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Russian Timed Text Style Guide

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

1. Acronyms

  • Acronyms should have no periods: ЦРУ, США, ООН

2. Character Limitation

  • 39 characters per line 

3. Character Names

  • Proper names should be transliterated. Do not translate unless approved translations are provided by Netflix.
  • Nicknames should be transliterated. Only translate if the nickname conveys a specific plot relevant meaning.
  • Use language-specific translations for historical/mythical characters.
  • For transliteration of proper names, please refer to the Practical Transcription Charts for Proper Names, by D. Yermolovich”: https://goo.gl/fVIjL8

4. Continuity

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

Subtitle 1      Я и не сомневался,
Subtitle 2      что ты со мной согласишься.

  • Use ellipsis to indicate a pause or an abrupt interruption. In the case of a pause, if the sentence continues in the next subtitle, use an ellipsis at the beginning of the second subtitle.

Subtitle 1      Дай-ка подумать...
Subtitle 2      ...может, можно и по-другому поступить.

-Я давно хотел тебе сказать…
-Не надо, я не хочу ничего знать!

  • Use ellipsis to indicate mid-sentence pick-ups. 

             ...подписали соглашение.

5. 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 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          Этот фильм снимался…
        Subtitle 2 (FN)   РЕЖИССЕР
        Subtitle 3           …всего шесть месяцев. 


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.

- Удачи!
- Спасибо!

7. Font Information

  • Font style: Arial as a generic placeholder for proportional SansSerif.
  • Font size: relative to video resolution and ability to fit 39 characters across 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 (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.
  • If at all possible, try to avoid interrupting a line of dialogue with a forced narrative.
  • If interrupting the dialogue with a forced narrative cannot be avoided, use an ellipsis at the end of the sentence that precedes it and at the beginning of the one 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). Otherwise, they should be transliterated.
  • Unfamiliar foreign words and phrases should be either translated (if meant to be understood) or left in the original language, depending on creative intent. If left in the original language, please italicize.
  • When using foreign words, always verify spelling, accents and punctuation, if applicable.

10. Italics

  • Italicize the following:
    • 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
  • For albums, books, films and program titles do not use italics - chevrons («») should be used instead.

11. Line Treatment

  • Maximum two lines.

12. Numbers

  • Numbers from 1 to 10 in all declensions (все падежные формы) should be written out: один, два, три - одного, двух, трех, etc.
  • Numbers above ten should be written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc.
  • When a number begins a sentence, it should always be spelled out.
  • Exceptions to the above rules are space or time limitations.
  • Measurements should be converted to the metric system.
  • Time should be noted in the 24-hour format.
  • A comma is used as the decimal separator: 23,99.
  • Do not use a space between a number and the percentage sign, e.g. 25%. For percentages with single digit numbers, write out the word, e.g. три процента, трех процентов, etc.


  • Use chevrons («») without spaces for regular quotations.
  • Double straight quotation marks ("") for quotes within quotes.
  • Use chevrons («») without spaces for the following:
    • Names of literary, music and art works, bands, sports teams, tv shows.
    • For an in-depth look into use of chevrons for proper names, please consult: §129 at http://evartist.narod.ru/text1/20.htm
  • Quotes should be used only at the start and at the end of a quotation, not at the start of every subtitle.
  • Question and exclamation marks should be included within the quotation marks if they only relate to the word(s) within the quotations, otherwise, they should be placed at the end of the entire phrase. Do not place identical punctuation marks inside and outside the quotations.

        Бойцы кричали «Вперед!»
        и рвались в атаку.

        Надоело мне ваше
        «За ответом приходите завтра»!

        Ты читал роман «Что делать?»

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 insert only once. 

16. Songs

  • Only subtitle plot-pertinent songs if the rights have been granted. Please consult the Show Guide if available.
  • Italicize lyrics.
  • Use an uppercase letter at the beginning of each line.
  • 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. 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

  • All plot pertinent dialogue should be subtitled, and 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.
  • Deliberate misspellings and mispronunciations should not be reproduced in the translation unless plot pertinent.
  • Avoid splitting between two lines such cohesive elements of a phrase as (pro)noun + verb,  (pro)noun + adjective, etc., e.g. “они уехали”, “хороший парень”.
  • Due to space limitations, it is recommended to omit:
    • Interjections
    • Non-essential elements of a phrase, e.g. (I think, it seems, apparently, just - я думаю, по-моему, кажется, просто)
    • Possessive pronouns (my, his, her, our, etc.) when grammatically possible: e.g. I hurt my foot - Я поранил ногу
  • The use of the letter ё should be enforced in content for children under 13 years of age. For adult content, please adhere to the guidelines below:
    • For distinction between similar words with “е”, e.g. все-всё, небо-нёбо, летом-лётом, совершенный-совершённый, including between different forms of the same word, e.g. узнаем-узнаём
    • To indicate the correct pronunciation of rare and commonly mispronounced words, e.g. сёрфинг, флёр, твёрже, щёлочка, новорождённый
    • In proper names, specifically last names and names of places, e.g. Конёнков,  Киселёв, Неёлова, Денёв, Шрёдингер, Дежнёв, Олёкма
    • With the exception of the above, the use of the letter “ё” is discouraged.
    • Reference: The Russian Language Institute’s clarifications regarding the use of the letter “Ё” and phonetic emphasis: http://www.ruslang.ru/doc/bukva_jo.pdf?sid=11#pp11 (reprinted with commentary from Правила русской орфографии и пунктуации. Полный академический справочник. Под ред. В.В. Лопатина  — М.: Эксмо, 2006:   http://orthographia.ru/orfografia.php?sid=11#pp11

 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.

 20. Reference

For style, grammar, spelling and punctuation topics not addressed in this style guide, please refer to the following resources:

  1. Розенталь Д.Э., Джанджакова Е.В., Кабанова Н.П. Справочник по правописанию, произношению, литературному редактированию — М: ЧеРо, 1999: http://evartist.narod.ru/text1/20.htm
  2. Правила русской орфографии и пунктуации. Полный академический справочник / Под ред. В.В. Лопатина. — М: АСТ, 2009.  http://orthographia.ru
  3. Таблицы практической транскрипции с английского языка на русский и с русского на английский: Таблицы транскрипции
  4. Мильчин А.Э., Чельцова Л.К. Справочник издателя и автора. —М.: ОЛМА-Пресс, 2003: Справочник издателя 


Change Log:


Revised section 2 Character Limitation  – 1st bullet point revised
Revised section 3 Character Names  – 1st, 2nd and 3rd bullet points revised, 4th bullet point added
Revised section 4 Continuity  – Examples added to 1st and 3rd bullet points, 2nd bullet point revised
Added section 5 Documentary
Revised section 6 Dual Speakers  – 1st bullet point revised, example added
Revised section 9 Foreign Dialogue  – 2nd bullet point added
Revised section 10 Italics  – 1st and 2nd bullet points revised
Added section 11 Line Treatment
Added section 12 Numbers
Revised section 13 Quotes – 3rd and 5th bullet points revised, 6th bullet point removed
Revised section 14 Reading Speed – words per minute removed
Revised section 15 Repetitions – 1st bullet point revised for clarity
Revised section 16 Songs – 1st bullet point revised for clarity
Revised section 17 Titles – 1st bullet point revised for clarity
Revised section 18 Special Instructions – 2nd bullet point revised, 4th, 5th and 6th bullet points added
Added section 19 SDH Guidelines
Added section 20 Reference

Change Log:


Revised section 8 Foreign Dialogue – 1st bullet point revised
Revised section 13 Songs – 5th bullet point revised
Revised section 14 Titles – 1st bullet point revised, 2nd bullet point added

Revised section 15 Special Instructions – 4th bullet point removed




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