Translations for the film industry

Hero Curve Element
Translations for the film industry

TV productions, particularly documentary and news bulletins are filmed in a variety of languages. The filming can take place pretty much anywhere and the languages involved can be diverse. Typically, production companies, whether big or small, usually need things turned around extremely quickly and their requests can be challenging…

We’ve recently been working closely with a major documentary producer, on a documentary series filmed in Russia, China and Japan. Initially, our client approached us with a request for the translation of contributor release forms and location agreements, to be translated from English into Russian, Chinese and Japanese. A contributor release form is essentially where someone who will feature in a production gives permission for film of them to be used/screened. A location agreement is a document that gives permission to enter a property for the purpose of recording content. Basically our clients had to ensure that all the individuals who featured in the documentary actively gave their permission and similarly, that it was acceptable to film in all the venues.

Once the initial text translations were completed, filming took place. The video footage ended up totalling a lot of hours and was across three languages, Japanese, Chinese and Russian. Since the documentary series was to be aired in English-speaking territories, the client initially needed English transcripts, in order to work out which parts of the film they would use. This meant initially commissioning direct translations from Japanese, Chinese and Russian into English, of all the video footage. This is essentially where English-only transcripts are produced from foreign language audio. It’s a time-consuming process for our translators, but it is very helpful for production teams, when they require English transcripts (only). It allows them to isolate the specific sections of film they need, using time-code markers (these appeared in the transcript every minute).

The final stage of the process was to subtitle the material. The client cut the final sections together, having isolated the parts they needed. We then subtitled the final footage from Japanese, Chinese and Russian into English. The final subtitles were produced in srt format and provided to the editor, who worked their magic and voila! A full series was produced.

The project was a real pleasure to work on, as we worked closely with our client right from the beginning. We assisted with the initial text translation, then with the direct translations and finally with the subtitling! The team of linguists working on the project did a terrific job and really went the extra mile, checking and clarifying any ambiguities, to ensure the final copy was TV-ready!

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