James*, I guess, is extremely modest. When we start our call he is convinced that he won’t be able to say anything useful for this blog, so it begins a little tentatively. His ‘no nonsense’ way of speaking, however, is fun and hints to a very healthy degree of enthusiasm for his work, so the call soon warms up. Adjectives or phrases like ‘super cool,’ ‘ridiculous!’ ‘absurd!’ and ‘Well…let me put this politely’ (all delivered with a kind of Cobain-esque husky American drawl) are dotted into a conversation about what makes a project great and what makes one a living hell. By the end of the call, James and I are really getting to the nitty gritty of video localization (video localization involves translating, localizing and embedding all of the content in a video – which includes subtitles, voice-over and on-screen text – so that viewers can enjoy it in any language) and I learn about his personal list of ‘super cool’ clients.
James works at EVS Translations‘ Atlanta office and has been instrumental in helping to build on the team’s expertise, technology and processes surrounding video localization (James, himself, makes short films in his free time, though these never go out on any digital channels because, quote, ‘I hate social media‘). He works within the wider translation technology team, alongside Patrick and Mohamed, but is a first point of call for our project managers when their clients come with video projects.
Spot the difference: Good video localization versus great video localization
I prod (read: prod heavily) James for some insight into his daily work routine and current projects. ‘Are you working on any interesting subtitling projects at the moment?’ I ask hopefully. ‘Well…,’ replies James briskly, ‘subtitling is a pretty cut and dry topic.’ ‘Oh,’ I reply weakly trying to conjure up another question to inspire conversation. But after he considers this for a moment, he begins to talk about one particular client who he labels as: ‘super cool.’
‘Why are they so cool?’ I ask, intrigued.
‘The client is a film production company that works on movie trailers and nature documentaries for major broadcasting channels. They saw that we offer subtitles in SRT and VTT format, but were concerned because these formats go by milliseconds instead of frames. One of the major video editing softwares, Media Composer, requires subtitles in frame formats such as STL. That is definitely something we can also do.’
In contrast to this, he goes on to describe another project which ‘got quite ridiculous’. This one was a car commercial that needed a foreign language voice-over, but the schedule was delayed when the client failed to send the music track. James explains the process he had to go through to get this project back on track (excuse the pun), then quickly switches to a comparison with ‘the coolest project,’ which was much larger in scope.
‘This on-screen text work was made significantly easier by having all the FCPX and Adobe After Effects files. If we don’t get those the video will never look as good and it gets absurdly time-consuming. ’
‘Why was it the coolest?’ I ask, intrigued.
‘There was on-screen text to work on and voice-over work into dozens of languages, including Arabic,’ he replies enthusiastically. ‘Since Arabic reads right-to-left, this definitely adds more work and an extra challenge to video editing. For this project, only for Arabic, we had to go through and change the positions of on-screen text and change text alignments and even some of the graphics accordingly. This on-screen text work was made significantly easier by having all the FCPX and Adobe After Effects files. If we don’t get those the video will never look as good and it gets absurdly time-consuming. It was a super cool project,’ he concludes, firmly giving it his seal of approval.
James’s level of professionalism is really admirable because he wants to get the best results on video by working within the best workflows.
I say ‘admirable‘ but of course I mean super cool. James is super cool.
(*James is also super shy, so we changed his name for this blog. He was interviewed by Lucy from our marketing team.)
If you are a media production or marketing agency with upcoming video localization projects, speak with our team today. They can guide you through the process and make sure your client reaches launch date with the highest-quality localized video.
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