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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. Character Names

  • Do not translate proper names, organizations, groups and 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).

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.

Examples:
Professor - Propesor
Head of Police - Pinuno 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 and/or no official translation is available (e.g. company names, organizations, etc.) 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.
  • 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.

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 there is no translation or to maintain the tone of the sentence can be left unitalicized, as this is understood by the majority of the population, 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.
  • 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.
  • Measurements should be converted to the metric system, unless the original unit of measurement is plot-relevant.
  • Symbols like %, &, can be used only if limited space is available. Otherwise they must be spelled out.
  • Ordinal numbers should follow the proper formats: una, ikalawa, ikatlo, etc., una, pangalawa, pangatlo, etc., ala-una, alas-dos, alas-tres, etc.
  • Although time might be mentioned as ng umaga/ng hapon/ng gabi in the dialogue, the more common written format is a.m./p.m.

Examples:

[Lisa] Magkita tayo mamayang 3:00 p.m.

[Jennie] Sige, pero hanggang 9:00 p.m. lang ako.

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’s not:

"Kinanta niya 'yung “Hinahanap Hanap Kita.”

  • 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.

“Pwede 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.

Examples:
Iyon - 'yon
Roon - R'on

14. Reading Speed

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

15. 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 the subtitle to the audio but translate only once.

16. 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 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 preceded by a space should be used at the end of a line – no commas or periods. Commas can be used within the lyric line, if necessary. 

17. 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. 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, existing movies and TV shows: use official or well-known translations. If none are available, leave titles in the original language.

18. Special Instructions

  • Plot-pertinent dialogue always takes precedence over background dialogue.
  • 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. (Ex: swardspeak)
  • 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
  • Words should only be contracted or truncated when it provides a smoother translation and/or conveys the appropriate tone and register, e.g. Ano ang = Ano'ng, Sino ang = Sino'ng, Hindi = 'Di, Huwag = 'Wag
  • There are many words that can be retained in English when localizing for the Filipino language. Linguists should take into consideration the choice that would be most appropriate and localized for the member’s experience and aligned with the creative intent.

19. 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 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:
    [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).
  • 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:

Example:
[tagapagsalaysay] Once upon a time, there was…

  • In instances of foreign dialogue being spoken:
    • If foreign dialogue is translated, use [in language], for example [sa Espanyo]
    • If foreign dialogue is not meant to be understood, use [speaking language], for example [nagsasalita ng Espanyol]
    • Always research the language being spoken – [nagsasalita ng banyagang wika] should never be used

20. References



Change Log:

2022-02-25

  • First edition of article published, Tagalog TTSG deprecated

 

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