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Hebrew Timed Text Style Guide

*This document covers the language specific requirements for Hebrew. Please make sure to also review the General Requirements Section for comprehensive guidelines surrounding Timed Text deliveries to Netflix.  

 1. Character Limitation

  • 42 characters per line

 2. Character Names

  • Proper names should be transliterated (e.g., Christopher = כריסטופר). Do not translate unless approved translations are provided by Netflix.
  • Nicknames should be transliterated. Only translate if the nickname conveys a specific meaning relevant to viewers.
  • Use language-specific translations for historical/mythical characters.

 3. Continuity

  • Do not use an ellipsis when a sentence is split between two continuous subtitles.

                 Subtitle 1                                   תמיד ידעתי
                 Subtitle 2          .שבסופו של דבר תסכים איתי

  • Use ellipses to indicate a pause or an abrupt interruption: 

                                .היא היססה... בנוגע לקבלת העבודה

                                                       ...עמדתי להגיד לך ש
                                                 !אני לא רוצה לדעת מזה-

  • In the case of a pause, if the sentence continues in the next subtitle, do not use an ellipsis at the beginning of the second subtitle.

                 Subtitle 1            ...אם היא הייתה אומרת לי
                 Subtitle 2              .לא הייתי מתקשרת אליך

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

                                                 .וחתמתי על ההסכם...

 4. Documentary

  • Only translate a speaker’s title once, the first time the speaker appears in the documentary. 
  • When ongoing dialogue is interrupted by a speaker’s title, use ellipses at the end of the sentence in the subtitle that precedes it and no ellipses at the beginning of the sentence in the subtitle that follows it.

                 Subtitle 1                        ...עבדתי על הסרט
                 Subtitle 2 (FN)                    - שם הבמאי-
                 Subtitle 3                  .במשך שישה חודשים

  • 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.

 5. Dual Speakers

  • If two characters speak in one subtitle, use a hyphen without a space to denote the second speaker only, with a maximum of one character per line.

                                                ?איך זה קרה לה בדיוק
                                                              .אין לי מושג-

 6. 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.

 7. Forced Narratives

  • Forced narrative titles 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 should be enclosed in hyphens ( - ), except for foreign dialogue.

                                                           ישראל מזרחי - 
                                                     - מנהל אגף החינוך

  • If a narrative is split between two or more subtitles, use hyphens at the beginning and end of each subtitle.
  • Never combine a forced narrative with dialogue in the same subtitle. 
  • When a forced narrative interrupts dialogue, use ellipses at the end of the sentence in the subtitle that precedes it and no ellipsis at the beginning of the sentence in the subtitle that follows it.

                 Subtitle 1                        ...לא ידעתי מה לומר
                 Subtitle 2 (FN)                - שיקגו, יוני 2013 -
                 Subtitle 3       ,האנשים נכנסו לאולם אחד אחד
                                                      .ואני פשוט צפיתי בהם

 8. 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). 
  • Foreign words or phrases should be translated when possible (i.e. hello, goodbye, thank you, merci) or transliterated when no accurate translation exists.
  • For known international terms such as GPS, G4, WiFi please do not transliterate.

 9. Italics

  • Do not use italics.

 10. Line Treatment

  • Maximum two lines.

 11. Numbers

  • From 1 to 10, numbers should be written out.
  • Above 10, numbers 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.
  • For currency, symbols are not used. Instead, currency types should be written out.

                                                  .זה עלה 30 דולר

 12. Punctuation

  • Both Hebrew and Latin punctuation marks are accepted.


  • Quotes should be used only at the start and at the end of a quotation, not at the start of every subtitle.
  • Use double quotation marks (" ") without spaces for regular quotations. 

                                             ".הוא אמר: "אל תלכי לשם

  • Use single quotation marks (' ') for quotes within quotes.

                                       אתמול בחמש אחר הצהריים"
                                                     ."'לחשתי לה, 'בואי
  • Quotes should be used only at the start and at the end of a quotation, not at the start of every subtitle.
  • Punctuation should be included within the quotation marks if the quote is an independent clause and outside if it’s not.

                                                              ,היא אמרה לי
                                                   ."עזוב, אתה לא רציני"

                                                     .לא ידענו מה לעשות"
                                   ".הלכנו הלוך חזור ולא היה מוצא

 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 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.
  • Use opening quotes for lyrics and a closing quote at the end of the last verse. Do not italicize.
  • Use ellipses 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. 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 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.
  • When subtitled, episode titles should be enclosed in hyphens, as are all other forced narrative titles.
  • Hyphens should also be used for approved Netflix credits translations.
                                          - NETFLIX סדרה מקורית של -

  • Titles of published works, existing movies and TV shows: use official or well-known translations. If none are available, please transliterate.

 18. Special Instructions

  • Dialogue must never be censored. Expletives should be rendered as faithfully as possible. 
  • Plot-pertinent dialogue always takes precedence over background dialogue. 
  • Deliberate misspellings and mispronunciations should not be reproduced in the translation unless plot pertinent. 
  • For transliterations:
    • Proper names of real-life persons (cast, public figures) should be transliterated based on common practice, even if common practice is different from pronunciation in the source language: 
      • (ניוט גינגריץ’, פאולה עבדול, רונלד רייגן, ליאונרד כהן, דיוק אלינגטון, נעמי קמפבל).
    • Nicknames of real-life persons should be treated based on common practice (Bubba the Love Sponge Clem - באבה 'ספוג האהבה’ קלם). 
    • Names of places and institutions - either real or made up - should be transliterated
      • (סנטרל פרקניו יורק טיימס, יוניון סקוור, מסעדת אוליב גארדן) unless they appear on kid's shows (Sleepy Star ranch - חוות הכוכב הישנוני)
    • Character names and nicknames should be transliterated except for the following cases:
      • Kids’ show characters that have approved translation (Wonderheart Bear -
        דובונית לב-פלא)
      • Meaningful nicknames that are pertinent to the character’s nature or to the plot (Pete the Wine Guy)
    • Leave well-known abbreviations in English (FBI rather than אף-בי-איי, NFL rather than
      אן-אף-אל, DNA rather than די-אן-איי). Acronyms are usually transliterated: נאס”א, נאט”ו
    • Transliteration should comply with the transliteration rules of Academy of the Hebrew Language.
    • If pronunciation is tricky, please make sure to find out the origin of the name (Hindi/Tamil, Spanish/Basque) and research its pronunciation.

 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.
  • 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 synchronization with 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" playing]

  • Song lyrics should be enclosed with a music note (♪) at the beginning and the end of each subtitle.
  • Use brackets [ ] to enclose speaker IDs or sound effects.
  • 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 [man] or [woman], or [male voice] or [female voice], 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 only be subtitled if they are plot-pertinent.
  • Sound effects that interrupt dialogue should be treated as follows:

                      Subtitle 1:  However, lately, I've been...
                                       [coughs, sniffs]

                      Subtitle 2:  ...seeing a lot more of this.

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

 20. Reference


Change Log:


Revised section 3 Continuity - revised for accuracy of display and consistency
Revised section 4 Documentary - 3rd and 4th bullet points added
Added section 7 Forced Narratives - 2nd, 3rd and 5th bullet points added, example updated
Revised section 8 Foreign Dialogue - 3rd bullet point added
Revised section 11 Numbers - 4th and 5th bullet points revised
Added section 12 Punctuation
Revised section 13 Quotes - 5th bullet point rewritten for clarity, examples revised
Revised section 15 Repetitions - 1st point revised for clarity
Revised section 16 Songs - 2nd and 3rd bullet points added
Revised section 17 Titles - 1st and 2nd bullet points revised, 3rd and 4th bullet points added
Revised section 18 Special Instructions - 4th bullet point added
Revised section 19 SDH Guidelines - renamed and expanded for clarity