The newly-minted Entertainment Globalization Association (EGA), just created last week, has set its sights on publicizing the role of localization in the entertainment industry.
The goal is to create “better awareness that this industry even exists,” with people who are “creating the original IP,” said Chris Fetner, who is heading up the organization as managing director. For example, writers and directors may know that translation and globalization happen; that movies get dubbed in some markets, but for the most part, said Fetner, the effect is like a duck seeming to glide effortlessly over the surface of the water. Nobody sees the legs kicking furiously under the surface to propel the duck forward. Fetner said he thinks directors would likely be shocked if they knew how little time voice actors in dubbing studios were given with scripts, for instance.
“For a long time, [localization has] been treated like a utility, and it’s done it a disservice as an art form,” said Fetner. EGA’s goal is to ensure faithful representation in whatever language a film is translated into — and this might mean a little more time than the localization providers are currently given.
EGA has already gathered 70 member companies, having added ten since its inception a few days ago. When Fetner asks people what they’d like to see from EGA, “what they ask for more than anything is having another week, having a better opportunity to provide good quality,” said Fetner. “It really is an industry of people who love what they do,” and above all, they want to create good output.
EGA has ten founding members: Audiomaster Candiani, Deluxe, Hiventy, Iyuno Media Group, Plint, SDI Media, Visual Data Media Services, VSI, ZOO Digital, and Keywords Studios. With the exception of video games specialist Keywords Studios, all the founding companies participate in entertainment localization.
Fetner himself has worked in the entertainment industry for 25 years on the client side. His foray into localization began at Discovery, when he was involved in localizing content from US English into UK English. Then, at BBC Studios, he worked on projects localized into Latin American Spanish. But it wasn’t until he joined Netflix and headed up their localization vendor strategy that he understood the full breadth of the industry, he said.
When Fetner left Netflix this fall, he reached out to the vendors he’d worked with, and they expressed regret they would no longer be working together. Some asked if he’d do consulting. Fetner said he told them, “if you feel like there’s work to be, let’s all work together with everybody,” and from these conversations, the EGA was conceived. It was “spearheaded by the founding companies,” who were asking “what would it look like if everyone worked together in the industry,” said Fetner. Additionally, with Fetner available, they had a managing director who was willing to work on the issues.
Fetner has plans to reach out to writer’s and director’s guilds, as well as similar organizations, in an effort to “add value” by inviting them to work more directly with localization.