Click here for the full article published on The Linguist 59/2, the journal of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

This article is meant to provide an overview of the audiovisual translation market and working conditions in Italy. Having spoken to some professionals in the dubbing and subtitling industry, I have gained an understanding of the reasons behind the translation mistakes, not only for smaller productions with limited budgets but also for big players.

Most of the interviewees who responded talked about an unregulated industry with fierce competition mostly based on price rather than on quality; they also hinted that the Italian market would be led by the word of mouth and reputation, although some mechanisms remain unclear. The result is the uneven quality of the output leading to mistranslations with the occasional nonsensical dialogue reaching the screen.

“Translation for dubbing is mainly carried out in the country of the target language. Practices vary from country to country, and working conditions can be far from ideal. I tried to gain an insight into the situation for those working into Italian and discovered a varied landscape. In Italy, competition for work is high and an increasing number of studios are fighting to get a share of the market by offering low prices to potential clients. As a consequence, AV translators are receiving lower rates, and are increasingly drawn towards accepting more assignments and rushing through them.”

It is not all bad though: several agencies are proud of their excellent quality and freelancers are happy to work with them, because they know their effort is appreciated.

Read the full text here.