Japanese Timed Text Style Guide


I. Japanese Subtitles: Content Requirements
This sections applies to Japanese subtitles only. For Japanese SDH, please see Section II.

I.1. Accepted File Formats

  • Japanese subtitles must be delivered in Lambda Cap (.cap) format.
  • Must be encoded in Shift-JIS, UTF-8, or UTF-16.
  • If UTF-8 or UTF-16, Cap file must have Byte Order Mark (BOM) present.

I.2. Acronyms

  • Acronyms should be written without periods between letters: BBC, CIA, USA
  • Acronyms should be written in full-width alphanumeric characters without spaces

(e.g., BBC,CIA,USA)

I.3. Alignment

  • Horizontal subtitles should be center-aligned and left-justified
  • Vertical subtitles should be top-aligned and right or left justified
  • Exception: Only Forced Narratives may use other forms of alignment and justification if intent is to be placed closer to the on-screen text or to mimic the on-screen text formatting

I.4. Asynchronous Timing

  • Use asynchronous timing when dialogue and forced narratives are occurring simultaneously. Timing for each should still follow standard timing rules.
  • Asynchronous timing should contain the continuous (継続) tag. Please refer to the “Lambda Cap Creation Guide” for more information.
  • Dialogue subtitle should be placed horizontally at bottom, and narrative title should appear vertically (right or left).
  • If on-screen text is present, dialogue subtitle should be placed vertically on right, and narrative title should appear vertically on left.

I.5. Bouten(傍点)

  • For single line subtitle with horizontal alignment – position bouten above character.
  • For single line subtitle with vertical alignment – position bouten on right side of character.
  • If bouten is present on second line of a two-line horizontal subtitle – position bouten below character.
  • If bouten is present on second line of a two-line vertical subtitle – position bouten on left side of character.
  • Bouten on second line of a three-line subtitle is not allowed.

I.6. Character Limitation

  • Horizontal subtitles - Maximum 13 full-width characters per line
  • Vertical subtitles - Maximum 11 full-width characters per line
  • Full-width characters, spaces, punctuation counts as 1 character
  • Half-width characters, spaces, punctuation counts as 0.5 characters

I.7. Character Names

  • Transliterate character names, unless approved translations are provided by Netflix.
  • Nicknames should only be translated if they convey a specific meaning
  • Use language specific translations for historical/mythical characters (i.e., Santa Claus)

I.8. Continuity

  • Use a long dash (―) when an ongoing sentence is split between two or more continuous subtitles. Use "幅広[―]" tag

 

  • Use midline horizontal ellipsis (3-dot leader aka 3-ten rīdā) to indicate a pause or abrupt interruption.

 

I.9. Dual Speakers

  • One speaker per subtitle event
  • Do not use dual-speaker subtitles

I.10. Duration

  • Minimum duration: 12 frames per subtitle event

I.11. Font Information

  • Font type: MS Gothic as a generic placeholder for proportionalSansSerif
  • Font size: Relative to video resolution and ability to fit 13 characters across screen
  • Font color: White

I.12. 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 italics
  • Never combine a forced narrative with dialogue in the same subtitle (use asynchronous subtitle)
  • When a forced narrative interrupts dialogue, use vertical positioning and asynchronous timing so that it does not interrupt the dialogue subtitle.
    • If dialogue is already vertical to avoid onscreen text, position forced narrative left-justified and vertical

I.13. Foreign Dialogue

  • Foreign dialogue should only be translated if the viewer was meant to understand it (i.e. if it was subtitled in the English original version).
  • When using foreign words, please always verify spelling, accents and punctuation, if applicable.
  • Foreign dialogue should be surrounded by guillemets (山括弧) ”〈 〉”
    • Unicode values: U+3008, U+3009
  • Foreign first and last names should be separated using half-width nakaguro (e.g.ビル・ゲイツ)

I.14. Italics

  • Italicize the following:
    • All forced narratives
    • Electronic Media (TV, radio, phone dialogue, etc.)
    • Off-screen Speech (only if it is electronic media speech or if the speaker is not physically present in the scene).
    • Song Lyrics (if rights have been granted)
    • Narration and voice-overs

I.15. Line Limitation

  • Dialogue: 2 lines maximum
  • On-screen text (forced narratives): 3 lines maximum (dependent on narrative content)
  • Audio Commentary: 3 lines maximum with speaker ID on first line

I.16. Numbers

  • Horizontal subtitles
    • Single digit numbers should be written using full-width alphanumeric characters
    • Double digit and higher numbers should be written using half-width characters
  • Vertical subtitles
    • Single digit numbers should be written using full-width alphanumeric characters
    • Double digit numbers should be written using half-width characters and positioned horizontally using “kumi-moji/tatechuyoko” or “composite” tag (組)
    • Three digit and higher numbers should be written using full-width characters and positioned vertically
  • Numerical punctuation must be retained using half-width characters
    • Use Japanese characters to represent large rounded values
  • Do not convert currency
  • Dates:
    • Convert dates to Japanese layout (Year/Month/Day)
    • Abbreviated years acceptable if abbreviated in original language
  • Time: 12-hour clock and 24-hour clock time both acceptable as long as it is consistent throughout program (unless plot pertinent)
  • Temperature: Convert Fahrenheit to Celsius unless it is plot pertinent to remain as Fahrenheit

I.17. Positioning

  • Do not use top horizontal positioning unless absolutely necessary
    • Exception: Subtitle for “NETFLIX ORIGINAL _____” due to the use of half-width alphabet
    • Exception: When there is on-screen text on bottom, right and left side of screen
  • Vertical positioning should be used when a horizontally positioned subtitle would otherwise obstruct text or action occurring on screen.
  • Vertical positioning should be right-justified unless otherwise obstructing text or action occurring on right side of screen.
    • If asynchronous subtitle is necessary while right-justified vertical subtitle is on-screen (when on-screen text is present), asynchronous event should appear left-justified and vertical



I.18. Punctuation

  • Do not use (。) or (、) punctuation
    • Instead of (、) – use half-width character space
    • Instead of (。) – use full-width character space
    • Spaces do not apply towards character limit
  • (?) and (!) should be written as full-width characters
  • Exception: If subtitle contains official translation of book, movie, film title etc. that contains punctuation (i.e., “Eat, Pray, Love”), and if listing numbers (“1, 2, 3”)

I.19. Quotes

  • Use full-width double quotation marks (smart quotes) (“”) without spaces for citations:
  • Full-width hook brackets (「」) for album, book, film, and program titles:
  • Quotes should be used at both the start and end of the subtitle, even when quote extends beyond more than one event
  • Subtitles for signs, newspapers, written letters should use double quotation marks
  • Song titles should be in quotes

I.20. Reading Speed

  • 4 characters per second

I.21. Ruby(ルビ)

  • For single line subtitle with horizontal alignment – position ruby above character
  • For single line subtitle with vertical alignment – position ruby on right side of character
  • If ruby is present on second line of a two-line horizontal subtitle – position ruby below ruby base
  • If ruby is present on second line of a two-line vertical subtitle – position ruby on left side of ruby base
  • Ruby on second line of three-line subtitle is not allowed.

I.22. Songs

  • Only subtitle plot-pertinent songs if the rights have been granted.
  • Italicize lyrics
  • Punctuation: do not use punctuation during song subtitles
  • Use Chidori-style placement for song lyrics
    • Spaces should be preserved with underscores

                      Example:
                                      あきらめない
                                      __明日の太陽

I.23. Title Treatment

  • Main titles
    • Approved main title translations must be obtained from Netflix
  • Episode titles
    • Leave in original language unless approved translation is provided by Netflix
    • If translating, submit translations to Netflix prior to delivery
  • Titles of movies, TV shows, books, etc., use official or well-known translations

I.24. 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 whispering dialogue or mouthed words that are plot pertinent, use full-width parentheses ()

I.25. Children's Content

  • Vocabulary and kanji usage should be age appropriate for kids content. Please seek age tag information from Netflix.

Ages 0-6 : Vocabulary and kanji usage should be appropriate for up to age 6 (1st grade).
Ages 7-12 : Vocabulary and kanji usage should be appropriate for up to age 12 (6th grade).

  • Use of 常用外 kanji is prohibited. Please refer to 「NHK漢字表記辞典」 and 「朝日新聞の用語の手引き」 for more information.
  • Rubies should be used sparingly - age appropriate vocabulary and kanji takes precedence. 


 

II. Japanese SDH: Content Requirements

II.1. Accepted File Formats

  • Japanese subtitles must be delivered in Lambda Cap (.cap) format.
  • Must be encoded in Shift-JIS, UTF-8, or UTF-16.
  • If UTF-8 or UTF-16, Cap file must have Byte Order Mark (BOM) present.

II.2. Accuracy of content

  • Include as much of the original content as possible.
  • Do not simplify or water down the original dialogue.
  • Truncating the original dialogue should be limited to instances where reading speed and synchronicity to the audio are an issue.

II.3. Acronyms

  • Acronyms should be written without periods between letters: BBC, CIA, USA
  • Acronyms should be written in full-width alphanumeric characters without spaces (e.g., BBC,CIA,USA)

II.4. Alignment

  • Horizontal dialogue subtitles should be center-aligned and left-justified
  • If Horizontal subtitle contains sound effect and dialogue, then it may be center justified.

昨日は昨日 今日は今日でしょ
(電話の着信音)

  • Vertical subtitles should be top-aligned and right or left justified

II.5. Asynchronous Timing

  • Use asynchronous timing when dialogue and forced narratives are occurring simultaneously. Timing for each should still follow standard timing rules.
  • Asynchronous timing should contain the continuous (継続) tag. Please refer to the “Lambda Cap Creation Guide” for more information.
  • Dialogue subtitle should be placed horizontally at bottom, and narrative title should appear vertically (right or left).
  • If on-screen text is present, dialogue subtitle should be placed vertically on right, and narrative title should appear vertically on left.

II.6. Bouten (傍点)

  • For single line subtitle with horizontal alignment – position bouten above character.
  • For single line subtitle with vertical alignment – position bouten on right side of character.
  • If bouten is present on second line of a two-line horizontal subtitle – position bouten below character.
  • If bouten is present on second line of a two-line vertical subtitle – position bouten on left side of character.
  • Bouten on second line of three-line subtitle is not allowed.

II.7. Character Limitation

  • Horizontal subtitles - Maximum 16 full-width characters per line
  • Vertical subtitles – Maximum 11 full-width characters per line (includes spaces)
  • Full-width characters, spaces, punctuation counts as 1 character
  • Half-width characters and spaces count as 0.5 characters
    • Half-width katakana is allowed

II.8. Character Names

  • Use official kanji for character names. If unknown, use katakana.
    • If using kanji, add rubi/furigana when name first appears.

II.9. Continuity

  • Use a long dash when an ongoing sentence is split between two or more continuous subtitles. Use "幅広[―]" tag

  

  • Use midline horizontal ellipsis (3-dot leader aka 3-ten rīdā) to indicate a pause or abrupt interruption. 

 

II.10. Dual Speakers

  • Use speaker ID with 1 speaker per line

(みのり)はじめまして
(アルマン)よろしくお願いします

II.11. Font Information

  • Font type: MS Gothic as a generic placeholder for proportionalSansSerif
  • Font size: Relative to video resolution and ability to fit 18 characters across screen
  • Font color: White

II.12. Foreign Dialogue

  • Foreign dialogue should only be translated if the viewer was meant to understand it (i.e. if it was subtitled in the English original version).
  • When using foreign words, please always verify spelling, accents and punctuation, if applicable.
  • Foreign words should be surrounded by guillemet brackets(山括弧) ”〈 〉”
  • Unicode: U+3008, U+3009
  • Foreign first and last names should be separated using half-width nakaguro (e.g.ビル・ゲイツ)

II.13. Italics

  • Italicize the following:
    • All forced narratives
    • Electronic Media (TV, radio, phone dialogue, etc.)
    • Off-screen Speech (only if it is electronic media speech or if the speaker is not physically present in the scene).
    • Song Lyrics (if rights have been granted)
    • Narration and voice-overs

II.14. Line Limitation

  • Dialogue: 2 lines maximum
  • If including speaker ID, then speaker ID may appear on first line and dialogue may appear on second and third lines only
  • On-screen text (forced narratives): 3 lines maximum (dependent on narrative content)
  • Audio Commentary: 3 lines maximum with speaker ID on first line
  • Dual speaker caption: 2 lines maximum

II.15. Numbers

  • Horizontal subtitles
    • Single digit numbers should be written using full-width alphanumeric characters
    • Double digit and higher numbers should be written using half-width characters
  • Vertical subtitles
    • Single digit numbers should be written using full-width alphanumeric characters
    • Double digit numbers should be written using half-width characters and positioned horizontally using “kumi-moji/tatechuyoko” or “composite” tag (組)
    • Three digit and higher numbers should be written using full-width characters and positioned vertically
  • Numerical punctuation must be retained using half-width characters
    • Use Japanese characters to represent large rounded values
  • Do not convert currency
  • Dates:
    • Convert dates to Japanese layout (Year/Month/Day)
    • Abbreviated years acceptable if abbreviated in original language
  • Time: 12-hour clock and 24-hour clock time both acceptable as long as it is consistent throughout program (unless plot pertinent)

II.16. Positioning

  • Vertical positioning or top horizontal positioning should be used when a horizontally positioned subtitle would otherwise obstruct text or action occurring on screen.
  • Vertical positioning should be right-justified unless otherwise obstructing text or action occurring on right side of screen.
    • If asynchronous subtitle is necessary while right-justified vertical subtitle is on-screen (when on-screen text is present), asynchronous event should appear left-justified and vertical

II.17. Punctuation

  • Do not use (。) or (、) punctuation
    • Instead of (、) – use half-width character space
    • Instead of (。) – use full-width character space
  • (?) and (!) should be written as full-width characters
  • Exception: If subtitle contains official translation of book, movie, film title etc. that contains punctuation (i.e., “Eat, Pray, Love”), and if listing numbers (“1, 2, 3”)

II.18. Quotes

  • Use full-width double quotation marks (smart quotes) (“”) without spaces for citations:
  • Full-width hook brackets (「」) for album, book, film, and program titles:
  • Quotes should be used at both the start and end of the subtitle, even when quote extends beyond more than one event
  • Subtitles for signs, newspapers, written letters should use double quotation marks
  • Song titles should be in quotes

II.19. Reading Speed

  • 7 characters per second
  • For scenes with heavy dialogue, timing should be adjusted to accommodate reading speed as much as possible

II.20. Ruby(ルビ)

  • For single line subtitle with horizontal alignment – position ruby above character
  • For single line subtitle with vertical alignment – position ruby on right side of character
  • If ruby is present on second line of a two-line horizontal subtitle – position ruby below ruby base
  • If ruby is present on second line of a two-line vertical subtitle – position ruby on left side of ruby base
  • Ruby on second line of three-line subtitle is not allowed.

II.21. Songs

  • Only subtitle plot-pertinent songs if the rights have been granted.
  • If rights not granted, use musical note to indicate song (♪)
  • Music start: ♪~
  • Music end: ~♪
  • Italicize lyrics
  • Punctuation: do not use punctuation during song subtitles
  • Use Chidori-style placement for song lyrics
    • Spaces should be preserved with underscores

Example:

あきらめない

__明日の太陽

II.22. Speaker ID / Sound Effects

  • Use parentheses () 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.
  • If sound effect and dialogue occur at the same time, put sound effect on first line and dialogue on second line.
  • Never italicize speaker IDs or sound effects, even when the spoken information is italicized, such as in a voice-over.

(電話の着信音)
昨日は昨日 今日は今日でしょ

  • In instances of foreign dialogue being spoken:
    • If foreign dialogue is translated, use “(in language)”, for example “(in Spanish)” before dialogue text
    • If foreign dialogue is not meant to be understood, use “(speaking language)”, for example “(speaking Spanish)”

II.23. 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 whispering dialogue or mouthed words that are plot pertinent, use full-width parentheses ()

II.24. Children's Content

  • Vocabulary and kanji usage should be age appropriate for kids content. Please seek age tag information from Netflix.

Ages 0-6 : Vocabulary and kanji usage should be appropriate for up to age 6 (1st grade).
Ages 7-12 : Vocabulary and kanji usage should be appropriate for up to age 12 (6th grade).

  • Use of 常用外 kanji is prohibited. Please refer to 「NHK漢字表記辞典」 and 「朝日新聞の用語の手引き」 for more information.
  • Rubies should be used sparingly - age appropriate vocabulary and kanji takes precedence. 


 



Change Log:

2017-02-05

Revised section I.21 Ruby – last bullet point removed
Revised section II.21 Ruby – last bullet point removed
Added section I.25 Children's Content
Added section II.24 Children's Content

2016-05-15

Revised section 4 Asynchronous Timing – 2nd bullet point revised
Revised section 5 Bouten – 5th bullet point added
Revised section 13 Foreign Dialogue – 3rd bullet point revised
Revised section 18 Punctuation – 3rd bullet point revised
Revised section 21 Ruby – 2 bullet points added
Revised section 22 Songs – 4th bullet point revised


2015-12-07 (Version 3.3 )

Revised Section 13. Japanese: Content Requirements

Revised section 13.3 Alignment – 3rd (last) bullet added
Revised section 13.6 Character Limitation – 1st and 2nd bullet points revised. 3rd and 4th bullet points added
Revised section 13.13 Foreign Dialogue – 3rd bullet point revised
Revised section 13.16 Numbers – 7th (last) bullet added
Revised section 13.17 Positioning – 1st bullet point revised (with 2 exceptions added)
Revised section 13.18 Punctuation – 3rd (last) bullet point added
Revised section 13.23 Title Treatment – 2nd bullet point revised

 

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