It’s no secret that entertainment localization can be a dicey prospect. Just look at Squid Game, which MultiLingual has already covered. But have you ever seen a localization effort so bad, it rendered the movie or TV show unwatchable?
For a sizeable percentage of respondents to a new study by the Entertainment Globalization Association (EGA), the answer is yes. And it happens with some regularity.
“[This study is] by no means absolute in its findings,” the study reads. “It answered a few of the most basic questions around consumer impact from localization experience. However, it led to many more questions which need asking to better understand the consumer expectations regarding localization.”
Released on Thursday, the Localization Consumer Impact Study focuses on the France, Italy, Germany, and Spain markets (FIGS). According to survey respondents, international media is all the rage in continental Europe, with only 20% saying they never consume foreign-language content. But localization provides only a fleeting illusion, with 26% being somewhat aware they’re watching a localization and 60% being completely aware.
A majority of respondents also say that poor-quality subtitling and dubbing come with the territory. Only 13% report zero issues, with 10% running into problems every day, 18% at one or two times a week, 33% at one or two times a month, and 25% one or two times a year. For a majority, the issues are so bad, they sometimes quit watching, with 7% saying once a week, 20% at once a month, 37% at once a year, and 36% never quitting due to poor localization.
The study provides valuable insights for streaming platforms and content creators as the entertainment industry moves toward an increasingly globalized market. But the authors are quick to point out it’s a first step toward building a true depth of understanding.
“Perhaps one of the most provocative findings in this research was the financial value respondents in FIGS place on the localization experience relative to their overall streaming subscription fees,” the study reads. “Respondents across FIGS indicated they’d expect an average of 48% of their monthly streaming fees be allocated to high-quality content localization.”