Czech Timed Text Style Guide
- Acronyms should be written without periods between letters: BBC, MTV, CIA, LSD, SMS, USA
2. Character Limitation
- 42 characters per line
3. Character Names
- Do not translate proper names (e.g., Peter, Suzanne), 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., Santa Claus).
- Do not use ellipsis when a sentence is split between two continuous subtitles:
Subtitle 1 Tak malej
Subtitle 2 a už chodí do baru.
- Use ellipsis to indicate a pause or an abrupt interruption:
Subtitle 1 - Mně je nějak...
Subtitle 2 - No tak si lehněte!
- 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 To je do pěti tisíc...
Subtitle 2 osm set.
- Use ellipsis without a space to indicate mid-sentence pick-ups:
...jsem vystoupil o stanici dřív.
- 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 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 Pracoval jsem na tomto filmu…
Subtitle 2 (FN) REŽIE
Subtitle 3 …dobrých šest měsíců.
6. Dual Speakers
- Use a hyphen followed by a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one speaker per line.
- Co chceš?
- Počkej, dej mi chvilku.
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. Forced Narratives
- Forced narrative titles should only be included if plot pertinent.
- Forced narratives that are redundant (e.g., identical to onscreen text or covered in the dialogue) must be deleted.
- Forced narratives should be in ALL CAPS, except for written passages (e.g., excerpts from books, magazines or newspapers, handwritten notes, social media messages and text messages), which must match the use of uppercase/lowercase as it appears on screen. In order to improve readability, mixed case can also be used for long passages of on screen text (e.g., long written passages used as prologue or epilogue).
- 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:
Subtitle 1 Nemyslím si, že bychom měli…
Subtitle 2 (FN) VSTUP ZAKÁZÁN
Subtitle 3 …jít dál.
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) and unless they are proper names (e.g., a company name).
- 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)
- Do not use italics to indicate emphasis on specific words.
11. Line Treatment
- Maximum two lines.
- Numbers from 1 to 10 should be written out: jedna, dva tři, etc.
- Numbers above ten should be written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc.
- When a number begins a sentence, it should always be spelled out.
- The above rules might be broken due to space or time limitations.
- Measurements should be converted to the metric system.
- A comma is used as the decimal separator: 23,99.
- Numbers with four or more digits should be written with a space (not with a comma) before the last three digits.
- Do not omit the 0 when noting fractions. (Correct: 0,123. Incorrect: ,123)
- A full stop differentiates between cardinal and ordinal numbers: 13 = thirteen, 13. = thirteenth
- Quotes should be used at the start and end of a sentence and not at the start of every subtitle.
- Use Czech quotation marks („ “) without spaces.
- Single Czech quotation marks (, ‘) for quotes within quotes e.g. „Charlie to řekl: ,Všecko je v pohodě.'"
- Punctuation should be included within the quotation marks if the quote is an independent clause and outside if it’s not.
14. Reading Speed
- Adult programs: 17 characters per second
- Children’s programs: 13 characters per second
- Do not translate words or phrases repeated more than once.
- If the repeated word or phrase is said twice in a row, time subtitle to the audio but translate only once.
- Only subtitle plot-pertinent songs if the rights have been granted.
- 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.
- Album titles should be in italics.
- Song titles should be in quotes.
- Main titles: do not subtitle the main title unless requested by Netflix. In this case, an approved translation will be provided.
- Episode titles: do not subtitle episode titles if they do not appear on screen. If on-screen, either as part of the principal photography or burned into video, please obtain approved translations from Netflix.
- 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
- 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.
19. 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 synchronicity to the audio are an issue.
- All same-language audible songs should be titled if the rights have been granted.
- 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.
- Use a generic ID to indicate and describe ambient music (e.g., rock music playing over a stereo).
- Sound effects should be plot pertinent.
- Never italicize speaker IDs or sound effects
- For all language-related issues not covered in this document, please refer to: