Vietnamese Timed Text Style Guide
This document covers the language specific requirements for Vietnamese. Please make sure to also review the General Requirements section and related guidelines for comprehensive instructions surrounding timed text deliveries to Netflix.
- Acronyms should be written without periods between letters: BBC, CIA
2. Character Limit
- 42 characters per line.
3. Character Names
- Do not translate proper names (e.g. Peter, Suzanne), unless Netflix provides approved translations. Non-Vietnamese names should use English spellings, except in the case of existing or mythical characters and historical figures in which case Vietnamese translation should be used.
- Nicknames should only be translated if they convey a specific meaning.
- When translating Korean, Chinese, and Japanese content, the name order should be last name-first name, in accordance with linguistic rules. Standardized romanization guides should be followed, but well-established localized names should be allowed as exceptions.
- Transliterate uncommon or unfamiliar letters/characters which appear in names or proper nouns when working from a Roman alphabet language into Vietnamese 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).
- 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.
- Use ellipses to indicate pauses (2 seconds or more):
Nói ta nghe… tại sao Azog
lại săn đuổi ngươi?
- Use ellipses with a space at the end of the first subtitle when there is a pause (2 seconds or more) between a sentence running over two subtitles.
Subtitle 1 Con đường…
Subtitle 2 nó biến mất rồi!
- Use ellipses without a space to indicate that a subtitle is starting mid-sentence:
Subtitle 1 - Tôi đề nghị…
- Các ông không được đi đâu cả.
Subtitle 2 …chúng ta đi thôi.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Xin chào thanh tra.
- Chào cô hiệu trưởng.
7. Font information
- Font style: Arial 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.
- 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 Forced Narratives with dialogue subtitles.
- If at all possible, try to avoid interrupting a line of dialogue with a forced narrative.
- When a forced narrative interrupts dialogue, use an ellipsis at the end of the sentence that precedes it and at the beginning of the one that follows it.
9. 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.
- 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.
11. 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.
- From 1 to 10, numbers should be written out: một, hai, ba, 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.
- Measurements should be converted to the metric system, unless the original unit of measurement is plot relevant.
- Spell out numbers when used in a methaphorical context:
Cô ấy có cả trăm lý do.
- For decimals, please use commas:
English: 2.5 million people
Vietnamese: 2,5 triệu người
- For thousands, please use periods:
English: 1,000 dongs
Vietnamese: 1.000 đồng
Note: This rule does not apply to version numbers.
English: I told you, upgrade it to iOS 5.1.1!
Vietnamese: Tôi bảo anh rồi, nâng cấp lên iOS 5.1.1 đi!
- For sports, competitions, games or quizzes, always use numerals to display points, scores or timings.
- 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), e.g.
- Subtitle 1: “Is this a dagger I see before me?
- Subtitle 2: The handle towards my hand.
- Subtitle 3: Come, let me clutch thee.”
- Use double straight quotation marks (" ") without spaces for regular quotations.
- Use single straight quotation marks (' ') for quotes within quotes.
- All punctuation marks, except for the question mark and exclamation point, should be put outside of quotes. Question marks and exclamation mark should be inside quotation marks.
- 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.
14. Reading Speed
- 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 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.
- 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
- All plot-pertinent dialogue should be subtitled, and takes precedence over background dialogue.
- 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.
- 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 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 Vietnamese, 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: [đang phát "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 [nam], [nữ] or [giọng nam], [giọng nữ], so as not to provide information that is not yet present in the narrative.
- Gender-neutral identifiers like [phát thanh viên], [bác sĩ] or [nhân viên bán hàng] can be used where appropriate.
- Use a generic ID to indicate and describe ambient music, e.g. [đang phát nhạc rock] or [đang phát nhạc jazz nhẹ trên radio]
- 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: Tuy nhiên, gần đây tôi…
[ho, khụt khịt]
Subtitle 2: …thấy thứ này nhiều hơn.
- 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.
[người dẫn chuyện] Ngày xửa ngày xưa, có một…
- In instances of foreign dialogue being spoken:
- If foreign dialogue is translated, use [in language], for example [tiếng Tây Ban Nha]
- If foreign dialogue is not meant to be understood, use [speaking language], for example [nói tiếng Tây Ban Nha]
- Always research the language being spoken – [nói tiếng nước ngoài] should never be used
- For all language-related issues not covered in this document, please refer to:
- Revised section 3 Character names - 4th bullet point added regarding transliteration of unfamiliar characters in proper nouns/names
- Revised section 13 Quotation marks - 1st bullet point reworded for clarity
- Revised section 11 Line Treatment - 3rd bullet point added
- Revised section 13 Quotes - 6th bullet point added
- Revised section 18 Special Instructions - 5th bullet point added
- Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - 10th and 11th bullet point added
- Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - localized examples added
- Revised section 6 Dual Speakers - 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 10 Italics - 8th bullet point added
- Revised section 11 Line Treatment - 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 13 Quotations - 5th bullet point added
- Revised section 4 Continuity - 1st bullet point added clarifying type of ellipsis permitted
- Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - 3rd bullet point reworded
- Revised section 18 Special Instructions - 3rd bullet point added
- Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - 3rd bullet point added
- Revised section 3 Character Names - 1st bullet revised and 3rd bullet added
- Revised section 4 Continuity
- Added section 20 Reference
- Revised section 13 Quotes - 4th bullet revised for accuracy to Vietnamese language rules
- Revised section 8 On-screen Text - section header revised for clarity
- Revised section 5 Documentary - 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th bullet points added
- Revised section 8 Forced Narratives - 2nd and 3rd bullet points added, 5th bullet point revised
- Revised section 12 Numbers - 4th bullet point revised, 5th bullet point added
- Revised section 13 Quotes - rewritten for clarity
- Revised section 14 Reading Speed - words per minute removed
- Revised section 15 Repetitions - 1st point revised for clarity, 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 16 Songs - 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 17 Titles - 1st and 2nd bullet points revised
- Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - renamed and expanded for clarity