Welsh Timed Text Style Guide
This document covers the language specific requirements for Welsh. Please make sure to also review the General Requirements section and related guidelines for comprehensive instructions surrounding timed text deliveries to Netflix.
- O.C. - Oed Crist
- C.C. - Cyn Crist
- y.b. - y bore
- y.p. - y prynhawn
- Dr. - Doctor
- Prof. - Proffeswr / Athro
- Capt. - Capten
- e.e. - er enghraifft
- a.y.b. - ac yn y blaen
- tr. - troedfedd
- mf. - modfedd
- Acronyms and initialisms should be written without periods between letters. For example: UNICEF, BBC, CIA
I.3. Character Limitation
- 42 characters per line
I.4. Character Names
- Do not translate proper nouns and names unless Netflix provides approved translations.
- Nicknames should only be translated if they convey a specific meaning.
- Use language-specific translations for historical/mythical characters (e.g. Siôn Corn).
- 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 at the beginning or end of subtitles when an ongoing sentence is split between two or more continuous subtitles (e.g. when the pause between utterances is less than 2 seconds).
Subtitle 1 Mae llawer o ladron allan yna yn honni
Subtitle 2 eu bod yn ei wneud am yr arian yn unig.
- Use ellipses to indicate a pause (2 seconds or more) or if dialogue trails off. In the case of a pause of under two seconds, if the sentence continues in the next subtitle, do not use an ellipsis at the beginning of the second subtitle.
Subtitle 1 Ond dwi'n hoffi arian, felly…
Subtitle 2 sut mae hynny'n gweithio?
- Use an ellipsis to indicate abrupt interruptions. Do not use double hyphens, en or em dashes to indicate abrupt interruptions.
- Use ellipses followed by a space when there is a significant pause or hesitation within a subtitle.
Brawd, gwnes i ddim… gweld y gefynnau'n dod.
- Use an ellipsis without a space at the start of a subtitle to indicate that a subtitle is starting mid-sentence.
…os ydw i'n darllen y map hwn yn iawn.
I.6 Dates and Decades
- Decades should be written using numerals in the following format: “Mil naw pumdegau” should be 1950s, “pumdegau” should be ‘50s.
- Centuries should be written in the following format: “ugeinfed ganrif” should be 20fed ganrif.
- Do not use '50s, '70s etc. for ages: i.e. prefer "Dwi yn fy mhumdegau" vs. "Dwi yn fy 50au"
I.7. Dual Speakers
- Use a hyphen without a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one speaker per line.
-Mae hynny'n amhosibl.
- 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.
I.8. Font Information
- Font style: Arial as a generic placeholder for proportionalSansSerif
- Font size: Relative to video resolution and ability to fit 42 characters across screen
- Font color: White
I.9. 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 onscreen text or covered in the dialogue) 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 in the subtitle that follows it.
Subtitle 1 Rhyfedd…
Subtitle 2 (FN) 32 AWR YN DDIWEDDARACH
Subtitle 3 …roeddwn i am ofyn yr un peth i ti.
I.10. Approach to Welsh Language
- Use Standard Welsh when translating. However, dialects may be used if there is a requirement to clearly differentiate between certain characters and if it is kept in line with the source language and they are speaking in different dialects.
- Contractions should be used appropriately in line with the tone of the content. For example, if the content is light-hearted and/or fast-faced, words should be contracted to ensure a quicker, smoother flow. For more formal content or characters, words should not be contracted to ensure the formality is conveyed appropriately.
- Welsh idioms should be used when possible to ensure the Welsh is as authentic as possible. Where this is a Welsh-language equivalent to express the meaning behind the source language, these should be used. For example, Rhoi'r ffidil yn y tô (to throw the towel in), Cerdded yn ling di long (to loiter/walk slowly).
- When dealing with words for technology and internet speak, where there is a well-known and established term in Welsh, please use this. However, it is acceptable to use the English equivalent if it’s likely more people would understand its meaning immediately.
- Please adhere to standard mutation rules. The only exception would be if the source language is intentionally broken/poor language and you want to try and reflect this in the Welsh translation. If this is the case, it should be applied consistently throughout so that it is understood as intentional.
- Please ensure the formality and tone of the subtitles are appropriate for the type of source content.
- Transliteration of some words (e.g. trwbwl) is acceptable when used naturally in a sentence, as one would in spoken language.
- Where possible, please try to use widely-known Welsh swear words and insults, e.g. ast, cachu hwch, coc oen, selecting the one which is most appropriate for the source term in terms of intent and meaning.
- Where possible, please try to use widely-known Welsh jokes and humor if it is appropriate and reflects the intent of the source language, e.g. rhech mewn pot jam, cer i grafu.
- Ensure all accents and diacritics which are standard in Welsh are correctly and consistently used, including â, ê, î, ô,û, ŵ, ŷ, as per official language reference material.
I.11. 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.
- Unfamiliar foreign words and phrases should be italicized.
- Proper names, such as foreign locations or company names, should not be italicized.
- Always use accents and diacritics in names and proper nouns from languages which use the Latin alphabet where their use is seen in official sources, or in the source text for fictional names. For example, Spanish names such as Mónica Naranjo, Pedro Almodóvar, Plácido Domingo should retain their diacritics. Any proper names which have lost the use of accents due to cultural reasons (e.g. Jennifer Lopez) do not need to have them added.
- Transliterate uncommon or unfamiliar letters/characters which appear in names or proper nouns when working from a Roman alphabet language into Welsh 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).
- Italicize text only in the following cases:
- Narration and voice-over
- The voice of a visible character expressing unspoken thoughts or inner monologue
- Song lyrics when sung, not quoted (if rights have been granted)
- A poem being recited
- Unfamiliar foreign words and phrases
- Dialogue that is heard through electronic media, such as a phone, television (especially if we see the television and hear the audio), computer, loudspeaker, non-sentient robots, robotic voices or AI, etc.
- Titles of books, periodicals, works of art, albums, movies, TV shows, radio shows, video games, etc. (for an episode title in a series or song titles use quotation marks)
- When the speaker is not in the scene (not merely off screen, behind a door or out of shot)
- In sections such as a phone conversation where the shot changes regularly between speakers, always ensure that segmentation and timing rules are correctly applied so as to ensure italics are used consistently and correctly.
- Only italicize titles, not names (e.g. the title of a book but not the name of a ship)
- Proper names, such as locations, vessels names or company names, should not be italicized
- Italics may be used when a word is obviously emphasized in speech and when proper punctuation cannot convey that emphasis (e.g. Dim fi wnaeth hyn).
- In trailers, where dialogue rapidly switches between off-screen characters, on-screen characters and narrators, do not italicize any dialogue from the characters and speakers and only italicize narration.
- This is the only set of rules to be followed for application of italics and trumps any additional advice found in associated references.
I.13. 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.
- Follow these basic principles when the text has to be broken into 2 lines:
- The line should be broken:
- after punctuation marks
- before conjunctions
- before prepositions
- The line break should not separate
- a noun from an article
- a noun from an adjective
- a first name from a last name
- a verb from a subject pronoun
- a prepositional verb from its preposition
- a verb from an auxiliary, reflexive pronoun or negation
- From 1 to 10, numbers should be written out: un, dau, tri, etc.
- Above 10, numbers should be written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc.
- When a number begins a sentence, it should always be spelled out.
- Times of day:
- Use numerals when exact times are emphasized: 9:30 y.b.
- Use lowercase y.b. (y bore) and y.p. (y prynhawn) when mentioned in dialogue
- Spell out words/phrases that do not include actual numbers: hanner awr wedi, cwarter i, canol nos, canol dydd
- When o’clock is mentioned in dialogue, always spell out the number: unarddeg o’r gloch y bore
- 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.
- Avoid using complex punctuation which could be hard for viewers to follow. For example, avoid using colons and semi-colons and instead use simple, clear sentence structures to aid comprehension.
- Double spaces are not permitted.
- En and em dashes are not permitted.
- Double hyphens or dashes are not permitted.
- Hash symbols may be used when someone mentions a hashtag. Spell out the word “hashnod” when used as a verb.
- Ampersands may be used when part of an initialism such as R&B or G&B.
- Use exclamation marks only in cases of shouting or surprise. Avoid over-using them.
- Interrobangs may be used in cases of a question being emphatically asked in an excited/shocked way or in disbelief. Prefer the format ?!, e.g. Be’ nes ti dweud?!
I.16. Quotation marks
- Quoted words, phrases and sentences are enclosed in double quotation marks
Be' ti'n meddwl, "dywedais gelwydd"?
- If the quotation extends beyond more than one subtitle, use an opening quotation mark at the beginning of the first subtitle, at the start and end of sentences within the quote and an end quote at the end of the last subtitle.
Subtitle 1 "Werth e."
Subtitle 2 "Pa mor dda wyt ti wir yn nabod rhywun
Subtitle 3 wnaethoch chi ond cyfarfod 72 awr yn ôl?
- Periods and commas precede closing quotation marks, whether double or single.
- Colons and semicolons follow closing quotation marks.
- Question marks and exclamation points follow quotation marks unless they belong within the quoted text.
- Song titles should be enclosed in quotation marks.
- Use quotation marks when a character is seen to be reading aloud.
- If an on-screen character does “air quotes” when speaking, please apply quotation marks to the equivalent word in the subtitle in order to retain creative intent and to help ensure clarity about which word or part of the sentence the air quotes apply to.
I.17. Reading Speed Limits
- Adult programs: Up to 17 characters per second
- Children’s programs: Up to 13 characters per second
- 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.
- Only translate plot-pertinent songs if the rights have been granted.
- See SDH section for how to tackle songs in intralingual subtitling.
- 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 including the first word of the second line in a two-line subtitle.
- 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 are to be used at the end of a line.
- Commas can be used within the lyric line, if necessary.
- Main titles: do not subtitle the main title.
- 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, leave titles in the original language.
I.21 SDH (subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing)
- Include as much of the dialogue as possible.
- Do not simplify or water down the dialogue.
- Where content has been dubbed into Welsh, 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: ["Forever Your Girl" yn chwarae]
- 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 characters are not yet identified, use [dyn], [menyw] neu [bachgen] [merch], [doctor], [cyflwynydd], [adrodddwr] and so on so as not to provide information that is not yet present in the narrative. Try to find gender-neutral options where appropriate.
- Use an identifier to indicate and describe ambient music, ensuring you use the correct genre, e.g. [cerddoriaeth roc] or [cerddoriaeth roc yn chwarae ar y radio]
- Plot-pertinent sound effects should always be included unless inferred by the visuals.
- Subtitle silence if plot-pertinent. For example, when plot-pertinent music ends abruptly.
- Be detailed and descriptive, use adverbs where appropriate when describing sounds and music, describe voices, speed of speech, volume of sounds.
- Describe the sounds and audio as opposed to visual elements or actions.
- Sound effects that interrupt dialogue should be treated as follows:
Subtitle 1: O beth dwi'n gwybod…
Subtitle 2: …ti a allai fod y dyn drwg.
- Speaker IDs and the corresponding dialogue should ideally be on the same line.
- Never italicize speaker IDs or sound effects, even when the spoken information is italicized, such as in a voice-over.
[adroddwr] Er bod lawer yn gwybod stori gariad trasig…
- In instances of foreign dialogue being spoken:
- If foreign dialogue is translated, use [in language], for example [yn Sbaeneg]
- If foreign dialogue is not meant to be understood, use [speaking language], for example [siarad Sbaeneg]
- Always research the language being spoken – [siarad iaith dramor] should never be used.
I.21. Special Instructions
- Dialogue must never be censored.
- Plot-pertinent dialogue always takes precedence over background dialogue.
- 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).
- 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.
- Take care with capitalization when it comes to words describing people, communities and cultures, for example:
- Prefer Du instead of du, Brodorol instead of brodorol, Byddar instead of byddar
- Prefer Hwntw instead of hwntw, Gog instead of gog, Cardi instead of cardi
For all language-related issues not covered in this document, please refer to:
- Revised sections I.17 Reading Speed and I.20 SDH - sections edited to mention "reading speed limits" and "up to"
- Revised section I.20 Titles - "do not subtitle the main title" added, section edited
- Revised section I.20 Titles - rules added/edited to include main title translations
- First edition of article published
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