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Timed Text Style Guide: General Requirements

Any timed text created specifically for Netflix – Originals or non-Originals – should follow the Netflix Timed Text Style Guide, unless otherwise advised. This article outlines the general requirements. Always follow the language specific, timing and file type specific guidelines as well.

1. Duration

Minimum duration: 5/6 (five-sixths) of a second per subtitle event (e.g. 20 frames for 24fps)
Maximum duration: 7 seconds per subtitle event

2. File Format

Subtitle and SDH files for all languages must be delivered in a TTML (.dfxp or .xml) format, except for Japanese, which must be delivered in Videotron Lambda Cap format.

3. Glyph List

Only text/characters included in the NETFLIX Glyph List can be used. 

4. Line Treatment

2 lines maximum

Text should usually be kept to one line, unless it exceeds the character limitation. Follow these basic principles when the text has to be broken into 2 lines:

  • 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

5. Positioning

  • All subtitles should be center justified and placed at either the top or bottom of the screen, except for Japanese, where vertical positioning is allowed (see Japanese Timed Text Style Guide for details).
  • Please ensure subtitles are positioned accordingly to avoid overlap with onscreen text. In cases where overlap is impossible to avoid (text at the top and bottom of the screen), the subtitle should be placed where easier to read.

6. Consistency

KNPs/formality tables must be created and used for translation to ensure consistency across episodes and seasons. Please discuss with your Netflix contact the most suitable KNP workflow for your project.

7. Netflix Credit Translations

  • Translations for Netflix Originals title cards must be included in full and forced subtitle streams. Please refer to the Originals Credit translation document.
  • The subtitle should be timed to match the exact duration of the on-screen Original credit if possible.

8. Title Cards/Dedications

Subtitle all plot-pertinent and otherwise relevant on-screen text that is not covered in dialogue and/or redundant in the target language such as: “Based on True Events”, “In Loving Memory of Jane”, etc.

9. Currency

Currency should not be converted in the subtitle files. Any mention of money amounts in dialogue should remain in the original currency.

10. Brand Names Treatment

  • Treatment can be handled in one of the following ways:
    • Use the same English-language brand name if it is widely known and used in that territory;
    • Use the name by which that brand is known in that territory;
    • Use a generic term for the product.
  • Do not swap one brand for another company's trademarked item.

11. Quotations

It is best practice to originate new translations for any quoted texts, as this allows for a translation free of rights issues. In cases of a compelling artistic or cultural reason to use an existing translation, they may be used only if:
  • the translation is in the public domain (if you are not sure, 100 years is a good rule of thumb)
  • or, documented permission has been granted and payment received by the author or rights-holder.

12. Translator Credits

Please include the translator credit as the last event of the subtitle file, using the approved translation provided in the Original Credits translation document.

  • Translators who have translated an asset should be credited; company credits may not be included.
  • The translator credit should occur after the end of the main program during the copyright disclaimer card.
  • Translator credits are required for episodic content and features only and are not required for marketing or supplemental assets.
  • The translator credit should be entirely in the target language of the timed-text file.
  • The credit should be appropriately timed for reading speed, with a duration of up to 5 seconds
  • For SDH files, include translator credits only if translating from the original language. If transcribing the original or dubbed audio, do not include translator credits.
  • Forced narrative files should credit the subtitle translator, as long as there are translations in the file other than Netflix provided translations for episode titles and the approved Netflix Original credits translations.  
  • Translator credits may be omitted only if the translator has submitted a formal waiver of rights to be credited.
  • The translator credit should not be on-screen at the same time as the Netflix ident.
  • If more than one translator has worked on an asset, e.g. when translating from multiple source languages or when more than one translator has collaborated on a special project, more than one translator can be mentioned in the same credit, as follows:

Subtitle translation by:

Will Byers, Jane Hopper

13. Technical Aspects

All TTML files created for subtitles or SDH must adhere to the following technical specifications:

  • Only use percentage values. Do not use pixel values.
  • Use tts:textAlign and tts:displayAlign for positioning along with static values for tts:extent and tts:origin.
  • tts:fontSize shall be defined as 100%. Do not use pixel values.

Sample TTML snippet for Subtitle and SDH can be found here.


Change Log:

2020-10-28

2020-07-24

  • Timing and frame gap sections removed, other sections renumbered
  • Revised section 12 Translator Credits - 1st, 4th and 9th bullets revised

2019-08-20

2018-09-12

  • Revised section 13 Translator Credits - 2nd bullet split into two and translator credit timing clarified

2018-03-09

2016-11-16

2016-05-15

 

PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON THIS STYLE GUIDE

 

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