4th bullet points added
- Revised section 22 Reference - 3rd bullet point added