Dubbed Audio Style Guide - Lector Dubbing
This document contains a list of required practices when creating dubbed audio in lector style for Netflix content. Consult your Netflix representative for any specification not covered in this document.
For musicals/ music-themed shows and/or multilingual shows, please refer to the "Special Cases" (Section 3).
1.1 Main Dialogue
- All main dialogue in the source (original) language should be translated unless specifically noted.
- Due to timing limitations, some of the dialogue may be condensed/truncated as long as it retains all essential elements of the plot.
- Please refrain from dubbing redundant words such as character names and repetitions.
1.2 Character Names
- Do not translate proper names (e.g., Peter, Suzanne), unless directed by production or approved by Netflix. EXCEPTION: Famous historical/mythical characters and/or nicknames that might vary from language to language.
- Local pronunciation of character names can be used in the voice-over, as long as the names are consistently pronounced throughout the series.
1.3 On-screen Text Treatment
- On-screen text should only be included if plot pertinent and should be read by the lector.
- Main titles should not be voiced-over/ translated unless an approved translation is provided by Netflix.
- Episode titles should not be voiced-over/translated 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.
- If approved translations are provided, the titles should be voiced over by the lector.
- “A Netflix Original Series” and other Originals credits translations should be voiced-over by the lector, using the Netflix approved translations.
- Opening and End Credits should not be voiced over by the lector, as these are usually not localized. If lector credits are needed, they should be conveyed by means of a Dub Card.
- Except for the circumstances depicted in the “Special Cases” section, Forced Narrative files are not required for Lector Style Dubbing - the expectation is that all relevant information is conveyed by the lector.
1.4 Foreign Languages
- Foreign dialogue should be translated and voiced by the lector only if it is meant to be understood by the audience (i.e. if subtitled in the original version). If it is unclear whether or not the foreign dialogue is meant to be understood, seek advice from Netflix or production.
- For multilingual shows, please see special instructions on the “Special Cases” section (Section 3).
- Songs should be translated and voiced by the lector only if plot pertinent and if the rights have been granted.
- Short songs/ditties should be entirely voiced over.
- For regular songs, only the first verse should be translated to give the audience context on the theme of the song.
- For musicals/ music-themed shows please see special instructions on the “Special Cases” section (Section 3).
- Dialogue should not be censored or softened – tone & register should match original dialogue.
- Glossaries/consistency sheets must be created and used for translation across episodes and seasons. They should be provided to Netflix upon delivery of the localized dubbing scripts for QC purposes, along with the original language script and/or English script.
1.7 Pre-recording Script Approval
- Localized scripts must be submitted for approval prior to recording, unless instructed otherwise by Netflix.
- Voice-over should begin in relative synchronicity with the original dialogue.
- Unless directed to do so by Netflix, U.N.-Style dubbing – whereby original dialogue is at first heard at normal volume before the voice-over starts – should not be used.
- Local pronunciation of character names, places or foreign words is acceptable.
- Please ensure pronunciation of key terms is consistent across episodes and seasons.
3.1 Musicals/ Music-themed Shows
- For musicals or shows with long, plot pertinent musical sequences, songs should be localized by means of a forced narrative file. E.g. “The Get Down”
- For these cases, the lector will still cover on-screen text/foreign dialogue as usual, and a separate forced narrative file will be delivered, containing the plot-pertinent music sequences only.
- If it is unclear whether or not the show is to be considered a musical or music-themed show, please consult your Netflix Specialist.
- As usual, songs should only be translated in the rights have been granted. Please obtain song clearance from the content owner.
3.2 Bilingual/ Multilingual Shows
- For bilingual/multilingual shows or documentaries, there are cases in which foreign dialogue is better conveyed by means of a forced narrative file. In such cases, there will be specific instructions to create a forced narrative file for the foreign dialogue as opposed to covering it in the voice-over. E.g. “Narcos”
- If it is unclear whether or not the show can be considered a multilingual show, please consult your Netflix Content Operations Specialist.
4. Technical Aspects
For information on audio mix and delivery formats, please reference the Netflix Originals Full Technical Specifications and Operators Manual.