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Greek Timed Text Style Guide

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

1. Abbreviations

  • Mr / Mr. - κύριος / κος / κ. (the use of κος in nominative is preferred to the use of κ.)
  • Mrs / Mrs. - κυρία / κα (the use of κ. is to be avoided)
  • Miss - δεσποινίς / δις (the use of μις is to be avoided)
  • Dr / Dr. - δρ / Δρ (without a full-stop) (ο δρ, του δρα, τον δρα, δρ)
  • etc. - κλπ.
  • i.e. - δηλαδή 
  • e.g. - π.χ.
  • a.m. - π.μ. / το πρωί
  • p.m. - μ.μ. / το απόγευμα / το βράδυ
  • BC - π.Χ.
  • AD - μ.Χ.
  • & - και (the symbol can be used only if it is part of a foreign brand name: J&B, Smith & 
    Wesson)
  • Abbreviations should only be used when there are space or time limitations.
  • When an abbreviated word – ending in a period – happens to be the very last word of the subtitle, only one period should be used. Commas, question marks and exclamation marks can succeed the full stop.

2. Acronyms

  • Acronyms should be written without periods between letters: ΗΠΑ, BBC, CIA.

3. Character Limitation

  • 42 characters per line

4. Character Names

  • Proper names should be transliterated. Do not translate unless approved translations are provided by Netflix.
  • Nicknames should be transliterated. Only translate if the nickname conveys a specific meaning relevant to viewers.
  • Use phonological rather than the graphological transliteration:
    • Johnny - Τζόνι and NOT Τζώννυ, Patty - Πάτι and NOT Πάττυ
    • Some exceptions: Anna/Anne - Άννα/Ανν, Mary - Μαίρη, Stella - Στέλλα, Eva - Εύα (but Eve would be Ιβ)
    • Whichever option is chosen, it must be applied consistently throughout the translation.
    • For Japanese or Korean names, in particular, the capitalization and the order of the source should be followed. For example, the name “Bong Joon-ho” should be transliterated as Μπονγκ Τζουν-χο and NOT Μπονγκ Τζουν-Χο.
    • For names that include the terms “Mac” or “Mc”, the capitalization should follow the source as per the common convention. For example:
      Stella McCartney - Στέλλα ΜακΚάρτνεϊ
      Andie MacDowell - Άντι ΜακΝτάουελ
  • Use language-specific translations for historical/mythical characters.
  • Proper names that exist in Greek should be spelled as in Greek. For example: της Σοφίας, της Μαρίας, etc.

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 ellipsis when a sentence is split between two continuous subtitles.

Subtitle 1 Όταν ήμουν μικρή
Subtitle 2 κανείς δεν με ήθελε για παρέα,

  • If a sentence continues from one subtitle to the next, place the appropriate punctuation, or no punctuation, at the end of the first subtitle.

Subtitle 1 Είναι απίστευτο,
Subtitle 2 αλλά πάντα ήθελα να μένω εδώ.

  • Use ellipsis to indicate a pause (2 seconds or more) or an abrupt interruption:

-Τι κάνεις

-Μη μιλάς!

  • 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  Αν το ήξερα
Subtitle 2  δεν θα σου τηλεφωνούσα.

  • Use ellipsis without a space to indicate that a subtitle is starting mid-sentence:

έχουν υπογράψει μια συμφωνία.

6. Documentary/Unscripted

  • 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 an ellipsis at the beginning of the sentence in the subtitle that follows it.

Subtitle 1 Δούλεψα πάνω στην ταινία
Subtitle 2 (FN) ΣΚΗΝΟΘΕΤΗΣ

Subtitle 3 …έξι μήνες συνολικά.

  • 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.

7. Dual Speakers

  • Use a hyphen without a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one character speaking 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.

-Θα μας λείψετε.
-Γεια.

8. 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.

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, except for long passages of on screen text (e.g. prologue or epilogue), which should use sentence case to improve readability.
  • When ordinal numbers are included in an FN, lowercase should be used to indicate that the number is ordinal. For example: 20ός ΑΓΩΝΑΣ, 10ο ΛΕΠΤΟ.
  • Hashtags should be localized as per on-screen text; all caps should be used with spaces between the words.
  • 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 no ellipsis at the beginning of the sentence in the subtitle that follows it.

Subtitle 1 -Λοιπόν, νομίζω πως
Subtitle 2 - (FN) ΜΗΝ ΕΙΣΕΡΧΕΣΤΕ
Subtitle 3 - πως είναι η καλύτερη συμβουλή που μπορώ

                 να σου δώσω.

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).
  • Unfamiliar foreign words and phrases should be either transliterated or italicized or left in the original language, depending on creative intent.
  • Foreign words such as “soundtrack” (σάουντρακ), “cool” (κουλ) or “bullying” (μπούλινγκ) that are regularly used in Greek do not need to be italicized.
  • For international entities known by their original names, please do not transliterate (e.g. Google, Facebook, Rolling Stones etc.)

11. Italics

  • Italicize the following:
    • Album, book, newspaper, magazine, works of art, names of ships, film and program titles (for song titles, use quotation marks instead)
    • 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.

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 written out: ένα, δύο, τρία etc.
  • Above 10 written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc.
  • When a number begins a sentence, it should always be spelled out.
  • The above rules might be broken due to space or time limitations, as well as for consistency when listing multiple quantities.
  • Round all figures to the closest 10 units, unless it is absolutely necessary to express the exact value.
  • For abbreviated ordinal numbers, they should be used, with no space between the number and the abbreviation: 1ος – 1η – 1ο. The accents are retained in the abbreviation, if present in the full form (e.g. 20ός αιώνας, 30ού βαθμού, 60ής επετείου, etc.)
  • To express decades, use the word "decade", followed by the apostrophe and the number: 20s - δεκαετία του '20
  • For decimals, use the comma: 6,8
  • For large numbers, use periods: 100.000
  • Date must be expressed in the Greek format: 23 Απριλίου 2016
  • For clock time, use the colon: 8:30
    • If the style of the text and the referent itself allows you (e.g. it does not refer to a flight departure or a military schedule), you may use the 12-hour system, as the Greek audience is better acquainted with it: 8:30 π.μ. (or μ.μ.)
    • If time is referenced in the dialogue, use the word rather than the number. For example: “Θα πάμε στις τρεις”.
  • For currency, use the word instead of a symbol. Full form of the word is preferred, but for time or space reasons, an abbreviation might be used: 10 δολάρια or 10 δολ.
  • To express the percentage, both the symbol and the word are acceptable, but the full form is preferred: % or τοις εκατό
  • Convert units to the metric system: kilometers (χλμ.), centimeters (εκ.), meters (μ.), kilograms (κιλά), unless explicit visual information, vital for the development of the plot, is constantly present. Ιn such rare cases, the measurement unit is retained: miles – μίλια
  • Temperature in degrees Fahrenheit should be changed to Celsius unless otherwise instructed.
  • For phone numbers, parentheses must be deleted while dashes may be used: 2124357724, 212-4357724

14. Punctuation

  • Please note the Greek question mark is a semicolon - ;

15. 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 quotation marks (" ") without spaces for regular quotations.
  • Use single quotation marks (' ') for quotes within quotes.
  • Direct speech can be introduced with or without a colon, but consistency in application is required. Commas should be avoided.

Eίπε "Έλα εδώ". or Eίπε: "Έλα εδώ".

  • The closing quotation mark is placed before all other punctuation, regardless of whether the quote spans two or more subtitles or includes more than one sentence.

"Δεν χρειάζεται να του τηλεφωνήσω", είπε ο Μάρτιν.
Είπα "Σταμάτα".
"Έλα εδώ, σε παρακαλώ".

  • If the whole sentence including the quote is a question or an exclamation, then the question mark or exclamation point is placed after the closing quotation mark. However, if that question or exclamation belongs to the quote (i.e. if the person whose words are quoted asked the question or made the exclamation), the question mark or exclamation point is placed before the closing quotation mark.

For example: Ρώτησε “Θα φας;”

  • Use quotation marks if 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.

16. Reading Speed

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

17. 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.

18. 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.
  • Follow this approach for poetry also.

19. 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 or transliterations. If none are available, please leave in the original language.
  • The following sources may be used to find Greek movie titles:

    www.netflix.com (Greek catalogue)
    www.cine.gr
    www.athinorama.gr

  • Ensure that any typos, wrong accents or capitalization are not reproduced. These are external sources.
  • Title case should be used for titles (upper case for all meaningful terms in a title).
      • Examples:
          • Το Γκαμπί της Βασίλισσας
          • Πίσω από τα Μάτια της
          • Προς Όλα τα Αγόρια που Αγάπησα

20. 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.
  • Shouts, sighs, exclamatory words and other paralinguistic elements (e.g. Έι, Αχ, Ωχ, Όπα, Αμάν, Ουάου) should be translated with caution. Even if they are present in the source, they should only be translated if they reflect an emotion that is meaningful to the plot.
  • The weak type of the personal pronouns (μου, σου, του etc.) needs an accent when it refers to the word following (when it is not possessive). This applies to proper names as well.
            For example:
            Η μητέρα τού είπε κάτι.
            Η Μαρία τού έδωσε ένα δώρο.
  • The Greek suffix “ν” should be added when appropriate: 
  • The final “ν” is observed in the following words:
    • Ιn the indeclinable and “μην”
    • In the article “την”
    • In the third person of the personal pronoun “την” and “αυτήν”

    • Τhose words keep the final “ν”, when the following word starts with a vowel or a brief consonant: κ, π, τ, μπ, ντ, γκ, or a double consonant: ξ, ψ.
      • For example: την είδα, την κοπέλα, την ντουλάπα, μην πας, αυτήν την ώρα.

    • However, in the above cases the final ν is dropped when the following word starts with the consonants: β, γ, δ, ζ, θ, λ, μ, ν, ρ, σ, φ, χ. For example, “τη διεύθυνση”, “τη λίστα”, “τη θεραπεία”, “μη μιλάς”.

  • The final “ν” is always maintained, in written word, in the following words:
    • In the indeclinable “δεν” and “σαν”.
    • In the article “τον” and “των”
    • In the numeral and the indefinite article “έναν”
    • Ιn the third person of the personal pronoun “τον” and “αυτόν”
      • For example: "τον πατέρα", "των θαλασσών", "έναν χειμώνα", "αυτόν θέλει", "τον ρώτησε", "σαν ναυαγός", "δεν θέλει".
  • 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.

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 Greek, 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: [παίζει το "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 a speaker ID is required for a character who has yet to be identified by name, use [ανδρική φωνή], female voice [γυναικεία φωνή], male [άνδρας], female [γυναίκα] 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. [ροκ μουσική], [χαλαρή τζαζ μουσική στο ραδιόφωνο]
  • 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: Ωστόσο, τελευταία… 

                  [βήχει, φτερνίζεται]

Subtitle 2: …το βλέπω πιο συχνά.

  • 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.

[αφηγητής] Μια φορά κι έναν καιρό, ήταν…

  • In instances of foreign dialogue being spoken:
    • If foreign dialogue is translated, use [in language], for example [ισπανικά] 
    • If foreign dialogue is not meant to be understood, use [speaking language], for example [μιλάει ισπανικά]
    • Always research the language being spoken – [μιλάει ξένη γλώσσα] should never be used

22. References

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

  • The Modern Greek Language Dictionary
  • The Modern Greek Grammar
  • Dictionary of Modern Greek (Λεξικό της Νέας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας, Babiniotis, G. 1998, Lexicology Centre)
  • NB: Where variant spellings present themselves, please aim to be consistent in your choice within the file you are working on


Change Log:

2021-07-15

  • Revised section 20 Special Instructions - 6th bullet corrected regarding weak possessive pronouns
  • Revised section 22 References - note added regarding ensuring consistency where variant spellings present themselves

2021-07-09

  • Revised section 1 Abbreviations - 1st bullet added to mention the nominative, 13th bullet added, 14th bullet about avoiding abbreviations at the start of a sentence removed
  • Revised section 4 Character Names - 7th, 8th and 10th bullet points regarding name transliteration added
  • Revised section 6 Documentary/Unscripted - rule and example adapted in 2nd bullet point
  • Revised section 9 On-screen Text - 6th and 7th bullet points added
  • Revised section 10 Foreign Dialogue - 2nd bullet edited, 3rd bullet added
  • Revised section 11 Italics - 2nd bullet point expanded
  • Revised section 12 Line Treatment - 3rd bullet point added
  • Revised section 13 Numbers - 13th bullet point added with example
  • Revised section 15 Quotes - Example added to 6th bullet point, 8th bullet point added
  • Revised section 19 Titles - 4th, 5th and 6th bullet points added
  • Revised section 20 Special Instructions - 5th and 6th bullets added with examples, final bullet point added about proper names and brands
  • Revised section 21 SDH Guidelines - 10th and 11th bullet points added
  • Revised section 22 References - 3rd bullet added confirming dictionary source

2021-02-24

2020-10-30

2020-07-24

  • Revised section 5 Continuity - 1st bullet point added clarifying type of ellipses permitted
  • Revised section 21 SDH Guidelines - 3rd bullet point reworded

2020-05-08

2019-08-20

  • Revised section 22 Reference - 5th bullet removed

2018-06-04

  • Revised section 9 On-screen Text - section header revised for clarity

2018-03-09

  • 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
  • Revised section 13 Numbers - 4th bullet point revised
  • Revised section 17 Repetitions - 2nd bullet point added
  • Revised section 18 Songs - 2nd bullet point added
  • Revised section 19 Titles - 2nd bullet point revised
  • Revised section 20 Special Instructions - 4th bullet point rewritten for clarity
  • Revised section 21 SDH Guidelines - expanded for clarity

2017-09-08

2017-08-06

  • Revised section 1 Abbreviations - 4th and 6th bullet point updated, 15th added
  • Revised section 1 Acronyms - 1st bullet revised 
  • Revised section 1 Character Names - 3rd bullet point, examples updated
  • Revised section 5 Continuity - 3rd, 4th and 5th bullet point updated
  • Revised section 6 Documentary - Example updated
  • Revised section 9 Forced Narratives - Example updated
  • Revised section 10 Foreign Dialogue - 2nd bullet removed, 3rd bullet updated
  • Revised section 13 Numbers - 6th and 14th bullet updated
  • Revised section 15 Quotes - 4th bullet updated
  • Revised section 18 Songs - 5th bullet updated
  • Revised section 19 Titles - 1st and 3rd bullet updated
  • Revised section 20 Special Instructions - 4th bullet added
  • Revised section 21 SDH Guidelines - Bullets 1-6 added; Section renamed
  • Revised section 22 Reference - 6th bullet added

 

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