Streaming platforms are on the rise now: more popular TV shows and movies mean more subscribers and… fewer professional translators. Those who are able to create high-quality subtitles and scripts for voice-over actors. People watching Netflix´s hit series Squid Game constantly complain about the poor quality of subtitles in French, Hindi, and even in English. Why does it happen to such a top project?
Major international language service providers (LSPs) reveal an actual concern: a severe shortage of quality translators. The film industry evolves faster than the translation industry does. Now, roughly one in 50 applicants can pass a qualification exam, according to a CEO of a big localization company. To handle an increasingly global audience, LSPs have to work with a broader pool of subtitle translators, while only 10-15% can deliver the high quality streaming platforms thirst for. This leads to a growing demand for additional editing and checking, but still, the final quality appears to be not high enough. The latest machine translation engines don’t cope with the task either: AI can create a word-by-word translation, but it’s only human who is able to transform it into an authentic text suitable for subtitles and voiceover.
Lately, Netflix has been gaining popularity in the Asia-Pacific region. The lack of professional Korean, Chinese, and Japanese translators forces the industry to be really inventive and translate subtitles via English templating. Let’s say, there are more Korean > English translators in the world than Korean > French ones, right? And there are even more English > French translators. That’s why the Korean source is often translated into English and finally from English into any target language. As a result, the translator creates subtitles for the target audience without even speaking Korean, the original language of the TV show!
Another reason is both ancient and simple: subtitle translation is a fascinating but not the best-paid job, sadly. To expand the talent pool, LSPs and the film industry need both time and money. As for now, according to a survey conducted in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, about 70% of Netflix viewers had stopped a TV show/movie in the last year because of poor subtitling or dubbing quality. And so the lesson is: no matter how great your product is, never underestimate the meaning of translation and localization.
More info is available in the source article here.
Our company, WTS, has been cooperating with Lingvista LLC from Tomsk, Russia since 2016...
» Read more Export Area Manager, WTS S.p.A. Andrea Mozzoni