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Brazilian Portuguese Timed Text Style Guide

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

1. Abbreviations and Acronyms

  • Metric system abbreviations do not allow for periods or plurals: 1km, 6km, 1h, 5h. No space should be used between the number and the abbreviation.
  • Ordinal numbers may be abbreviated only when followed by a noun. (Correct: Ela foi a 1ª pessoa a chegar. Incorrect: Ela foi a 1ª a chegar.)
  • Doutor/Doutora: Dr./Dra.
  • General: Gen.
  • Presidente: Pres.
  • Professor/Professora: Prof./Profa.
  • Século: Séc. (do not use Roman numerals: Séc. 20 not Séc. XX)
  • Senhor: Sr.
  • Senhora: Sra.
  • Senhorita: Srta.
  • Tenente: Ten.
  • Sargento: Sgt.
  • Universidade: Univ. (must be followed by the name of the university: da Califórnia. Do not use it alone.) 
  • Acronyms should be written without periods between letters: BBC, CIA, EUA, RU

2. Character Limitation

  • 42 characters per line

3. Character Names

  • 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. Santa Claus).
  • When working with Spanish character names (or any other Romance language) which have an equivalent in Portuguese, please localize when the Spanish (or other language) spelling becomes an error in Portuguese: e.g. Raúl should be Raul, Nairobi should be Nairóbi, Valeria should be Valéria. If the name is not common in Brazil or does not appear to be a misspelling, it's OK to leave as is.
  • Transliterate uncommon or unfamiliar letters/characters which appear in names or proper nouns when working from one Roman alphabet language to another if they may cause confusion or be hard to understand or pronounce. Note that diacritics should be kept in proper nouns and names. For example: If the Icelandic name Þór appears, please transliterate as Thór (following relevant KNP and guidance about handling character names). If a German street name such as Torstraße appears in the source, please transliterate as Torstrasse (following relevant KNP and guidance about handling character names).

4. 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 or dashes when an ongoing sentence is split between two or more continuous subtitles.

      Subtitle 1   Três anos não foi tempo suficiente

      Subtitle 2   para aprender tudo.

  • 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, do not use an ellipsis at the beginning of the second subtitle.  

             Subtitle 1   Se eu soubesse

             Subtitle 2   não teria ligado para você.

             Subtitle 1   -Eu ia te contar que

             Subtitle 2   -Não quero saber!

  • Use an ellipsis without a space to indicate that a subtitle is starting mid-sentence

      assinaram um acordo.

5. Documentary/Unscripted

  • Speaker’s title: only translate the title. Do not include the company name or too much extra information in order to help the viewer understand the main information and not be distracted by irrelevant context.
  • 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   Eu trabalhei neste filme

Subtitle 2 (FN)       DIRETOR

Subtitle 3  só durante seis meses.

  • 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.

6. Dual Speakers

  • Use a hyphen followed by 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.

         - Boa sorte.

         - Obrigado.

7. 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

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.
  • 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 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         Acho que não deveríamos


Subtitle 3        prosseguir.

9. Foreign Dialogue

  • Foreign dialogue should only be translated if the viewer was meant to understand it. If it was subtitled in the original version, please subtitle in the localized 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).

10. Italics

  • 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)
    • Voice-overs
  • Do not use italics to indicate emphasis on specific words

11. Line Treatment and Line Breaks

  • Maximum two lines.
  • Text should usually be kept to one line, unless it exceeds the character limitation.
  • Only allow two sentences in the same line.
  • Prefer bottom-heavy pyramid shaped subtitles where possible.
  • If there is a third sentence, please move it to a second line. 
  • Follow these basic principles regarding line breaks:
  • The line should be broken:
      • after punctuation marks
      • before conjunctions
      • before prepositions
  • The line break should not separate:
      • a noun from an article
      • a noun from an adjective
      • a first name from a last name
      • a verb from a subject pronoun
      • a prepositional verb from its preposition
      • a verb from an auxiliary, reflexive pronoun or negation

12. Numbers

  • From 1 to 10, numbers should be written out: um, dois, três, 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.
  • Convert to the metric system: kilometers (km), centimeters (cm), meters (m), kilograms (kg), unless the original unit is plot relevant. The abbreviations should be used without a space: 5km.
  • For American dollars, please use the following notation when appropriate: US$. For smaller or rounded amounts, spell out if possible:
    • Example:  US$ 1,4 milhão
                       Seis dólares
                       Um milhão de dólares (or US$ 1 milhão)
  • For other currencies, please spell out: Euros, Pesos, Ienes, etc.
  • The percentage symbol (%) should be used without a space: 3%.
  • For details on number notation, please refer to:


  • 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):

    [Subtitle 1]:
    “É um punhal

    que vejo diante de mim?

    [Subtitle 2]:
    A alça em direção à minha mão.

    [Subtitle 3]:
    Venha, deixe-me agarrar-te.”
  • Use double quotation marks (" ") without spaces for regular quotations.
  • Use single quotation marks (' ') for quotes within quotes.
  • Use quotes when a character is 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.
  • Punctuation should be included within the quotation marks if the quote is an independent clause and outside if it’s not. Examples:

Quem se lembra ainda do "nada a declarar"?

Ele me disse: "Volte amanhã."

"Deus ajuda a quem cedo madruga."

14. Reading Speed

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

15. 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.

16. 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 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.
  • Please treat poetry in the same way.

17. Titles

  • 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 the original language.

18. Special Instructions

  • Dialogue must never be censored. Expletives should be rendered as faithfully as possible.
  • 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.
  • Both language styles (i.e., educated norm and colloquial style) are acceptable, as long as they are appropriate to the nature of the program. For instance, a series such as Orange Is The New Black calls for the use of colloquial style, whereas as series such as Marco Polo should be subtitled using the educated norm.
  • Both forms of the second person singular (você and tu) are acceptable.
  • Using the correct grammatical form should always be preferred, except for clearly established deviations from the norm that would otherwise imply an artificial sophistication not intended in the content. E.g. “Eu te amo”, “Me liga”, etc.
  • Contractions such as “né”, “pra”, and “tá” should be used only as needed to convey a high level of informality when appropriate for the content. ”Num”, “numa”, and “cadê” are acceptable. SDH subtitles, however, should follow the dialogue as spoken.
  • 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

19. 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 Brazilian Portuguese, 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: 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: ["Casa", de Nina Fernandes, tocando].
  • 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: [mulher] [homem] so as not to provide information that is not yet present in the narrative.
  • Where there is more than one woman/man: [mulher 1] [mulher 2] / [homem 1] [homem 2].
  • Use a generic ID to indicate and describe ambient music, e.g. [música de rock tocando], [jazz suave tocando na rádio].
  • 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: No entanto, ultimamente, tenho…

                  [tosse, espirra]

Subtitle 2: …visto essas coisas com mais frequência.

  • 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.

    [narrador] Era uma vez…

  • In instances of foreign dialogue being spoken:
    • If foreign dialogue is translated, use [in language], for example [em espanhol]
    • If foreign dialogue is not meant to be understood, use [speaking language], for example [falando espanhol]
    • Always research the language being spoken – [em idioma estrangeiro] should never be used

20. Reference

For all language-related issues not covered in this document, please refer to:


Change Log:


  • Revised section 13 Quotation Marks - 1st bullet point edited with a new localized example added
  • Revised section 3 Character Names - 5th bullet point added




  • Revised section 7 Dual speaker subtitles - 2nd bullet added
  • Revised section 12 Line treatment - 2nd bullet added
  • Revised section 14 Quotes - 4th bullet added regarding reading aloud
  • Revised section 17 Songs - 9th bullet added regarding poetry


  • Revised section 5 Continuity - clarified the type of ellipsis permitted
  • Revised section 20 SDH Guidelines - revised wording in 3rd bullet point





  • 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 5th bullet points revised, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th bullet points added
  • Section 14 Quotes rewritten for clarity
  • Revised section 15 Reading Speed - Words per minute removed
  • Revised section 16 Repetitions - 1st point revised for clarity
  • Revised section 17 Songs - 2nd bullet point added
  • Revised section 18 Titles - 1st, 2nd and 3rd bullet points revised
  • Revised section 19 Special Instructions - 6th and 7th bullet points added
  • Revised section 20 SDH Guidelines - renamed and expanded


  • Revised section 16 Songs – 5th bullet point revised
  • Revised section 17 Titles – 1st bullet point revised, 2nd bullet point added
  • Revised section 18 Special Instructions – 4th bullet point removed




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