Dubbed Audio Style Guide - Lector Dubbing
This document contains a list of required practices when creating dubbed audio in lector style for Netflix content. Consult your Netflix representative for any specification not covered in this document.
For musicals/ music-themed shows, multilingual shows, or documentaries please refer to the "Special Cases" (Section 3).
- All main dialogue in the source (original) language should be translated unless specifically noted.
- Due to timing limitations, some of the dialogue may be condensed/truncated as long as it retains all essential elements of the plot.
- Please refrain from dubbing redundant words such as character names and repetitions.
- Do not translate proper names (e.g., Peter, Suzanne), unless directed by production or approved by Netflix. EXCEPTION: Famous historical/mythical characters and/or nicknames that might vary from language to language.
- Local pronunciation of character names can be used in the voice-over, as long as the names are consistently pronounced throughout the series.
- On-screen text should only be included if plot pertinent and should be read by the lector.
- For the cases where plot-pertinent on-screen text cannot be dubbed due to overlapping dialogue, a Forced Narrative file should be provided.
- The on-screen main title card should not be voiced-over/translated.
- Episode titles should not be voiced-over/translated if they do not appear on screen. If on-screen, either as part of the principal photography or burned into video, please obtain approved translations from Netflix.
- On-screen episode titles should be voiced over by the lector, unless overlapping dialogue takes precedence. In this case, the episode title should be conveyed through a Forced Narrative file.
- “A Netflix Original Series” and other Originals credits translations should be voiced-over by the lector, using the Netflix approved translations.
- Opening and End Credits should not be voiced over by the lector, as these are usually not localized. If lector credits are needed, they should be conveyed by means of a Dub Card.
- Except for the circumstances where plot-pertinent on-screen text overlaps with dialogue, and the situations depicted in the “Special Cases” section, Forced Narrative files are not required for Lector Style Dubbing.
- Foreign dialogue should be translated and voiced by the lector only if it is meant to be understood by the audience (i.e. if subtitled in the original version). If it is unclear whether or not the foreign dialogue is meant to be understood, seek advice from Netflix or production.
- For multilingual shows, please see special instructions on the “Special Cases” section (Section 3).
- Songs should be translated and voiced by the lector only if plot pertinent and if the rights have been granted.
- Short songs/ditties should be entirely voiced over.
- For regular songs, only the first verse should be translated to give the audience context on the theme of the song.
- For musicals/ music-themed shows please see special instructions on the “Special Cases” section (Section 3).
- Dialogue should not be censored or softened – tone & register should match original dialogue.
- KNPs/formality tables must be created and used for translation to ensure consistency across episodes and seasons. Translations should be completed prior to recording for QC purposes and for consistency throughout on-site metadata. Please discuss with your Netflix contact the most suitable KNP workflow for your project.
- Voice-over should begin in relative synchronicity with the original dialogue.
- Unless directed to do so by Netflix, VO-Style dubbing – whereby original dialogue is at first heard at normal volume before the voice-over starts – should not be used. Please refer to the VO-Style dubbing guidelines for treatment.
- Local pronunciation of character names, places or foreign words is acceptable.
- Please ensure pronunciation of key terms is consistent across episodes and seasons.
3.1 Musicals/ Music-themed Shows
- For musicals or shows with long, plot pertinent musical sequences, songs should be localized by means of a forced narrative file. E.g. “The Get Down”
- For these cases, the lector will still cover on-screen text/foreign dialogue as usual, and a separate forced narrative file will be delivered, containing the plot-pertinent music sequences only.
- If it is unclear whether or not the show is to be considered a musical or music-themed show, please consult your Netflix Specialist.
- As usual, songs should only be translated if the rights have been granted. Please obtain song clearance from the content owner.
3.2 Bilingual/ Multilingual Shows
- For bilingual/multilingual shows or documentaries, there are cases in which foreign dialogue is better conveyed by means of a forced narrative file. In such cases, there will be specific instructions to create a forced narrative file for the foreign dialogue as opposed to covering it in the voice-over. E.g. “Narcos”
- If it is unclear whether or not the show can be considered a multilingual show, please consult your Netflix Content Operations Specialist.
3.3 Archival Material for Documentaries
- Unless specifically instructed, archival scenes should be translated and covered by the lector. Please consult your Netflix Specialist if a scene may be better conveyed by means of a forced narrative file.
- Examples of commonly used archival material are: TV news footage, court footage, previously released movie/TV content, etc.; i.e., anything filmed outside of the film/series itself.
4. Technical Aspects
For information on audio mix and delivery formats, please reference the Localization, Accessibility, and Dubbing Branded Delivery Specifications.
- For a 5.1 OV Printmaster, dip center channel only. Only for very loud sections or for films with very wide dynamic range, it’s acceptable to dip Left and Right as well, no more than 6db.
- For a 2.0 Printmaster, dip both channels
- OV may be manually dipped when necessary. Voiceover may not be raised above loudness spec to overcome very loud OV sections.
- Dip OV 6-12 db, per mixer discretion. Dubbed audio should be clear and intelligible with natural presence of OV dialog underneath. These are subjective choices relating to the dynamics of the OV and the perceived volume of the OV and Voiceover.
- Side-chained compressors should not have attack time shorter than 2ms and longer than 15ms.
- OV level should hit Netflix LKFS spec for the territory.
- OV level should transition to/from dipped in no more than 5 secs, not rapidly but in a seamless way.
- Regarding EQ - VO should sound natural. Excessive boosting or dipping of frequencies should be avoided, except to address recording problems.
- Removed section 1.7 regarding approval of localized scripts prior to recording
- Revised Objective to include Documentaries
- Revised Section 1.6 Consistency
- Revised Section 2.1 Sync to include/specify VO-Style dubbing guidelines
- Added Section 3.3 Archival Material for Documentaries
- Revised section 1.3 On-screen Text Treatment – 2nd bullet point added, 3rd, 5th and 8th bullet points revised
- Revised section 4 Technical Aspects - added all bullet points
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