Video streaming has become the favourite means for Internet users to watch series. With more than 52 million international subscribers (2016) video on demand (VOD) leader NETFLIX has created the HERMES Test. The translator testing platform introduces a new dimension to collaborative translation and series subtitling.
What is the HERMES Test?
Since March 2017, the economic model called “uberization” has extended to the translation and localization fields. In fact, NETFLIX has set up HERMES, a translation, series subtitling test and indexing site.
The Californian company has invented this solution to meet the double demand of its subscribers:
- To cover all non-existent translations and subtitlings in the native language of new international subscribers
- To improve the often criticized poor-quality subtitling of its catalogue
Another aim of the platform is to find new talents who are able to provide quality translations in about 20 languages while respecting cultural nuances. Moreover, certain language combinations could then be found more easily.
HERMES Test: What Does it Look Like?
The 5-step test takes the form of a multiple-choice questionnaire accessible to all, i.e. NETFLIX customers, fansubbers, and professionals who are not required to present any form of certification. Only one condition: the applicant must understand English.
The test evaluates the applicant’s ability to identify technical and linguistic errors, as well as his/her ability to transcribe idiomatic expressions which meet the company’s most important translation needs. An algorithm then calculates the applicant’s results.
Benefits and Risks
For VOD companies or any other company that requires translation work, such a translator testing platform can simplify their search for translators.
Furthermore, it helps to maintain the quality standard of translations and the lack of common register for worldwide translators could be compensated for. A translator can also be recommended based on its translation performance. It is understood that translators do not display the same level of ability across genres. One could excel at translating sitcom series but be bad in translating Sci-Fi, for instance. A professional translator can also be comfortable with IT and CAT Tool, like Six Continents CEO and TCLoc instructor Gaëtan Chrétiennot.
As for the risks of this recruitment method, the costs granted to subtitling professionals are continually revised downwards (from $ 6 to $ 27 per minute of translating). Since there is no collective agreement, these professionals could find themselves in a precarious position. Just like other professions now affected by uberization. Finally, the pursuit of maximum profitability is at the heart of the phenomenon. In the words of professional translators, this could lead to a decline in quality and therefore render the solution ineffective.
Although the platform has already gathered a thousand successful tests, skeptics remain numerous. For now, there is only one certainty: the uberization phenomenon is not about to stop its spread.
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