The New Wave that is EGA

The Wave that brings EGA Together 

by Françoise Nieto-Fong, VP of Business Development Centauro Miami, Bogotá, México, Sao Paulo

I have heard and read these days that given the expansion of VOD, localization is more relevant than ever before. I agree that the growth of VOD has brought good times to our industry, but I see it as yet another wave of the many we have ridden. We started with the golden age of films when our assets were 35mm, then moved onto the growth of broadcast with 1” tapes, then ¾” and our assets continued to shrink in size to Hi-8, DVC Pro, Mini-DV as cable television expanded across continents. Today our assets are “intangible” as we have gone digital and into the cloud with AI assistants and new technologies evolving. Having seen these shrinking formats has also allowed us to see the waves of expansion and contraction we have surfed in the entertainment localization business.

Most of the LAS family businesses have ridden all these waves, while others have ridden some. Still, we are all in the same waters regardless of being a family business, an independent, or a corporation. At trade shows or dinner parties, we have discussed common issues, including vendor grudges. Still, we have always lacked a framework to align priorities that are important for us as an industry, define technical standards we should receive from clients, share market intelligence insights, and to have an organized presence as players in the global entertainment industry. This new wave brings the launch of EGA, where we hope to come together in a worldwide, organized way under the leadership of Chris, who understands the industry but comes from the demanding client side.

Clients - producers, distributors, or consumer medium - who are genuinely committed to delivering quality content to their audience care about localization because they know that language is part of the essence of the product the audience receives. However, there is a broken link in the chain between the creators and the final consumer of the content in another language. Sometimes it is a financial decision, lack of understanding of the craft, localization nuances, and how content globalization works. We’d like to think that through EGA, we will make stakeholders in the entire entertainment chain aware of the crucial role we play.

My father, founder of Centauro, has always said, “Dubbing is an art. Sound is 50% of content, but people are not aware that we are doing the entire film over but using only our voices.”. In many cases, our creative and financial challenges go unnoticed. Joining EGA, we hope to make our industry a visible key player in entertainment.

An article published in New Yorker Magazine summed up our mission and challenge as LAS – “ “Language isn’t just a means of communication,” the writer and translator Sinan Antoon has said. “It’s a reservoir of memory, tradition, and heritage.” As conduits between two cultures, translators take on an inherently political project. They must figure out how to make, for instance, a thirteenth-century Persian poet comprehensible to a contemporary American audience. But they have a responsibility to remain true to the original work—” **

We seek to bridge the original in all localization, being faithful to the intention while making it local for the audiences. Depending on the content, we all know it is a challenge, but we strive our best to do an excellent job regardless of the frivolity or profoundness of the content we receive.  We know it is an invisible role. Hopefully, coming together as EGA  will keep us invisible to the audience as it should, but usher in a new wave to make us very visible and heard as a new group in the entertainment business.