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Media Localization Talent Shortage: A Wake-up Call

Media Localization Talent Shortage - A Wake-up Call - GPI Blog


The media localization industry continues to face the challenge of ever-rising streaming content supply while the talents seem to decline. The roles in demand are voice-over actors, dubbing directors as well as subtitlers in new language combinations. Industry experts predict that this crunch will get worse in the upcoming months, and will drain the existing pool of subtitling talent. So, how are industry leaders dealing with the media localization talent shortage?

With increasing media demands on a global scale, the “grass should be greener” more than ever in the media localization field. However, most talents see widespread stress and burnout due to the long hours of work needed to meet production deadlines. More often than not, localization projects handed to the “freelance community” require delivery within “a third of the amount of time”, and with fees which are not enough to match the skilled translators’ rates. To make things even harder, media companies do not treat localization as a valuable aspect of their media package. Resorting to machine translation (MT) is the ultimate blow to media localization talents as the cost is low (bots don’t need bread). Naturally, machine translation output threatens not only the quality of subtitles and dubbing but more importantly the talent supply of language professionals.

Needless to say, the creative human element is important to keep content integrity and preserve the art of localization. To address this looming talent apocalypse, there are companies who are making their offers more attractive, sometimes by paying double normal rates and providing better working conditions. Additionally, Jorge Diaz-Cintas, Professor of Translation Studies at University College London suggests that academic-driven initiatives such as specialized courses and training on audio-visual translation (AVT) – could also help solve the talent crunch and attract more people to media localization industry.

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