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Localization Best Practices (Features & Series)  


This article provides best practice ideas and options in solving commonly encountered localization challenges. It is not a substitute for Audio/Timed Text Style Guides. Please always refer to the style guides for language/asset specific requirements. If you have specific concerns or encounter an instance that requires further attention, please seek advice from your Netflix Representative.

Music, Song Treatment

  • Songs should be translated and dubbed/subbed only if plot-pertinent and if the rights have been granted.
    Do not add dub/sub for non-plot-pertinent songs.
  • For SDH, please adhere to the English SDH Style Guide for all audible songs that do not interfere with dialogue regardless of plot-pertinence.
  • Opening/Ending theme songs: Do not add dub/sub unless it’s plot-pertinent or if instructed by Netflix.

Brand Names Treatment

  • Treatment can be handled in one of the following ways:

    (A) use the same English-language brand name if it is widely known and used in that territory;
    (B) use the name that brand is known by in that territory;
    (C) use a generic term for the product.

    Avoid swapping out other company's name or trademarked item.

TV/Movie clips Treatment

  • Dialogues in TV/Movie clips should be translated and dubbed/subbed only if plot-pertinent and if the rights have been granted.
    Do not add dub/subtitle events for non-plot-pertinent dialogue in TV/Movie clips.
  • For SDH, please transcribe all audible lines in TV/Movie clips according to the English SDH Style Guide. If the audio interferes with the dialogue, please give precedence to the most plot-pertinent content.
  • Historical/Archive footage: Do not dub; instead cover instances with subtitle/FN only -- to ensure that the historic and creative intent of these clips is maintained.

Onscreen Text Treatment

  • Please refer to the Language Timed Text Style Guides
  • Netflix Original Credits - Use Netflix approved translations provided in the Originals Credit Translations document.  
  • Burnt-in text, on-screen text messages, quotes or forced narratives - please translate and subtitle/FN for all languages unless redundant in the target language. Please do not dub in these instances.
    • It is okay to translate/dub in Lector dubbing if able. Otherwise, please include in the accompanying forced narrative file. For additional information, please refer to Dubbed Audio Style Guide - Lector Dubbing.
  • Audio Description files should convey all plot-pertinent on-screen text and subtitles.
  • Reminder: 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. 

Foreign Dialogue Treatment

  • For the general guidelines on the treatment of foreign dialogue in subtitles and dubbing, please refer to the Timed Text Style Guides and Audio Style Guides.
  • Foreign dialogues should be translated and dubbed/subbed only if plot-pertinent (usually with forced narratives).
    No need to add dub/subtitle events for dialogue that is non-plot-pertinent. Please refer to burned-in text documents and/or locked cuts with burned-in subs from your production representatives (if available) to confirm which foreign dialogue is intended to be understood.
  • If the presence of the foreign language is intended to create a language barrier between the characters in the scene and the language used in the original version is the target language of the dub asset, please flag this instance to your Netflix Representative to discuss the best approach.

Accent Treatment in dubbing

  • If the accent is discernible and pertinent (the subject of a joke, character arc, and/or plot development), please have the dubbing actor recreate it only if its applicable in the target language and if the accent can be performed as authentically and as nuanced as the original performance. 


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