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Hindi (Romanized) Timed Text Style Guide

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

1. Abbreviations

  • (Please use proper discretion when selecting an abbreviation, the list below contains suggestions and is not strictly limited to these options.)
  • a.m. - ante meridian
  • p.m.- post meridian
  • Mr. - Mister
  • Mrs. - Missus
  • Dr. - Doctor
  • Prof. - Professor
  • Lt.- Lieutenant
  • Capt. - Captain
  • Maj. - Major
  • Col. - Colonel
  • Gen. - General
  • ft. - feet
  • in. - inches

2. Acronyms

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

3. Character Limitation

  • 42 characters per line

4. Character Names

  • Do not translate proper names (e.g., Peter, Suzanne), unless Netflix provides approved translations.
  • If no approved translations are provided, please transliterate character names.
  • Nicknames should only be translated if they convey a specific meaning.

5. Continuity

  • Do not use ellipses when a sentence is split between two continuous subtitles:

Subtitle 1    Mano ya na mano, graduate banne ke liye
Subtitle 2    Bas do aur mahine bache hain.

  • Use ellipses to indicate a pause or an abrupt interruption. In the case of a pause, if the sentence continues in the next subtitle, do not use an ellipsis at the beginning of the second subtitle.

Subtitle 1    Mujhe sochne do...
Subtitle 2    Shayad koi aur rasta nikal aaye.

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

...par aisa hua nahi.

  • Incomplete speech should end with an ellipsis.

Maine aisa kabhi bhi nahi socha tha ki...

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 an ellipsis at the end of the sentence in the subtitle that precedes it and at the beginning of the sentence 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.

7. Dual Speakers

  • Use a hyphen without a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one speaker per line.

-Aao bhi!
-Nahi.

8. Font Information

  • Font style: Ariel 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 (FN) titles for on-screen text or dialogues should only be included if plot-pertinent.
  • Exceptions should be made for certain normalised English and Urdu words. For instance, English words like Thank you, Welcome, Library, School, Doctor, Newspaper, etc., have become a part of a regular Hindi conversation. Similarly, certain Urdu words such as Akhbar, Tashreef, Intezam, Mehfooz, Aashiq, etc., have been often used in Hindi shows and films that FNs become redundant for them. However, if there are plot pertinent dialogues (phrases, poems/shayaris, etc.) in Urdu, FN is recommended. For all other Indian regional languages (other than Hindi), and foreign languages (other than English) irrespective of how simple they are, FNs are recommended unless specifically mentioned otherwise.
  • 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.
  • 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 at the beginning of the sentence that follows it.

Subtitle 1    Mujhe lagta hai ki humein…
Subtitle 2    (FN) NO ENTRY
Subtitle 3    …wahan nahi jaana chahiye.

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).

11. Italics

  • Italicize the following:
    • Voice-overs such as not-in-scene narrators or the voice of a visible character expressing unspoken thoughts.
    • Song lyrics when sung, not quoted (if rights have been granted).
    • Unfamiliar foreign words and phrases.
    • 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.
    • Titles of books, periodicals, works of art, albums, movies, TV shows, radio shows, video games, etc. (For an episode title in a series, use quotation marks).

Aaj maine theatre main Titanic dekha.
Kya tum Iron Man dekh rahi ho?

  • Italics may be used when a word is obviously emphasized in speech and when proper punctuation cannot convey that emphasis (e.g., Aisa hua hai...)

12. Line Treatment

  • Maximum two lines.

13. Numbers

  • Numbers from 1 to 10 should be written out.
  • Numbers above 10 should be written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc.
  • When a number begins a sentence, it should always be spelled out:

Pehli baar maine woh kaam kiya tha.

  • 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.
  • Spell out all ordinal numbers from.
  • To express decades, the number is kept as a numeral and the word "decade" is translated as Dashak : 20 ka dashak, 30 ka dashak, etc.
  • For decimals, use periods: 16.8
  • For large numbers, use commas: 50,000
  • For clock time, use colon: 8:30 / 20:30
  • For currency, do not use symbols. Instead, transliterate the word (dollar, pound, cent, rupee etc.): 10 dollar, 20 pound, 25 cent
  • In case figures are mentioned in international numeral system (i.e. Hundred Thousand, Millions, Billions etc), convert the same to the Indian numeral system, unless specifically mentioned otherwise.

14. Punctuation

  • There should be no spaces after text and before punctuation marks.

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 is introduced by a comma.
  • Closing quotes follow the full stop.

Usne mujhse kaha: “Kal phir aana.”
Woh mujhse boli: “‘Dil kya kare’ mera sabse favourite gaana hai.”

16. Reading Speed

  • Adult programs: 15 characters per second
  • Children’s programs: 12 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.
  • Use ellipsis 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.

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. If none are available, transliterate the original title.

20. Special Instructions

  • Modern standard Hindi should be used for translation. Please refrain from using dialectal words. When there is no alternative to the word in modern Hindi, use the word closest in meaning.
  • Always use plot/genre pertinent language.
  • The use of transliterations should reflect the formality of the dialogue. For example, formal dialogue should not include colloquial transliterations.
  • 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.
  • Plot-pertinent dialogue always takes precedence over background dialogue.
  • Deliberate misspellings and mispronunciations should not be reproduced in the translation unless plot-pertinent.

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.
  • Reading speed can be increased to:
    • Adult programs: 18 characters per second
    • Children’s programs: 15 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:    Par kuch dino se...
                     [Khanste hue]
Subtitle 2:    ...main kaafi badlaav dekh raha hoon.

  • 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.

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