Tag: film


Localization & Race: Disney’s Dubbing Controversy

freelancing, Geopolitics, Language in the News, Localization, Localization Culture, Localization Strategy, Multimedia Translation, Personalization and Design, Uncategorized

Disney/Pixar’s localization of the movie Soul has generated some race-related controversy, according to The Independent. Released in 41 different countries, the film is about a Black jazz player who tries to reunite his body and his soul after the two accidentally split apart. It’s only the fourth animated movie in the history of American cinema to feature a Black character in the leading role.

The film hasn’t gone without criticism in the United States, where cultural news sites like Gizmodo, Screen Rant, and Insider have pointed out that Soul seems to lean into Black stereotypes. In its original English version, the film uses a white actor to voice the main, Black character’s soul — something Gizmodo and others claim removes Black agency.

In Denmark and Germany, white actors voice the character’s body as well, sparking the Danish controversy. (If German cinema-goers are upset, the media is yet to report it.) “A number of activists and scholars suggested that [the] casting was an example of structural racism,” reports The Independent. Nikolaj Lie Kaas — the voice actor who received the lead Danish part — said, “My position with regards to any job is very simple. Let the man or woman who can perform the work in the best possible way get the job.”

The language industry, however, has long considered non-qualification related factors in “who gets the job.” In interpreting especially, US providers often pair limited-English proficients (LEP) with interpreters of the same gender for assignments, based on language and topic. If an LEP has been raped, for example, crisis centers may require a same gender interpreter as a way to help minimize trauma. For religious reasons, female Arabic and Somali speakers also may require female interpreters for medical visits. In these instances, a man very well may be the best interpreter in town, but other factors must be considered in awarding the job. That said, film localization is a different field and appears to adhere to different standards in at least some cases.

Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
+ posts

MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.


Related News:


Newly-Founded Entertainment Globalization Association Shares Strategy

Multimedia Translation

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.

Tags:, , ,
+ posts

Katie Botkin, Editor-in-Chief at MultiLingual, has a background in linguistics and journalism. She began publishing "multilingual" newsletters at the age of 15, and went on to invest her college and post-graduate career in language learning, teaching and writing. She has extensive experience with niche American microcultures across the political spectrum.


Related News: