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Table of contents

 

Defining Scope of Work (SoW) Source Material Provided Dubbing Script (DS) SoW

Appendix

  Dialogue List (DL) Requirements Appendix A
  Dialogue list events Dubbing Script required content in TTAL format Converting an Excel file to ttal
    Dubbing Script delivery Validation Results - Information rows
    Timeline expectations The DIALOGUE column
    Validations  
    Dubbing Script redelivery  

 

 

Defining Scope of Work (SoW)

This Dubbing Script Scope of Work (SoW) outlines Netflix’s expectations and requirements when commissioning the creation and delivery of As Recorded Dubbing Scripts by Dubbing Studios. 

 

Source Material Provided

Along with the video, Netflix provides a Dialogue List (DL) to assist in authoring the dubbing scripts.

 

Dialogue List (DL)

The DL is a script of the original content. It contains a transcription of the audio and other elements of the content, all timed to match the video. If the content’s original language is not English, the DL also includes an English translation of the content. In such cases, it is referred to as Pivot Language Dialogue List (PLDL)

In this Scope of Work, the terms Dialogue List and DL are used to refer to the script of the original content, regardless of its source language. 

You can download the Dialogue List in TTAL format from the script authoring request page in the Authoring tool. It’s also available in Excel format in Backlot under the Download Materials tool of the assigned source request.

 

Dialogue list events

Each section in the DL delimited by in and out timecodes is called an event. Events appear as rows when viewing the DL in Excel, as shown in the screenshots below.

 

An event viewed in Script Authoring  Same event viewed in Excel



For more information about the dialogue list, see DL Style Guide.

We encourage all NP3 dubbing studios to familiarize themselves with the DL/PLDL style guidelines as they define what these assets should look like.

 

Dubbing Script SoW



Note:

At Netflix, we often use the terms “dubbing script” and “as-recorded dubbing script” to mean the same thing. Please remember that Netflix only collects the as-recorded dubbing script version. Whenever you see the term “dubbing script” in our instructions, we're actually referring to the as-recorded dubbing script. 

 

The As-Recorded Dubbing Script (ARS) is a transcription of the audio and Forced Narratives (FN) in the target language of the secondary audio. 

The ARS includes all discernible audio and text elements needed for viewers who watch the dubbed version in the target language to understand and follow the story.

Netflix considers the as-recorded dubbing script to be a live asset—it's actively used and updated, not just stored for reference—for each secondary audio. We require delivery in the TTAL format, which is a structured format.

For more details about the requirements for Forced Narratives in dubbed content, please refer to the articles Forced Narratives Guidelines and Style Guide for Dubbing and Forced Narratives Linguist Guide.

 

Requirements

  • Dubbing script format: You must deliver dubbing scripts in TTAL format.
  • Timing: Make sure all events in the dubbing script match the timing in the final video. 
    • Matching duration: The duration of events should match the duration of the audio corresponding to the event's text.

 

DON’T DO

 

  • Event’s in and out timecodes: Each event's timecodes (start and end times) should be timed to the first and last spoken word the event transcribes. 
  • Pauses in dialogue: Whenever there is a pause in the dialogue that lasts around two seconds or more, always use a new event when the dialogue continues. Reactions and efforts count as dialogue pauses.

 

DON’T DO


 

 

 

  •  Voice-over and Polish Lector styles: Time the events to the original dialogue heard in the dubbed audio. Use the timing of the Dialogue List as a reference.

  • Transcription of audio: The written version should match the final audio word for word.
    • Discernible dialogue in a foreign language not meant to be understood by the audience should not be included in the as recorded script.
  • Spelling and Punctuation: The dialogue in the events should be written correctly in sentence case and with proper punctuation, even if a sentence is split across multiple events. 
    • Do not use ALL CAPS.
    • Typographical errors: The text in the events should not have any spelling or typing errors unless they are intentional and match the audio.
    • Symbols in the event: Intentional symbols used to indicate pause or other instructions can be present in the event as long as they are one of the symbols listed here:
      • Backward and forward slashes ( '/' and '\' )
      • Circumflex symbol ( '^' )
      • Less-than and greater-than ( '<' and  '>' )
      • Pipe symbol (‘|‘)
    • KNP names should be spelled correctly as per the KNP. If phonetic spelling is needed, enclose it in parentheses ( ) or brackets [ ] next to the properly spelled name.
  • Forced Narratives (FN): Events that need forced narratives should be tagged correctly, and their on-screen position should be identified. Refer to the Forced Narratives Linguist Guide for instructions.
    • Translating content for Forced Narratives: Events that translate content for the dubbed audio's FN file should follow the FN style guide for Dubbing and the target language FN style guide (if one exists).
    • Selecting events for FN: If project-specific instructions are available, refer to them when identifying events for the FN file.
  • Non-essential events: Events should not be empty, redundant, or unnecessary. 
    • Remove from the dubbing script events that aren't necessary.

 

DON’T DO
Delete redundant events
Delete unwanted or unnecessary events

Rows with empty DIALOGUE column are not allowed.

Delete the row or add text if missing

 

  • Reactions and efforts: Any reactions and efforts that are included in the event’s dialogue field must be enclosed in parentheses ( ), brackets [ ], or curly brackets { }. There are no exceptions to this rule.
    • Anything that is not heard or seen on-screen, such as instructions and explanations, should be in the annotation field or enclosed in parentheses, brackets or curly brackets.
    • Time the events with reactions and efforts to dialogue: Do not time events to begin or end with a reaction or effort. Events should be timed based on the first and last words spoken.

 

DON’T DO

 

  • Character name (SOURCE column): Each event should represent the dialogue of one individual character.
    • Do not list multiple characters in the same event.
    • Every event should be attributed to the correct character.
    • The character name NONE should be used only for on-screen text events.
    • Polish Lector character: Scripts created in the Polish Lector style should attribute the events to the lector voicing the words. Events selected for forcing (not voiced by the Lector) should be attributed to NONE (as indicated above) if they’re on-screen text or to the character voicing the dialogue.
    • Dialogue events selected for forcing (foreign dialogue, archival, songs) should be attributed to the character speaking the dialogue.
      • Polish Lector: See the previous bullet point.
DON’T DO

 

  • Crowd/group sound design (WALLA): If you're recreating sounds from a crowd or group from the original version, always use the character name WALLA when the dialogue is indistinct. 
    • WALLA represents the indistinct murmuring noise of a crowd.
    • The character name should start with WALLA, even if this term isn't used in your language.
    • You can add other words to WALLA to help identify the type of crowd or group sound you need. But you must separate WALLA from other words using a dash ( - )  or colon ( : ): 



DON’T DO

 

  • Discernible dialogue: Dialogue that the audience is clearly meant to understand should be attributed to the character that speaks it (not WALLA).
  • Unison dialogue or chants: When named characters speak or chant together discernible dialogue, don't attribute it to WALLA. Use the characters’ names instead.
    • When multiple characters say the same dialogue simultaneously, duplicate the event, once for each extra character, and attribute the new events to each character voicing the dialogue.

 

Dubbing Script required fields in TTAL format

 

The TTAL specifications include both mandatory and optional fields for each event. The fields are shown as columns in Microsoft Excel.

If you’re using Excel to convert a dubbing script to TTAL, the file must follow the TTAL format requirements and all guidelines mentioned in this SoW to ensure correct conversion.

  • The names of the Excel columns must match the DL’s naming convention (see Appendix A).
  • The content in each column must align with its corresponding field. For instance, timecode fields should contain numbers, not letters.
  • The file must not contain any characters that are not supported by Netflix’s platform. Refer to the Netflix Accepted Glyph List for a complete list of supported characters.
    • If a character is not on the list, it’s not supported.

The columns listed below – with their exact names, in English – are required in all scripts.

Required columns 

The as-recorded dubbing script must include the following columns. Every row in these columns must be filled; they cannot be left blank or contain incorrect information. 

  • IN-TIMECODE
    • This is the starting time of the dialogue or text. It needs to match exactly with the video and audio.
  • OUT-TIMECODE
    • This is the ending time of the dialogue or text. It also needs to match exactly with the video and audio.
  • SOURCE
    • This column contains the character’s name.
  • DIALOGUE
    • This column contains the transcription of the final dubbed audio or text element in the target language.
    • Please note that the text in the DIALOGUE column should be in the target language of the as-recorded dubbing script, not English (see Appendix A for more details).

 

Other columns

The columns below indicate if an event should be treated as an FN and its screen position. They need to be included in the as-recorded dubbing script. Empty cells are allowed in these columns, but when they contain text, it must be one of the acceptable values listed below. 

 

  • FN TREATMENT
    • Indicates events that require forcing.
    • Acceptable values when selecting an event for forcing are:
      • fn
      • FN
      • TRUE  
    • Empty cells indicate the event is not for forcing.

 

  • FN POSITION
    • Specifies where on screen the forced narrative event should be placed. 
    • Acceptable values for all languages are:
      • Top
      • Bottom
    • For Japanese only, the below values are also acceptable:
      • Left
      • Right
    • Left and Right for Japanese are only acceptable if Top or Bottom aren’t feasible.
      • Do not select Left or Right if the event can be on Top.
    • The default value is bottom. 
      • An empty cell means the narrative will be at the bottom of the screen



To learn more about converting to TTAL, see TTAL Converter User Guide.

 

Dubbing Script delivery

The final dubbing script should deliver to the As Recorded Dubbing Script source request in Backlot and can be done in two different ways:

  • Direct upload of a TTAL file to fulfill the source request.
  • Using Netflix’s Script Authoring tool.

To learn more about authoring Dubbing Scripts in Netflix’s Script Authoring tool, see:

Script Authoring Tool User Guide

CLP | Dubbing Script Authoring Workflow (requires sign-in)

 

Timeline expectations

Fulfillment of the As Recorded Dubbing Script source request is expected five calendar days before the secondary audio. 

If the dubbing partner cannot meet any of the due dates for any reason, they must notify Netflix immediately.

 

Validations

Scripts created in or uploaded to the Authoring tool are checked during their authoring and proofing steps. Each step can’t complete until all validation blockers are resolved.  

Dubbing scripts uploaded directly to Backlot are automatically inspected to ensure they comply with the TTAL requirements and don’t have major problems. If a file fails these checks, it must be fixed and redelivered. 

Dubbing partners should use the TTAL Validator on any files that need to be redelivered. This tool will show a list of problems found in the files. All of these issues must be fixed before a file can be uploaded to Backlot and for the As Recorded Dubbing Script source request to be considered fulfilled.

For a list of errors and possible solutions, refer to the  As Recorded Dub Script Validation Guide in PHC.

 

Dubbing Script redelivery

If changes are needed to the Forced Narrative (FN) file or if the content of the script doesn’t meet the requirements listed in this document, the as-recorded script will need to be updated and redelivered. 

These changes might be due to Quality Control (QC), customer complaints, creative changes, or any other reason to give the best experience to the viewers.

No matter which tool was used to create the as-recorded script or how it was first delivered, any updates or corrections must be done in Netflix's Script Authoring tool.

 

For information, see Forced Narratives Linguist Workflow Guide.

 

 Appendix

 

Appendix A

 

Converting an Excel file to ttal

 

Instructions to use the Convertor are covered in the article TTAL Convertor User Guide.

Below are some other considerations you should keep in mind.

The TTAL Convertor right-side pane lists the proper names expected for each column (see smaller green box)



 

Using the source request ID

 

Use the Source Request ID in the Convertor to automatically change parameters. Use the ID from the As Recorded Dubbing Script source request you will fulfill with the converted file.

 

Validation Results - Information rows

The TTAL Convertor and the TTAL Validator show validation messages under Validation Results (bottom of the page). Besides listing any problems found in the file, the results include two information rows. One row has a counter of Blockers, Errors and Warnings found in the file. Ideally, they’re all showing 0 (zero). The other information row shows how many events are tagged as FN in the file.

 

 

Always check the number of FN events to ensure it’s accurate.

 

The DIALOGUE column

When using the Excel template to convert your dubbing script to ttal ensure that the text in your language is placed in the DIALOGUE column. Otherwise, the file will not convert properly. 

 

 

 

Change log

 

2024-02-08

  • Added note about dubbing script and as-recorded dubbing script meaning the same thing at Netflix.
  • Reformatted requirements for clarity.
  • Added a few extra requirement bullet points for clarity and avoid misinterpretation.
  • Added screenshot examples for some requirements.

2023-11-06

  • Explicitly called out the use of dash ( - ) when creating walla characters to help indicate that the event is walla.

2023-10-17

  • Expanded the Appendix section with more examples. 

2023-07-14

  • Requirements: 
    • Clarified metadata and added bullet points on reactions and efforts.
    • Expanded the explanation on the use of the character WALLA.
  • Updated the required content in TTAL section.
  • Added Appendix section




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