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From Script to Screen: The Role of Professional Translation In Multilingual Film and TV Productions

We have come far since the French comedy À Nous la Liberté (1931), was the first foreign language film to be nominated for an Academy Award. Over a decade later, the German-language Swiss drama, Marie-Louise (1944), was the first one to win.

Parasite (2019) - IMDb

These days we are captivated by great films like the South Korean, Parasite (2019) which took home the Oscar in 2020 for best film, and now waiting to see if Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) will claim the fame in 2023.

Parasite (2019) - IMDb
(Image credit: Parasite 2019 - IMBD)

It is exciting to see more foreign or mixed-language films standing on the podiums year after year, due to a wider audience being able to experience, understand and enjoy these unique stories. In this blog, we'll explore the process of translating and adapting multilingual films and TV shows (and the importance of subtitles) for global audiences and the significance of professional translation services in maintaining the key story (and the film reputation's).

Culturally correct; using professional translation services to capture a story
Accurate translation and cultural adaptation are fundamental in ensuring that the intended message, tone and context of a film or TV show are effectively conveyed to the audience. Misinterpretation or miscommunication due to inadequate translation can lead to misunderstandings and misalignment with the intended message, which can ultimately damage the opinion of the film or show, resulting in bad reviews.

Professional translation services play a vital role in the multilingual film and TV industry. They provide valuable insights and recommendations on cultural adaptation and ensure that the translations are accurate and culturally sensitive. It's not just copy and pasting a script into Google translate, taking what it spits out and then pasting that into ChatGPT to format back into a film script. Can you imagine!? What about subtle character nuances that are expressed with words unique to the native language. There are descriptions for expressions and emotions that may be unique to one language only and capturing the essence of that in multiple languages, require some serious skill.

Stories told on a global scale
Foreign films such as Parasite and Everything Everywhere All at Once have been well-received by global audiences, thanks to powerful and punctual translations in the subtitles that ensures the story is fully consumed. The success of these movies show that accurate translation and cultural adaptation are vital for multilingual films and TV shows to achieve commercial success and reach a broader audience.

As the popularity of foreign-language productions continue to rise, the role of professional translation services play a crucial role in ensuring that multilingual films and TV shows are accurately translated to reach a wider audience.

Misinterpretation or miscommunication due to inadequate translation can lead to potential losses, legal consequences, and damage the studio or film's image and reputation. And even though they say in Hollywood, "there's no such as thing as bad publicity"… we say, don't risk it. You may lose out on an Oscar or two.
Let us know if you have a screenplay to translate?


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