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Timed Text Style Guide: General Requirements

Any timed text created specifically for Netflix – Originals or non-Originals – should follow the Netflix Timed Text Style Guide, unless otherwise advised.  

1. Duration

Minimum duration: 5/6 (five-sixths) of a second per subtitle event (e.g. 20 frames for 24fps)
Maximum duration: 7 seconds per subtitle event

2. File Format

Subtitle and SDH files for all languages must be delivered in a TTML (.dfxp or .xml) format, except for Japanese, which must be delivered in Videotron Lambda Cap format.

3. Frame Gap

2 frames minimum (regardless of frame rate)

4. Glyph List

Only text/characters included in the NETFLIX Glyph List can be used. 

5. Line Treatment

2 lines maximum

Always keep the text on one line, unless it exceeds the character limitation. 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

6. Positioning

  • All subtitles should be center justified and placed at either the top or bottom of the screen, except for Japanese, where vertical positioning is allowed (see Japanese Timed Text Style Guide for details).
  • Please ensure subtitles are positioned accordingly to avoid overlap with onscreen text. In cases where overlap is impossible to avoid (text at the top and bottom of the screen), the subtitle should be placed where easier to read.

7. Timing

  • Timing to Audio: Subtitles should be timed to the audio or, if necessary, within 3 frames of the audio. If more time is required for better reading speed, the out-time can be extended up to 12 frames past the timecode at which the audio ends.
  • Timing to Shot Changes: It is good practice to avoid subtitles that cross the shot changes whenever possible, as this is disruptive to the viewing experience.
  • Dialogue that crosses shot changes: when dialogue crosses the shot change the timecodes should be adjusted to either be at the shot change or at least 12 frames from it.

If dialogue starts between 8-11 frames (green zone) before the shot change, the in-time should be moved up to 12 frames before the shot change.

If dialogue starts 7 frames or less (red zone) before the shot change, the in-time should be moved to the shot change.


If dialogue ends between 8-11 frames (green zone) after the shot change, the out-time should be moved out to 12 frames after the shot change.


If dialogue ends 7 frames or less (red zone) after the shot change, time code out should be moved to the shot change, respecting the two-frame gap.

If there is one subtitle before and one after the shot change, the second one should start on the shot change, and the first should end two frames before.

8. Consistency

KNPs/formality tables must be created and used for translation to ensure consistency across episodes and seasons. Please discuss with your Netflix contact the most suitable KNP workflow for your project.

9. Netflix Credit Translations

  • Translations for Netflix Originals title cards must be included in full and forced subtitle streams. Please refer to the Originals Credit Translation document.
  • The subtitle should be timed to match the exact duration of the on-screen Original credit if possible.

10. Title Cards/Dedications

Subtitle all plot pertinent and otherwise relevant on-screen text that is not covered in dialogue and/or redundant in the target language such as: “Based on True Events”, “In Loving Memory of Jane”, etc.

11. Currency

Currency should not be converted in the subtitle files. Any mention of money amounts in dialogue should remain in the original currency.

12. Brand Names Treatment

  • Treatment can be handled in one of the following ways:
    • Use the same English-language brand name if it is widely known and used in that territory;
    • Use the name by which that brand is known in that territory;
    • Use a generic term for the product.
  • Do not swap one brand for another company's trademarked item.

13. Translator Credits

Please include the translator credit as the last event of the subtitle file, using the approved translation provided in the Original Credits Translation Document.

  • Only one individual translator should be credited per asset; no company credits may be included.
  • The translator credit should occur after the end of the main program, and be entirely in the target language of the timed-text file.
  • The credit should be appropriately timed for reading speed, with duration between 1 and 5 seconds.
  • For SDH files, include translator credits only if translating from the original language. If transcribing the original or dubbed audio, do not include translator credits.
  • Forced Narrative files should credit the subtitle translator, as long as there are translations in the file other than Netflix provided translations for episode titles and the approved Netflix Original credits translations.  
  • Translator credits may be omitted only if the translator has submitted a formal waiver of rights to be credited.
  • The translator credit should not be on-screen at the same time as the Netflix Ident.
  • When translating from multiple source languages, more than one translator can be mentioned in the same credit, as follows:

         Subtitle translation by:
         Luke Cage, Jessica Jones

14. Technical Aspects

All TTML files created for subtitles or SDH must adhere to the following technical specifications:

  • Only use percentage values. Do not use pixel values.
  • Use tts:textAlign and tts:displayAlign for positioning along with static values for tts:extent and tts:origin.
  • tts:fontSize shall be defined as 100%. Do not use pixel values.

Sample TTML snippet for Subtitle and SDH can be found here

Change Log:


Timed Text Style Guide: General Requirements

Revised section 6 Positioning – first two items removed, 2nd bullet point added
Revised section 8 Consistency – rewritten for clarity
Revised section 9 Netflix Credit Translations – 2nd bullet point added
Section 12 Brand Names Treatment added
Revised section 13 Translator Credits – 5th bullet point rewritten for clarity, 7th and 8th bullet points
Added Section 14 Technical Aspects renamed

Change Log:


Timed Text Style Guide: General Requirements

Added section 12 Translator Credits
Revised section 12 TTML Sample of Subtitle and SDH - renumbered to 13


Timed Text Style Guide: General Requirements

Revised section 2 File Format – text edited to include Lambda Cap for Japanese
Revised section 6 Positional Data – text edited to include vertical positioning for Japanese
Revised section 7 Timing – text rewritten for clarity
Revised section 8 Consistency – formality table added
Added section 10 Title Cards/Dedications
Added section 11 Currency