Russian Timed Text Style Guide

1. Acronyms

  • Acronyms should have no dots – ЦРУ, США, ООН

2. Character Limitation

  • 42 characters per line 

3. Character Names

  • Do not translate proper names (e.g., Peter, Suzanne), unless Netflix provides approved translations.
  • If no approved translations are provided, please transliterate character names.
  • Nicknames should only be translated if they convey a specific meaning.

4. Continuity

  • Do not use ellipses when a sentence is split between two continuous subtitles.
  • Use ellipses to indicate a pause between a sentence running over two subtitles: 

Subtitle 1      Let me think...
Subtitle 2      …maybe there is another way out. 

  • Use ellipsis to indicate mid-sentence pick-ups 

5. Dual Speakers

  • Use a hyphen without a space to indicate two speakers in one subtitle, with a maximum of one character speaking per line.

6. Font Information

  • Font style: Arial as a generic placeholder for proportionalSansSerif
  • Font size: relative to video resolution and ability to fit 42 characters across screen
  • Font color: white

7. 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.

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). Otherwise, they should be transliterated.
  • When using foreign words, always verify spelling, accents and punctuation, if applicable.

9. Italics

  • Italicize the following:
    • Song lyrics (if rights have been granted)
  • Do not italicize the following:
    • Album, book, film and program titles
    • Electronic Media
    • Foreign words
    • Off-screen speech
    • Voice-overs 


  • Use chevrons («») without spaces for regular quotations.
  • Double straight quotation marks ("") for quotes within quotes.
  • Use chevrons («») without spaces for the following:
    • Album, book, film and program titles
    • Foreign words
  • Quotes should be used only at the start and at the end of a quotation, not at the start of every subtitle.
  • Periods should be outside the quotes e.g. «Hello».
  • All other punctuation should be inside the quotes e.g. «Hello!», «Hello?», «Hello…»

11. Reading Speed

  • Adult programs: 200 words per minute / 17 characters per second
  • Children’s programs: 160 words per minute / 13 characters per second

12. Repetitions

  • 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. 

13. Songs

  • Only subtitle plot-pertinent songs if the rights have been granted.
  • 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.

14. Titles

  • Main titles: do not subtitle the main title unless an approved translation is provided by Netflix.
  • 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.

15. Special Instructions

  • All plot pertinent dialogue should be subtitled, and takes precedence over background dialogue.
  • Dialogue must never be censored. Expletives should be rendered as faithfully as possible.
  • Deliberate misspellings and mispronunciations should not be reproduced in the translation unless plot pertinent.


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