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Portuguese Timed Text Style Guide

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

1. Abbreviations

  • Following the International System of Units, do not use periods or plurals: 1 km, 6 km (never 6 kms.)
  • Add a space between the number and the abbreviation or symbol (6 km, 5 °C, 14 %), except for noting hours - please see the number section for details.
  • Ordinal numbers may be abbreviated only when followed by a noun. (Correct: Ela foi a 1.ª pessoa a chegar. Incorrect: Ela foi a 1.ª a chegar.)
  • Presidente: Pres.
  • Professor/Professora: Prof./Prof.ª
  • Doutor/Doutora: Dr./Dra.
  • Século: séc. (Finais do séc. XX)
  • Senhor/Senhora: Sr./Sra.
  • Menina/menino: Mna./Mno.
  • Universidade: Univ. (must be followed by the name of the university: da Califórnia. Never use alone).

2. Acronyms

  • Acronyms should be written without periods between letters: BBC, CIA, EUA, RU

3. Character Limitation

  • 42 characters per line

4. 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. Pai Natal).
  • Transliterate uncommon or unfamiliar letters/characters which appear in names or proper nouns when working from a Roman alphabet language into Portuguese 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).

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 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 an ellipsis to indicate a pause, that is, an intentional or accidental suspension of a part of the sentence, or an abrupt interruption.

    Subtitle 1   Não sei tenho de pensar sobre isso.
  • In the case of a long pause (2 seconds or more), if the sentence continues into the next subtitle, use an ellipsis followed by a space at the beginning of the second subtitle, and also when the pause is caused by an interruption.

Subtitle 1   Sinto-me doente

Subtitle 2  mas prefiro não pensar no assunto.

Subtitle 1   - Eu ia dizer-te que

                   - Não quero saber!

Subtitle 2  já tinha comprado o carro.

  • Use ellipses with a space to indicate that a subtitle is starting mid-sentence.

        assinaram um acordo.

6. Documentary/Unscripted

  • Speaker titles: only translate the title. Do not include the speaker’s name, company name or character name as these are redundant.
  • Speakers' titles are plot-pertinent and should always be included the first time they appear unless the title is covered in the dialogue. Truncate the dialogue if needed in order to accommodate it and to avoid overlapping.
  • 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)       REALIZADOR

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 all scenarios listed in the Italics section.

7. Dual Speakers

  • Use a hyphen followed by a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one speaker per line.

- Boa sorte.

- Obrigado. 

  • Use a hyphen followed by a space to indicate the second speaker only, if the line of dialogue spoken by the first speaker carries over from the previous subtitle. 

Subtitle 1   Pensa que o meu chefe teve algo que ver 

Subtitle 2   com a miúda desaparecida?

                  - Desliga.

  • Best practice is to ensure that 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
  • For example: 

Sub 1

-Alguém entregou o projeto?

-Acho que não, 

Sub 2

mas vou perguntar a Thomas.

Should be reformatted as: 

Sub 1 

Alguém entregou o projeto?

Sub 2

Acho que não,

mas vou perguntar a Thomas.

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 the 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.
  • 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 and no period at the end of the text, except for:
    • Instant messaging, chats, text messages (e.g. SMS, WhatsApp) which should stay in ALL CAPS but follow Portuguese punctuation rules
    • Long passages of on-screen text (e.g. prologue, epilogue, etc.) 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. 

Subtitle 1         Acho que não deveríamos


Subtitle 3        prosseguir.

  • When applicable, Portuguese forced narratives should follow standard italics application as described in the italics section:


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).
  • When using foreign words, always verify spelling, accents and punctuation, if applicable.
  • Refer to the italics section for instruction about foreign words.

11. Italics

  • Italicize the following:
    • Narration
    • Album, book, film and program titles (use quotes for song titles)
    • The voice of a visible character expressing unspoken thoughts or inner monologue
    • Song lyrics when sung, not quoted (if rights have been granted)
    • Foreign words, unless they are not italicized in Infopédia dictionary, (e.g. gay, yoga, stop, remake, jet lag). Whenever possible, consider using the commonly accepted PT translation even if the foreign word is regularly used. Exceptions can be made depending on context (e.g. “linkar/link” used in an asset regarding digital hacking)
    • Dialogue that is heard through electronic media, such as a phone, television (especially if we see the television and hear the audio), computer, loudspeaker, non-sentient robots, robotic voices or AI, etc.
    • Only use italics when the speaker is not in the scene(s), not merely off screen, behind a door or out of shot
  • 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

  • From 1 to 10, numbers should be written out: um, dois, três, etc.
  • Above 10, numbers should be written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc.
  • Numbers from 1000 and above should be spelled out. (Correct: mil vs. incorrect: 1000 / Correct: Cinco mil. vs. incorrect: 5000 / Correct: Dez mil vs. Incorrect: 10 000, etc.). For numbers larger than 1000, this rule may be broken due to space limitations or reading speed concerns, e.g. 5 mil, 10 mil, 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 International System of Units, unless the original unit of measurement is plot-pertinent.
  • For numbers up to 4 digits, do not add a space to separate the thousands. (Correct: 1234. Incorrect: 1 234)
  • For numbers 5 digits and up, add a space between thousands and hundreds. (Correct: 12 345. Incorrect: 12345)
  • Use a space instead of a period for thousands. (Correct: 123 456. Incorrect: 123.456)
  • Do not omit the 0 when noting fractions. (Correct: 0,123. Incorrect: ,123)
  • Use a comma (,) as a decimal separator.
  • For time notation, use the formats below:
    • Ele partirá às 4 horas.
    • A reunião irá das 7 às 9 horas.
    • O foguete foi lançado às 8h5min15s (Incorrect: O foguete foi lançado às 8h5'15'')
    • A reunião será às 5h50.


  • 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:         “De sonhar ninguém se cansa,
                                       porque sonhar é esquecer,

              Subtitle 2:        e esquecer não pesa e é um sono sem sonhos
                                      em que estamos despertos.”

  • Use double quotation marks (" ") without spaces for regular quotations.

Ele disse-me: "Volta amanhã."

  • Use single quotation marks (' ') for quotes within quotes.

"O Charlie disse: 'Está tudo bem'." 

  • Punctuation should be included within the quotation marks if the quote is an independent clause and outside if it’s not.

              Quem se lembra ainda do "nada a declarar"?
              Todos garantiram: "Iremos até o fim."
              "Viva Portugal!" Já ouvimos isto antes.

  • 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. Reading Speed Limits

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

16. Repetitions

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

17. 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. Commas can be used within the lyric line, if necessary.
  • Album titles should be in italics.
  • Song titles should be in quotes.
  • Follow this approach for poetry also.

18. Titles

  • Main titles: Subtitle the on-screen main title for branded content when the approved title for Portuguese 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 Portuguese are identical and fully match. (e.g. the on-screen title is already in Portuguese, both read with the exact same words and spellings, etc.)
  • Subtitle when the approved title for Portuguese 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 #AnneFrank - Parallel Stories but the approved title for Portuguese is #AnneFrank - Vidas Paralelas)
  • 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, leave titles in the original language.

19. 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. When this is the case, use quotation marks.
  • When translating a hashtag, separate the words using uppercase letters at the start of each word for readability purposes. (i.e. #OBomOMauEOVilão, not #o-bom-o-mau-e-o-vilão #obomomaueovilão).
  • Do not translate interjections that a Portuguese audience would understand (e.g. hey, wow, eh) unless their meaning is plot-pertinent. For instance, "Hey" could have different meanings depending on the context (OláCuidadoEntão, etc.)
  • 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.
  • Always follow the spelling rules and regulations outlined in the new Portuguese agreement, Acordo Ortográfico de 1990 (AO90).
  • 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.

20. 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 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 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: [música "Forever Your Girl"]
  • 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 [homem], [mulher] or [voz masculina], [voz feminina], so as not to provide information that is not yet present in the narrative.
  • Gender-neutral identifiers such as [pessoa canta] may be used where appropriate.
  • Use a generic ID to indicate and describe ambient music, e.g. [música rock] or [música suave jazz]
  • 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: Ultimamente, tenho…

                  [tosse, funga]

Subtitle 2: … observado mais disto

  • 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 [fala espanhol]
    • Always research the language being spoken – [falam língua estrangeira] should never be used

21. Reference

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


Change Log:


  • Revised section 5 Continuity - typo in example in 4th bullet corrected to "dizer-te"
  • Revised section 6 Documentary/Unscripted - 2nd bullet point edited 
  • Revised section 9 On-Screen Text - 10th bullet point added
  • Revised section 11 Italics - 6th bullet point added
  • Revised section 13 Numbers - final bullet covering duration removed, 3rd bullet point edited
  • Revised sections 15 Reading Speed and 20 SDH - sections edited to mention "reading speed limits" and "up to"
  • Revised section 19 Special Instructions - 4th bullet expanded, 5th bullet added


  • Revised section 18 Titles - "for branded content" added


  • Revised section 18 Titles - rules added/edited to include main title translations


  • Revised section 4 Character names - 4th bullet point added regarding transliteration of unfamiliar characters in proper nouns/names
  • Revised section 14 Quotation marks - 1st bullet point reworded for clarity




  • Revised section 1 Abbreviations - changes made to order of bullets and other minor edits
  • Revised section 4 Character names - 3rd bullet edited, 4th bullet regarding accent use deleted
  • Revised section 5 Continuity - 3rd, 4th and 5th bullet points revised
  • Revised section 6 Documentary/unscripted - 6th bullet point revised
  • Revised section 9 On-screen text - 5th, 6th and 7th bullet points revised
  • Revised section 10 Foreign dialogue - 3rd bullet point revised
  • Revised section 11 Italics - examples edited
  • Revised section 12 Line Treatment - 2nd bullet point added
  • Revised section 13 Numbers - 3rd and 6th bullets edited
  • Revised section 14 Quotation marks - 5th bullet point added regarding reading aloud
  • Revised section 16 Repetitions - 2nd bullet point revised
  • Revised section 17 Songs - 9th bullet point added regarding poetry


  • Revised section 5 Continuity - 1st bullet point added clarifying 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 1 Abbreviations - 2nd bullet point revised, 3rd bullet point added
  • 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, 12th and 13th bullet points added
  • Revised 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 and 2nd bullet points revised
  • Added section 20 SDH Guidelines 


  • Revised section 16 Songs - 5th bullet point revised
  • Revised section 17 Titles - 1st bullet point revised, 2nd bullet point added




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