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Filipino Timed Text Style Guide

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

1. Acronyms

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

2. Character Limitation

  • 42 characters per line

3. Names

  • Do not translate proper names, organizations, groups or names of companies, unless an official translation is available or Netflix provides approved translations, e.g. Susan, FDA, Tesla
  • Nicknames should only be translated if they convey a specific meaning.
  • Use language-specific translations for historical/mythical characters (e.g. Bampira, Sirena). If no translation is available, follow English (US) spelling, e.g. the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus.
  • Transliterate uncommon or unfamiliar letters/characters which appear in names or proper nouns when working from a Roman alphabet language into Filipino if they may cause confusion or be hard to understand or pronounce. Note that diacritics should be kept in proper nouns and names. For example: If the Icelandic name Þór appears, please transliterate as Thór (following relevant KNP and guidance about handling character names). If a German street name such as Torstraße appears in the source, please transliterate as Torstrasse (following relevant KNP and guidance about handling character names).
  • When translating Japanese, Korean and Chinese content, the name order should be last name / first name, in accordance with linguistic rules.
    • Japanese: Kamado Tanjiro
    • South Korean: Kim Hee-sun (first name should be connected with a hyphen, with second letter in lower case)
    • North Korean: Kim Jong Un (first name is written without a hyphen)
    • Chinese: Ning Shizheng (names should be separated with a space, with only the first letter capitalized)

4. 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 ellipses when a sentence is split between two continuous subtitles.
  • Use ellipses to indicate a pause (2 seconds or more), abrupt interruption. In case of a pause (2 seconds or more), if the sentence continues in the next subtitles, do not use an ellipsis at the beginning of the second subtitle.

Subtitle 1: Anak, may sasabihin ako sa 'yo.

Pakinggan mo sana…

Subtitle 2: mahal na mahal ko kayo,

ikaw at ang mga kapatid mo.

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

…akala ko ba

hinihintay ka na nila sa labas?

5. Documentary/Unscripted

  • Speaker’s title: only translate the title if there is an appropriate and official equivalent in Filipino. Do not include the speaker’s name, company name or character name as these are redundant with the English on-screen text.

Professor - Propesor
Chief of Police - Hepe ng Pulisya

  • Only translate a speaker’s title once, the first time the speaker appears.
  • When ongoing dialogue is interrupted by a speaker’s title, use ellipsis at the end of the sentence in the subtitle that precedes it and at the beginning of the sentence in the subtitle 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.
  • 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.

6. 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.

-Talaga naman!

-Ano ba 'yan?

7. 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.

8. 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 on-screen text or covered in the dialogue) or for on-screen text in English, if understood by the majority of the population (e.g. dates) and/or no official translation is available (e.g. company names, organizations, etc.) must be deleted.
  • In modern or contemporary titles, there is no need to translate dates, proper names of places, names of organizations, groups, or companies as they are understood by the majority of the population:
    • SEPTEMBER 8, 1979
  • In period or historical titles, these should be translated to match the tone of the original content:
    • IKA-8 NG MAYO, 1813
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When working on FIlipino language titles, do not create FNs for any Filipino dialogue which contains common English words. These do not need forced narratives as they are understood by the target audience.
    • For example:

      • Source: May number one hit kami sa Spotify.
      • Do not subtitle as: May nangungunang kanta kami sa Spotify.

      • Source: Sorry, di ko gustong mangyari 'yon.
      • Do not subtitle as: Paumanhin, di ko gustong mangyari 'yon.

9. 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).
  • When using foreign words, always verify spelling, accents and punctuation, if applicable.
  • Foreign words should be italicized, unless they have become part of regular usage (e.g. in English, the following no longer need to be italicized: bon appétit, rendezvous, doppelgänger, zeitgeist, persona non grata. In Spanish, e.g. ala-una, alas-dos) and unless they are proper names (e.g. a company name). Words retained in English because they are already part of the vernacular or understood by the majority of the population can be left unitalicized, e.g. "Bumili ako ng cake para sa 'yo."

10. Italics

  • Italicize the following:
    • Album, book, film and program titles (use quotes for song titles)
    • Foreign words (unless they are part of regular usage)
    • 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
    • Poetry
  • Do not use italics to indicate emphasis on specific words.

11. 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.

12. Numbers

  • Numbers from 1 to 10 should be written out: isa, dalawa, tatlo, etc.
  • Numbers above ten should be written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc.
  • When a number begins a sentence, it should always be spelled out.
  • Exceptions to the rules mentioned above:
    • 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:

[speaker 1] 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15...

[speaker 2] Ang dami mong napitas na mangga.

    • Keep scores for sports and competitions in numerals.
    • For example:

Perfect 10 ang ibinigay na score sa Pilipinong gymnast.

77 ang score ng Hawkins High Basketball Team noong fourth quarter.

    • When time is mentioned in the dialogue, the original format should be followed.
    • For example:

6:00 a.m. ang alis ng unang bullet train papuntang Osaka. (The first bullet train to Osaka departs at 6:00 a.m.)

Alas singko ng hapon natatapos ang huling klase niya. (Her last class finishes at five in the afternoon.)

    • Measurements should be converted to the metric system, unless the original unit of measurement is plot-relevant. Round up to the closest number if it doesn’t need to be exact. Exceptions: Imperial units should be used when measuring a person's height or weight, when describing altitude or when discussing measurements of fabric to reflect local practice.
    • Examples:

238 kilometers ang layo ng Quezon City sa Baguio City. (The distance between Quezon City and Baguio City is 148 miles.)

5'2" ang girlfriend ko. (My girlfriend is 5'2".)

    • The percent sign (%) can be used only if limited space is available. Otherwise, it must be spelled out.
    • Do not convert currencies. Keep as per source.
  • Do not use "ika-" in modern writing. Use "pang-", "pan-" or "pam-", in accordance with grammar rules.

In modern Filipino:

Subtitle as: pangatlong araw

Not: ikatlong araw

Subtitle as: pampitong anak

Not: ikapitong anak

In period content:

Subtitle as: ikatlong araw, pangatlong araw

13. Quotation Marks

  • Use quotation marks at the start of the quotation and after the last line of the quotation, marking the beginning and end of the quotation (rather than the beginning and end of every subtitle within the quotation), e.g.

Subtitle 1: “Marahang-marahang manaog ka

Subtitle 2: Irog, at kata’y lalakad

Subtitle 3: Maglulunoy katang payapang-payapa sa tabi ng dagat"

  • Use double quotation marks (" ") without spaces for regular quotations.
  • Use single quotation marks (‘ ‘) for quotes within quotes.
  • Use quotation marks when a character is seen to be reading aloud
  • Punctuation should be included within the quotation marks if the quote is an independent clause and outside if it is not:

(independent clause) Sabi ni Laurence habang niyayakap niya ako kagabi, “Nanalo ako dahil sa ‘yo!”

(dependent clause) Kwento ng batang si Janjan, sumakit daw ang tiyan niya “pagkatapos niyang kumain ng manggang hilaw”.

  • Quoted sentences should be preceded by a comma instead of a colon and start with a capital letter:

Sabi niya, "Hindi kita iiwan."

  • If the quote starts the sentence, a comma should be used, unless quoting a question:

“Hindi kita iiwan,” sabi niya.

“Puwede ba kitang maging kaibigan?” tanong niya.

  • 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.
  • Single quotation marks should be added to shortened versions, to indicate a change in tone and preserve formal grammar rules.

For example:
Iyon - 'Yon
Roon - Ro'n

14. Reading Speed Limits

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

15. Repetitions

  • If words or phrases are repeated more than once by the same speaker, the linguist should apply best judgment based on the context. They should consider what is feasible and easy to digest for members when determining what to subtitle and whether to include all repetitions.
  • If the repeated word or phrase is said twice in a row, time the subtitle to the audio but translate only once.

16. Songs

  • Only subtitle plot-pertinent songs if the rights have been granted. However, well-known English-language songs should not be translated unless they are specifically written for the movie/show, e.g. for children's content, or unless otherwise instructed by Netflix.
  • 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 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.

17. Spelling

  • Do not transliterate; keep the original spelling of English words.
    • For example:
      • okay (not okey)
      • basketball (not basketbol)
      • computer (not kompyuter)
      • truck (not trak)
  • Words can be contracted when it provides a smoother translation and/or conveys the appropriate tone and register.
    • For example:
      • ano ang - ano'ng (not to be confused with "anong")
      • sino ang - sino'ng (not to be confused with "sinong")
      • na ang - na'ng (not to be confused with "nang")
      • sa iyo - sa 'yo
      • sa akin - sa 'kin
      • mo ako - mo 'ko
      • hindi - di
      • huwag - wag
      • kapag - pag
      • doon - do'n
      • roon - ro'n
      • nandoon - nando'n
      • naroon - naro'n
      • ganoon - gano'n
      • noon - no'n
      • paano - pa'no
      • gaano - ga'no
      • ninyo - n'yo
  • Deliberate misspellings and mispronunciations should not be reproduced in the translation unless plot-pertinent.
  • Do not spell words in the way that is used in chats and text messaging, unless the context calls for you to do so.
    • For example:
      • yun/yung (should be 'yon/'yong)
      • nalang (should be na lang)
      • sayo (should be sa 'yo)
      • parin (should be pa rin)

18. Titles

  • Main titles: Subtitle the on-screen main title for branded content when the approved title for Filipino is available in KNP/Terminology and it does not match the title which appears in the card. Do not translate the main title from scratch: always use the approved title provided.
  • Do not subtitle when the on-screen main title and the approved title for Filipino are identical and fully match. (e.g. the on-screen title is already in Filipino, both read with the exact same words and spellings, etc.)
  • Subtitle when the approved title for Filipino contains a part that is transliterated/translated/transcreated/edited and does not fully match the on-screen main title.
  • When the provided translation of the main title does not work with a line break in a way that fits within the limit, the maximum character count per line or maximum line limit can be exceeded. Do not split the provided translation into multiple subtitle events.
  • Do not italicize the main title event.
  • Episode titles: do not subtitle episode titles if they do not appear on screen/are not voiced-over. Do not translate them unless there is an approved translation provided. 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, e.g. existing movies, TV shows, literature, songs, musical compositions: use official or well-known translations. If none are available, leave titles in the original language.

19. Special Instructions

  • Plot-pertinent dialogue always takes precedence over background dialogue.
  • For modern or contemporary titles, the subtitles should reflect the language that is used by native speakers on a daily basis: easy to use and familiar, not outdated nor overly formal. The form of Filipino to be used should be open to borrowing words from the English language to reflect how Filipino speakers communicate every day.
  • For period or historical titles, formal Filipino should be used: everything must be translated and foreign words must not be used unless required due to the context, e.g. a character says something in a foreign language other than the primary language used in the film or episode and it must be kept because it is plot-pertinent, or names of skills in anime being retained in full if untranslatable or partially in Japanese when translating them sounds awkward, e.g. Paraang Hiten Mitsurugi (Hiten Mitsurugi-ryuu). Contractions should be avoided, except for those used in formal dialogue, e.g. "Iyon ba'y mahalaga sa iyo?" or "Ano pa't patungo rin naman tayo roon."
  • 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.
  • 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). Spelling may be revised to match the tone and formality of the speaker, e.g.
    • Informal: "Wag mo 'kong hawakan!"
    • Formal: "Huwag mo akong hawakan."
  • Please avoid colloquial terms, slang, regional dialect, and emotive elements, unless to convey specific meaning, or to match the tone and intention of the original dialogue. (e.g. swardspeak). Terms used by a specific group of people, e.g. Gen Z, should be retained to preserve the flavor and accurately reflect the way they communicate in real life. For example:
    • EN: Looks like you've been ghosted.
      • Subtitle as: Mukhang na-ghost ka.
      • Not: Mukhang iniwan ka sa ere.
    • EN: You're canceled.
      • Subtitle as: Canceled ka na.
      • Not: Kanselado ka na.
  • Deliberate misspellings and mispronunciations should not be reproduced in the translation unless plot-pertinent.
  • 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.
  • Hashtags should not be translated, e.g. #ForeverYoung, #CirclesFamilia
  • Honorifics should be localized when required by the context given they also exist in the Filipino language and should be reflected in subtitles. Please refer to template and KNP annotations about characters. These provide information about the relationship or dynamic between characters:
    • Source (romanized): Neji-niisan...
      • EN template: Neji...
      • FIL: Kuya Neji...
    • Source (romanized): Seo-woo ssi.
      • EN template: Seo-woo. (template annotation: "The character used 'ssi' to show respect: Mr. or Ms.")
      • FIL: Mr. Seo-woo.
    • Do not always translate literally, e.g., "ojisan" is not always "uncle", "oppa" is not always "kuya". Additionally, some honorifics do not have an equivalent in Filipino, e.g. "-kun". In these cases, please use best judgment and localize the dialogue using the correct tone required by the context.
  • In modern content, professional titles such as General Manager, Station Manager, Department Head, Director of Operations should be kept in English to reflect actual usage.
    • Subtitle as: Department Head
      • Not: Pinuno ng Departamento
    • Subtitle as: First Lieutenant
      • Not: Unang Tenyente
  • Names of events and holidays such as the Fourth of July, Cinco de Mayo, Día de los Muertos, should be retained as per the source.

20. 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 Filipino, 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 limits can be increased to:
    • Adult programs: Up to 20 characters per second
    • Children’s programs: Up to 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:
    [tumutugtog ang "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 [lalaki] or [babae], or [boses ng lalaki] or [boses ng babae], 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 as [tumutugtog ang rock music sa stereo]
  • Sound effects should be plot-pertinent.
  • Sound effects that interrupt dialogue should be treated as follows:

Example 1:
Subtitle 1: Ilang araw nang... [umubo/umuubo]
Subtitle 2: ...masama ang pakiramdam ko.

Example 2:
Subtitle 1: Wala na akong... [buntong-hininga]
Subtitle 2: ...pera.

  • Never italicize speaker IDs or sound effects, even when the spoken information is italicized, such as in a voice-over:

[tagapagsalaysay] Noong unang panahon, mayroong...

  • In instances of foreign dialogue being spoken:
    • If foreign dialogue is translated, use [in language]
      • [sa Spanish] in modern and contemporary titles
      • [sa Español] in period and historical titles
    • If foreign dialogue is not meant to be understood, use [speaking language]
      • [nagsasalita ng Spanish] in modern and contemporary titles
      • [nagsasalita ng Español] in period and historical titles
    • Always research the language being spoken – [nagsasalita ng banyagang wika] should never be used

  • When working on modern Filipino titles, do not translate common English words nor replace them with formal or archaic Filipino words. The original creative intent and tone should be preserved.
    • Examples:

      Source:         Ilan na absent mo?
      Subtitle as:   Ilan na absent mo?
      Not:               Ilan na pagliban mo?

      Source:         Sorry, how do you spell your last name?
      Subtitle as:   Sorry, ano'ng spelling ng apelyido mo? / Pasensya na, ano'ng spelling ng apelyido mo?
      Not:               Pasensya na, pero paano mo binabaybay ang apelyido mo?

21. References

Change Log


  • Revised section 16 Songs - 1st bullet expanded to cover approach to subtitling English-language songs
  • Revised section 19 Special Instructions - 3rd bullet edited to state "names of skills in anime" rather than "some anime" for clarity


  • Revised section 9 Foreign Dialogue - 3rd bullet point edited and expanded
  • Revised section 12 Numbers - final bullet point added with examples, covering writing numbers in modern Filipino vs. period content
  • Revised section 15 Repetitions - 1st bullet expanded to allow good judgement when dealing with repetitions
  • Revised section 18 Titles - 7th bullet expanded with further examples of what "published works" refers to
  • Revised section 19 Special Instructions - 3rd bullet regarding language in period content added, 6th bullet point about colloquial language expanded, 10th bullet about honorifics added, 11th bullet about job titles added, 12th bullet about names of events and holidays added


  • Revised section 3 Names - 5th bullet point added covering name formatting, including examples
  • Revised section 4 Continuity - example in 3rd bullet point corrected to "sa 'yo", line break corrected in the example in the 4th bullet point
  • Revised section 8 On-screen Text - 5th bullet point and examples edited
  • Revised section 12 Numbers - exceptions to measurements edited to include using imperial measurements for altitude, fabric amounts as well as a person's height and weight
  • Revised section 13 Quotation Marks - Spelling of "ro'n" corrected in final example
  • Revised section 20 SDH Guidelines - 20th bullet point edited to include new rules about labelling languages in SDH in modern titles vs. period titles
  • Revised section 21 References - spelling of "Pagsulat" corrected


  • Revised section 12 Numbers - "nang" corrected to "ng" in example in 10th bullet point
  • Revised section 16 Songs - "preceded by a space" deleted from 6th bullet point
  • Revised section 17 Spelling - spellings for contractions of doon, roon, nandoon, naroon, ganoon, noon, paano and gaano corrected
  • Revised section 19 Special instructions - apostrophe removed from example in 4th bullet point ('wag changed to wag)
  • Revised section 19 Special instructions - final bullet covering contractions removed, please refer to section 17 Spelling


  • Section 3 Character Names renamed as "Names"
  • Revised section 8 On-Screen Text - final bullet point about FIL FNs added with examples
  • Revised section 12 Numbers - whole section revised with expanded rules and new examples
  • New section added 17 Spelling - subsequent sections renumbered accordingly
  • Revised section 19 Special Instructions - bullet point regarding type of Filipino to use moved up to the 2nd bullet point, typo corrected in 4th bullet (mo' kong corrected to mo 'kong), wording in the 9th bullet regarding contractions changed from "should be" to "can be"
  • Revised section 20 SDH - localized example added to 16th bullet point, localized example added to 19th bullet point, final bullet point regarding handling English words added with examples


  • Revised sections 14 Reading Speed and 19 SDH - sections edited to mention "reading speed limits" and "up to"


  • Revised section 17 Titles - "for branded content" added


  • Revised section 4 Continuity - typo corrected in example in 3rd bullet
  • Revised section 5 Documentary/Unscripted - typo corrected in example in 1st bullet
  • Revised section 8 On-screen text - 5th and 6th bullets added with examples
  • Revised section 13 Quotation Marks - minor typos corrected in examples
  • Revised section 17 Titles - rules added/edited to include main title translations
  • Revised section 18 Special Instructions - some formatting changes and typos fixed
  • Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - minor typo corrected


  • First edition of article published, Tagalog TTSG deprecated




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