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Vietnamese Timed Text Style Guide

*This document covers the language specific requirements for Vietnamese. Please make sure to also review the General Requirements Section for comprehensive guidelines surrounding timed text deliveries to Netflix.  

1. Acronyms

  • 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.

4. Continuity

  • Do not use ellipses when a sentence is split between two continuous subtitles. 
  • Use ellipses to indicate pauses:

                                            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 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.

5. Documentary/Unscripted

  • 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.

                        - 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).

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

  • Maximum two lines.

12. Numbers

  • 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.


13. Quotes

  • 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 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.

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 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.

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

  • 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.

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 the same target language, please refer to the dubbing script 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:
    ["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...
                         [coughs, sniffs]

         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:

         [narrator]
         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 

20. Reference

 



Change Log:

2020-05-08

Revised section 18 Special Instructions - 3rd bullet point added

Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - 3rd bullet point added

2019-12-10

Revised section 3 Character Names - 1st bullet revised and 3rd bullet added
Revised section 4 Continuity
Added section 20 Reference

2019-08-20

Revised section 13 Quotes - 4th bullet revised for accuracy to Vietnamese language rules

2018-06-04

Revised section 8 On-screen Text – section header revised for clarity

2018-03-09

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
  

 

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