Thai Timed Text Style Guide
This document covers the language specific requirements for Thai. Please make sure to also review the General Requirements section and related guidelines for comprehensive instructions surrounding timed text deliveries to Netflix.
1. Character Limitation
- 35 characters per line.
2. Character Names
- Generally, if there are no official character name translations provided, names should be transliterated into Thai.
- If Netflix KNP is available, always follow that.
- Nicknames should only be translated if they convey a specific meaning.
- For content based on manga, light novels, or webtoons, translators should base the transliteration on the official localized terms, i.e. from the copyrighted version that has been translated into Thai.
- For content with real people (e.g. actors, comedians, chefs), translators should follow the transliteration as specified by Netflix or the Netflix website
- 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 an 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 ถ้าฉันรู้…
Subtitle 2 ฉันคงไม่โทรไปหาเธอหรอก
- Do not use ellipses to indicate mid-sentence pick-ups. e.g. when resuming subtitling plot-pertinent background speech, like news on TV, after giving precedence to dialogue:
- 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, but not 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.
5. 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.
6. Font information
- Font style: Arial as a generic placeholder for proportional SansSerif
- Font size: relative to video resolution and ability to fit 35 characters across the screen
- Font color: White
7. 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 should be enclosed in parentheses (), except for foreign dialogue.
- If the narrative is split between two or more subtitles, use parenthesis at the beginning and end of each subtitle.
- 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 but not at the beginning of the one that follows it.
8. 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).
- Foreign words or phrases should be translated when possible (e.g. hello, goodbye, thank you, merci) or transliterated when no accurate translation exists.
- Do not use italics.
10. Line Treatment
- Maximum two lines.
- Text should usually be kept to one line, unless it exceeds the character limitation.
- From 1 to 10, numbers should be written out.
- Above 10, numbers should be written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc.
- For large numbers, the first number can be written numerically followed by words, e.g. 1 ล้าน instead of 1,000,000.
- 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.
- Do not convert the date to the Thai year unless it is in reference to a specific Thai event.
- Keep decades and centuries as per the source
- Do not convert currency. Keep as per source.
- Do not convert the date to the Thai year unless it is in reference to a specific Thai event. Similarly, the time of day should follow the movie or show's setting. For instance, for a modern setting, use the 24-hour clock format. If the setting is a Chinese period drama which uses 时 (shíchén) to tell the time, please follow instead the Chinese tradition and translate as "ยาม" i.e. 1 ยาม (1 ยาม = 2 ชม.).
- There are no periods - sentences should be separated with a single space.
- Never use question marks - exclamation marks may be used although sparingly.
- Never add a space before an exclamation mark.
- 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 quotation marks (“ ”) without spaces for regular quotations.
- Use single quotation marks (‘ ’) for quotes within quotes:
- Use quotation marks for poetry.
- Use quotation marks when a character is seen to be reading aloud.
14. Reading Speed
- Adult programs: 17 characters per second
- Children’s programs: 13 characters per second
- Words or phrases that are repeated more than once should be translated with Thai repetition marks - ไปไกลๆ
- A space should be added after the Thai repetition mark, but not before:
- If the repetition mark is used more than once, do not add a space in between.
- 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.
- Do not Italicize lyrics.
- Use ellipses when a song continues in the background but is no longer subtitled to give precedence to dialogue.
- Punctuation: punctuation should not be used in songs.
- 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, transliterate the original title.
- The transliterations present in the KNP tool for the respective show should take precedence over other transliteration rules.
- The Thai Royal Institute (Royin) guidelines may sometimes lack clarity or consistency, so please use best judgement (Royin or common transliteration) when applying transliteration rules in subtitles (e.g. sometimes, modern spellings not found in the dictionary are acceptable, e.g. มั่ง/บ้าง, ไหม/มั้ย/มะ can be used if it's appropriate for the content) as long as you are consistent within the file, within a season and with previous seasons.
- For real places, cities, states and countries, please use common transliteration rules. The Thai Royal Institute has repealed their initial guidelines and therefore, common transliteration should now be acceptable in all cases. For example, "Alabama" used to be transliterated as แอละแบมา by Royin, but อลาบามา is now acceptable and should not be flagged as an error.
- For character names, please use tone marks (ไม้เอก ไม้โท ไม้ตรี ไม้จัตวา และไม้ไต่คู้) when it will bring viewers to the closest pronunciation of the word, e.g.
- Andy should be แอนดี้ not แอนดี.
- Tony should be โทนี่ not โทนี.
- Axel should be แอ็กเซล not แอกเซล.
- The closest pronunciation helps enhance the viewing experience and is generally preferred, unless there are other spellings of this particular name more commonly used in Thai.
- The ending consonant should reflect the English sounds. Below are some examples:
- Mark should be มาร์ค, not มาร์ก.
- Pete should be พีท, not พีต.
- Chase should be เชส, not เชซ.
- Please note that consistency of transliterations should be maintained within a show.
19. Formality and Tone
Both formal and informal language styles are acceptable, depending on the content and/or context.
Always be mindful of creative intent and language usage of the source material.
- For any non-established/unknown relationship/hierarchy, formal speech should be used no matter the gender or who is speaking to whom, i.e. ผม-ฉัน-คุณ-ท่าน
- Setting and era should also be taken into consideration, e.g. during the time of kings, deferential style would be used by everyone in court. The use of formal and informal tone due to the hierarchy would only apply to servants. i.e. กระหม่อม-หม่อมฉัน-พ่ะย่ะค่ะ-เพคะ / for fantasy setting i.e.: ข้า-เจ้า-ท่าน
- Also consider:
- A child should use the formal tone when speaking to an adult, i.e. ผม-หนู-คุณ-พี่ unless there's a contextual reason not to.
- Don't use the informal tone when talking to strangers officials, authority figures (police, teachers, etc.) unless in an hostile environment or rude behavior is being portrayed.
- Don't use the informal tone when a male speaks to an unknown woman unless context is to be rude or impolite, i.e. ครับ-ค่ะ should be used equally.
- Don't use the informal tone when adults speak to senior citizens.
20. 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.
- Abbreviations: Industry standards do not require spaces before nor after abbreviations in subtitles. However, in the case of long abbreviations (4 letters or more), and in cases of ambiguity, consider adding a space before and after, using best judgement.
- when a space is not needed: “ท่านส.ส.กำลังมา” > A space is not added before nor after "ส.ส."
- when a space may be needed: “ปฏิบัติการทางทหารอย่าง กอ.รมน. เกิดขึ้นจากยุคสงครามเย็น” or “เขาตอบกลับมาแค่ อมก แปลว่าอะไรเนี่ย” > A space should be added before and after the abbreviation for clarity.
21. 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 Thai, 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:
["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.
- 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…
Subtitle 2: …seeing a lot more of this.
- 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
- For all language-related issues not covered in this document, please refer to:
- Revised section 5 Dual Speakers - 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 10 Line Treatment - 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 11 Numbers - 10th bullet point added
- Revised section 13 Quotation Marks - 4th and 5th bullet points added
- Added section 18 Transliteration - Rules copied from original Special Instructions section, 2nd and 3rd bullet points expanded and clarified
- Added section 19 Formality and Tone - subsequent sections renumbered
- Revised section 20 Special Instructions - added 5th bullet point and examples regarding abbreviations
- Revised section 2 Character Names - pointed edited for clarity around transliteration and translation approaches
- Revised section 3 Continuity - 1st bullet point added clarifying the type of ellipsis permitted
- Revised section 4 Documentary and Unscripted - 2nd bullet revised removing conflicting advice re pick-up ellipses
- Revised section 7 On-screen Text - final bullet revised removing conflicting advice re pick-up ellipses
- Revised section 11 Numbers - 3rd, 7th, 8th and 9th bullets added for additional clarity
- Revised section 12 Punctuation - 2nd bullet revised, 3rd bullet added
- Revised section 13 Quotations - 4th bullet about punctuation within quotations removed
- Revised section 15 Repetitions - 3rd bullet added
- Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - 3rd bullet point reworded
- Revised section 20 Reference - Longdo Dictionary reference removed, please do not use this resource
- Revised section 18 Special Instructions - 3rd bullet point added
- Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - 3rd bullet point added
- Revised section 7 On-screen Text - section header revised for clarity
- Added section 4 Documentary
- Revised section 7 Forced Narratives - 2nd, 3rd and 6th bullet points added
- Revised section 8 Foreign Dialogue - 2nd bullet point removed
- Revised section 11 Numbers - 4th bullet point revised, 5th bullet point added
- Revised section 13 Quotes - rewritten for clarity
- Revised section 16 Songs - 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 17 Titles - 2nd bullet point revised
- Revised section 18 Special Instructions - 5th bullet point added
- Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - renamed and expanded for clarity
- Revised section 3 Continuity - 3rd bullet point revised, example added
- Revised section 13 Reading Speed - words per minute removed
- Revised section 14 Repetitions - 2nd bullet point added
- Revised section 16 Titles - 1st bullet point revised
- Revised section 17 Special Instructions - 4th bullet point added
- Revised section 18 SDH Guidelines - rewritten for clarity
- Revised section 19 Reference - rewritten for clarity