According to Netflix they use third parties to locate and hire translaters.
In the absence of a common registration scheme and standardized test, how do you find the best resources to do quality media translation? Netflix does this by relying on third parties to source and manage localization efforts for our content. But even this method often lacks the precision needed to drive constant improvement and innovation in the media translation space. Each of these vendors recruit, qualify and measure their subcontractors (translators) differently, so it’s nearly impossible for Netflix to maintain a standard across all of them to ensure constant quality at a reliability and scale we need to support our constant international growth. We can measure the company’s success through metrics like rejection rates, on-time rates, etc., but we can’t measure the individual. This is like trying to win the World Cup in soccer and only being able to look at your team’s win/loss record, not knowing how many errors your players are making, blindly creating lineups without scoring averages and not having any idea how big your roster is for the next game. It’s difficult and frustrating to try to “win” in this environment, yet this is largely how Netflix has had to operate in the localization space for the last few years, while still trying to drive improvement and quality.
However then then go on to test and assess them using a system they call HERMES
HERMES is emblematic of Hollywood meets Silicon Valley at Netflix, and was developed internally by the Content Localization and Media Engineering teams, with collaboration from renowned academics in the media translation space to create this five part test for subtitlers. The test is designed to be highly scalable and consists of thousands of randomized combinations of questions so that no two tests should be the same. The rounds consist of multiple choice questions given at a specifically timed pace, designed to test the candidate’s ability to:
- Understand English
- Translate idiomatic phrases into their target language
- Identify both linguistic and technical errors
- Subtitle proficiently
Idioms are expressions that are often times specific to a certain language (“you’re on a roll”, “he bought the farm”) and can be a tough challenge to translate into other languages. There are approximately 4,000 idioms in the English language and being able to translate them in a culturally accurate way is critical to preserving the creative intent for a piece of content.