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Fan Based Subtitle Translation Site Closed: Overreach by Hollywood? bY Translation Company Tokyo

The BBC reported on the police raid and closure of Swedish subtitle translation website Undertexter.

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Undertexter facilitates “fan-made translations of film and TV show dialogue, which could be merged with video files to provide on-screen text.” And, much like similar sites, it claims it’s not out to make money. On first read, this appears to be a case of overreach by Hollywood (lawyers), akin to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) suing a 12-year-old upwards of 150,000 dollars for downloading music.

Translation of film and TV show dialogue for personal use and understanding hardly constitutes the infringement of property rights. However, merging unauthorized dialogue translation with video files changes the equation. Drawing on an analogy, it’s kind of like giving a rented car a paint job in the backyard.

So, regardless of what you may think of Hollywood, this subtitle translation process appropriates somebody’s (intellectual) property and alters it to suit their own purposes, without permission or authorization. Further, the translation, not being subject to a rigorous process oriented to quality by professional script translators (yes, there are specialized translators just for this task!), almost certainly will suffer deficiencies impacting impacting future sales.

What you do think? Weigh in with a comment below!

About the Author
Ivan Vandermerwe is the CEO of SAECULII YK, the owner of Japan based Translation Company Tokyo Visit SAECULII for the latest professional case studies, articles and news on Japanese Translation Services

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