Middlemen in Subtitling and Dubbing Jobs: Often necessary, increasingly just in the way

Across all industries, agencies or “middlemen,” can be a helpful connection between you and the services you need, especially if you don’t know where to find specialized services such as translating and subtitling. See What You Need to Know Before Choosing a Localization Company for Language Replacement and Subtitling.

CMI has close relationships with many agencies that outsource their post-production localization jobs to us, and we are always happy to receive the business. Indeed, we often rely on them for insight to their specific customer, just as they rely on us for our extensive knowledge of subtitling requirements, an all-around beneficial business network. That said, in many cases, middlemen – with no particular expertise in the industry, but with brilliant marketing skills – can create significant problems, resulting in unnecessary delays that threaten deadlines and compromise the final product.

One major downside is you may not even know you’re using a middleman or, worse, a veritable cascade of middlemen. Funny story: A recent project a CMI member worked on was for a major American television network. This huge entertainment company ordered subtitling from a major digital cinema company who you would expect to have an in-house subtitling department, but instead the work was outsourced overseas to a well-known company in Germany. This next company then turned around and outsourced it to one of our translators who received it as a freelance job through an online forum. The funny part is that the person who ended up doing the subtitling work lives next door to the major TV network that originally ordered the service. Talk about the middleman. In this case, there was no need for a bridge, especially not for one that would go across the ocean, twice!

Lost in Translation

At times CMI has been called at the 11th hour to make additions or changes to a video because the in-between agency didn’t gather and deliver all the pertinent information in time. We recently worked on a project to translate a video from another language to English. Once we sent the finished work back to our client (the middleman), they sent it to their client for feedback. That client asked for additional editing work that was not in the original order. By then, the end-client was at his deadline with no money left in his budget. Had we spoken to the end-client directly, we would have asked the critical questions from the get-go, made relevant adjustments early, and the project would have been done correctly from the beginning.

When you come to us, we begin with a complete assessment of the project scope. This includes details clients might not even think to ask for. We ask, for example, “What kind of font do you want? What color? Are there any graphics introducing the speaker? Would you like us to put subtitles to the right, left or above the speaker?” We make suggestions as to what works best for their video. Then, we translate, code, edit and do whatever is needed to deliver it on time in just one pass.

There are many instances in which CMI will not be working directly with the end-client, but with a knowledgeable and professional agent, it works, and everyone is happy. However, we are increasingly seeing layer upon layer of subcontractors who add no value to projects. This can lead to funny situations, but we at CMI would want to reserve the last laugh for the happy end-client, having delivered their project on-time and to their expectations.

How to Solve the “Extra Middlemen” Problem

Come to us directly. Cut through the layers.

At CMI, we want you to know us, personally.. Our company has been around since 1961 for a reason. We bring the wealth of our experience and knowledge to give your business a highly professional end product. With us, you get the guarantee of a final, quality-controlled product and the comfort of talking to the person who is handling your project from start to finish.

When you come directly to us, you save money by cutting out the upcharges that come along with the middleman. You also save time because there’s less turnaround time when we return your project directly to you.

CMI is a premier provider of post-production services nationwide with a special focus on international content. Drop us a line if you want to hear more.

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