Japanese Timed Text Style Guide

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

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
    • 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 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:

2017-08-01

Revised section I.23 Title Treatment - 1st and 2nd bullet points revised

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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