Finnish Timed Text Style Guide
*This document covers the language specific requirements for Finnish. Please make sure to also review the General Requirements Section for comprehensive guidelines surrounding Timed Text deliveries to Netflix.
- Herra: hra
- Rouva: rva
- Neiti: nti
- Professori: prof.
- Tohtori: tri
- For other common abbreviations: http://www.kotus.fi
- Acronyms should be written without periods between letters: BBC, CIA, USA, UK
- Do not translate proper names (e.g., Peter, Suzanne), unless Netflix provides approved translations.
- Nicknames should only be translated if they convey a specific meaning.
- Use language-specific translations for historical/mythical characters (e.g., joulupukki).
- Use a hyphen when an ongoing sentence is split between two or more continuous subtitles, unless other punctuation is present. However, hyphens should be used after a colon.
Subtitle 1 Hän opetti minulle -
Subtitle 2 paljon mahtavia juttuja.
Subtitle 1 Odotin innolla,
Subtitle 2 että näkisin sinut taas.
Subtitle 1 Hän sanoi: -
Subtitle 2 "Odotin innolla,
että näkisin sinut taas."
- In the case of a pause, if the sentence continues in the next subtitle, please use the same treatment as continuous subtitles. Do not use ellipsis.
- Use ellipses to indicate an abrupt interruption or trail off, i.e. if the sentence does not continue in the next subtitle.
Subtitle 1 -Olin sanomassa...
Subtitle 2 -En halua tietää!
- Use ellipsis without a space to indicate that a subtitle is starting mid-sentence
...säilyttäminen on totuutta tärkeämpää.
- Speaker's title: only translate the title. Do not include the speaker's name, company name or character name as these are redundant.
- Only translate a speaker's title once, the first time the speaker appears.
- When ongoing dialogue is interrupted by a speaker’s title, use ellipses 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.
Subtitle 1 Tein elokuvaa…
Subtitle 2 (FN) OHJAAJA
Subtitle 3 …puoli vuotta.
- 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.
- Use a hyphen without a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle for the second line only, with a maximum of one character speaking per line.
Se ei ole valmis.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- If at all possible, try to avoid interrupting a line of dialogue with a forced narrative.
- If interrupting the dialogue with a forced narrative cannot be avoided, use an ellipsis at the end of the sentence that precedes it and at the beginning of the one that follows it.
Subtitle 1 Meidän ei pitäisi…
Subtitle 2 (FN) PÄÄSY KIELLETTY
Subtitle 3 …jatkaa pidemmälle.
- Foreign dialogue should only be translated if the viewer was meant to understand it (i.e., if it was subtitled in the original version).
- When using foreign words, always verify spelling, accents and punctuation, if applicable.
- Foreign words should be italicized, unless they have become part of regular usage (e.g., in English, the following no longer need to be italicized: bon appétit, rendezvous, doppelgänger, zeitgeist, persona non grata) and unless they are proper names (e.g., a company name).
- Italicize the following:
- Album, book, film and program titles (use quotes for song titles)
- Foreign words (unless they are part of regular usage)
- 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)
- Do not use italics to indicate emphasis on specific words
- Maximum two lines.
- From 1 to 10, numbers should be written out: yksi, kaksi, kolme, etc.
- Above 10, numbers 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.
- Use a space to separate thousands: 10 000 not 10,000
- Use a comma for decimals: 1,5 not 1.5
- Use a full stop with times: kello 7.45 not 7:45 AM
- Measurements should be converted to the metric system, unless the original unit of measurement is plot relevant.
- Never omit punctuation when translating regular dialogue.
- If necessary, use the following reference: http://www.kotus.fi
- 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:
Hän sanoi: "Palaa huomenna."
- Use single quotation marks (' ') for quotes within quotes:
Hän sanoi: "'Singing in the Rain' on lempibiisini."
- Punctuation should be included within the quotation marks if the quote is an independent clause and outside if it’s not.
- Song titles should be in quotes.
- Adult programs: 17 characters per second
- Children’s programs: 13 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.
- Italicize lyrics.
- Use an uppercase letter at the beginning of each line.
- Use an 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.
- Album titles should be in italics.
- Song titles should be in quotes.
- 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, leave titles in original language.
- Dialogue must never be censored. Expletives should be rendered as faithfully as possible.
- Plot-pertinent dialogue always takes precedence over background dialogue.
- Deliberate misspellings and mispronunciations should not be reproduced in the translation unless plot-pertinent.
- In order to better meet the expectations of a Finnish audience, a condensed translation style is required. Subtitles should be merged as much as possible whenever a character’s dialogue extends over several subtitles. Character names should be left out once they have been clearly established.
- Do not translate you literally when it is used in a general statement to mean "one" or "anybody":
If you train really hard, you will get good results
and become better over time.
Jos harjoittelet kovasti,
saat ajan myötä hyviä tuloksia ja edistyt. [incorrect]
Jos harjoittelee kovasti,
saa ajan myötä hyviä tuloksia ja edistyy. [correct]
- There is no need to use future tense in Finnish, the simple present tense + a time expression referring to the future is enough.
- Do not use niin to translate so when so is not followed by an adjective or an adverb, as in "I love you so".
- Include as much of the original content as possible.
- Do not simplify or water down the original dialogue.
- Reading speed can be increased to:
- Adult programs: 20 characters per second
- Children’s programs: 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:
["Forever Your Girl" playing]
- Song lyrics should be enclosed with a music note (♪) at the beginning and the end of each subtitle.
- 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 [man] or [woman], or [male voice] or [female voice], so as not to provide information that is not yet present in the narrative.
- Use a generic ID to indicate and describe ambient music (e.g., rock music playing over a stereo).
- Sound effects should be plot-pertinent.
- Sound effects that interrupt dialogue should be treated as follows:
Subtitle 1: However, lately, I've been...
Subtitle 2: ...seeing a lot more of this.
- Never italicize speaker IDs or sound effects, even when the spoken information is italicized, such as in a voice-over:
Once upon a time, there was…
- In instances of foreign dialogue being spoken:
- If foreign dialogue is translated, use [in language], for example [in Spanish]
- If foreign dialogue is not meant to be understood, use [speaking language], for example [speaking Spanish]
- Always research the language being spoken – [speaking foreign language] should never be used
For all language-related issues not covered in this document, please refer to:
- Institute for the Languages of Finland: http://www.kotus.fi/
- Comprehensive grammar guide to Finnish: http://scripta.kotus.fi/visk/etusivu.php
Revised section 20 Special Instructions – 5th, 6th and 9th bullet points removed
Revised section 9 On-screen Text – revised section header for clarity
Revised section 5 Continuity – 2nd bullet point added, 3rd bullet point revised
Revised section 6 Documentary – 4th, 5th and 6th bullet points added
Revised section 9 Forced Narratives – 2nd and 3rd bullet points added, 5th bullet point revised
Added section 12 Line Treatment
Revised section 13 Numbers – 4th and 8th bullet points revised
Added section 15 Quotes - rewritten for clarity, 4th bullet point revised
Revised section 16 Reading Speed – words per minute removed
Revised section 17 Repetitions – 1st point revised for clarity
Revised section 18 Songs – 2nd bullet point added
Revised section 19 Titles –1st and 2nd bullet points revised
Revised section 21 SDH Guidelines – renamed and expanded for clarity
Revised section 17 Songs – 5th bullet point revised
Revised section 18 Titles – 1st bullet point revised, 2nd bullet point added
Revised section 19 Special Instructions – 5th bullet point removed
Revised section 8.5 Continuity – 1st bullet revised