darla, if it makes you feel any better, peter's not wearing any pants...
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Hahahaha . . . oh, you boys!
All right, well, I'm taking heed (Wolfgang) and I think I'm going to find myself a good translator. Ideally, it would be one of the italians I worked with – they were there. They know the nuances of the language and got the wacky proverbs.
I understand why many people recommended that I just go in (with or without a pro editor) and start cutting – but I think this is an opportunity for me to really sit with what I shot, get to know my characters (and finally learn what was said!) and get a better grasp on my story. And being a Capricorn, an editor, and a writer . . . I think I'm interested in learning myself, first, what my story is, before someone sits and tells me (though I do enjoy collaboration).
So I think that's how I'll move.
You'll find that you won't regret having a real pro do it. In reality, it has to be someone really good, it's not enough to know the language.
All the more, if your documentary is going to be based on these interviews, you can't afford to loose the nuances.
I have done some translations of the sound track of documentaries (same issue except on finished products) and I speak Italian perfectly, so you'd be surprised to find out how many shitty jobs are out there. Sometimes, minor misunderstandings leadot translations that are actually saying the contrary of what was said.
Translating from English, the most common problems regard the mis-translation of American idioms or expressions. When you can't translate literally you need to know how to adapt the sentence to the other langauge and or culture, etc.
getting back to your stuff, you need someone who understands the language and the culture, so they can transalte the fine points without loosing any of the texture, if you know what I mean.
When you've done this part, before you start editing, re-read my posts on the editing phase.
Yes, Wolfgang. I know . . . the problem is, how to find this person who is going to do this. Ideally, it would be my DP – he knew the people, loved them, got their proverbs, and has an excellent command of English. But he's not terribly excited by the prospect.
Tony is right.
If you offer to pay him enough he'll probably accept the job.
Furthermore, it would probably be much easier for him (in Italy, if I remember correctly) to find people to transcribe – with time code references – your interviews.
Absent money, try flattery, perrsuasion, coercion, persistence. If that doesn't work, try showing him your tits.
Of course I'd pay him, but he's gotten dp jobs at $800 a day now, and I know he knows I can't pay him a rate like that, so . . . I think he's just not down with it.
What's a going rate for good translation and how do I know how long it would take to translate 10-16 hours of footage (that he shot)?
Don't believe Tony. I tried showing my tits once and it didn't work.
I tried flattery, perrsuasion, coercion, persistence, and didn't get anywhere with those either.
As I wrote before, I used "flattery, perrsuasion, coercion, persistence" because I had to tits to show and no money to spend.
Oh, such abuse a poor girl has to endure to get her film made! Don't be offended, Darla, just consider it mild preparation for dealing with the distribution phase.
On a serious note, could you negotiate a fixed price with your DP that would be enough to entice him to do the work? If so, then you could go out and fundraise for it. Depending on who you know and are related to, a good way to raise modest amounts of money is to send a nice letter to your entire friends and family list explaining your project and asking for donations. Be specific and say "I now need $XX to pay for YYY part of the project." I'm personally terrible at asking for money, but the few times I've done it, having a specific amount for a specific purpose has been more successful than a general request.
Hmmm....Mikal, good idea. I think I'll save my fundraising for when I really need it--to go back to Italy to finish shooting and everything else following that (tons more translation, editing, etc....)
I want to propose this to my DP, but I want to give him something reasonable. I'm canceling a dream trip to Alaska this summer to do it.
I just want to get an idea from others on timeframe and cost estimate.
This is how I did my translations. It is the cheapest way I could think of, and I had hours and hours of Korean to translate. I went to school's websites to find my translators and interviewers. I live near Brown University so I went to their school's student union web site and found Korean Student Association. I am sure they have the same type thing for Italian. The first translator I paid $10 an hour. Because of my topic being related to woman studies the second semester she was going to work for credit only, but she went abroad, and I had to find a paid replacement. So I say find a student, they are cheap or free, and you can teach them how to subtitle.
Tara has given you a good idea. I'm not sure about where you live, but in NY there are several universities with Italian institutes. Aside from a small fee, you can always promise to list them as "intern" or whatever in the credits section of your doc
Sorry, I don't mean to turn this into the All-About-Me Room, but while I did like Tara's idea, I just wonder about the quality and level of translation. Wolfgang, you yourself had written quite a lot on the subject of hiring a talented translator. My characters are in a small region in the mountains of Abruzzo and don't speak "regular" Italian and are often difficult to understand; I'm sure many of the words and usages in their diction are archaic.
To me, this might take more than a college student for $10 an hour. I mean, it's definitely definitely a good resource. But I have tons of friends who speak Italian . . . just word about the issue of "dialect" (it's more a regional issue than a dialect, but it's easiest to put it that way).
Thanks, though, to both of you!
How about negotiating a fixed price up front with your DP but paying him off at some set rate/month that you can both live with, like a mortgage. Think he'd go for that?
Find a college student in the U.S. from the region, or one who has some familiarity with the argot there. Is there a university in the Abruzzo... with an exchange program with an American University? Worth some digging and posting on university websites. Or, perhaps a college professor who is familiar with the dialect? They have to be out there....
lets not always call the DP a he! I know only 6% of women are in the industry but lets not rub it in...
In this case, he is in fact a "he," which is why I used the word.
Just to put it into context: I'm a talented translator, I've made my living doing it for ten years, been living in Italy since 91, but I wouldn't touch the dialect of my own region with a bargepole, let alone that of another region.
So here's a different suggestion. Why don't you wait until you're back in Italy (you said you're going back in the summer and you're not in a great hurry), then get someone from the community you're documenting to help you with the translation? I'd imagine that people would like to be involved in your process, it would probably greatly increase your access and integration. Dialect is a huge problem for translation, but on the other hand, people are very proud of it and getting the characters themselves involved would be a great way to show them that you are very committed to what is so particular about their lifestyle and community.
[Start dodgy suggestion] In the meantime you could cut a very short teaser for picture alone, put some music over it and wild track perhaps. And if what they're doing/saying is most likely not of great dramaturgical impact (when cutting up the pig, for instance), then you could even subtitle what you imagine they're saying (like, hand me the bucket, careful not to get blood on your shoes, etc.). This would work for a teaser until you can get the real thing. [End dodgy suggestion]
Re my previous answer, what I had written you in the past is, in fact, correct.
The idea re using a student translator – and mind you, I'd choose a graduate student who speaks the language fluently (that's why I mentioned cultural Institutes like the ones at NYU and Columbia); I didn't mean someone studying Italian – is still a good one to help you save money.
The student (who needs to be fluent and competent) could probably provide a good first draft of a translation of most of the dialogue and you could then have an expert (especially in reference to the dialect), verify it afterwards. This would allow you to save money.
this is a reply to Darla, and another question to all.
Darla – I posted for a translator on the good ol' craigslist and was surprised on how many responses I received. In all I got 6 hours of beautifully translated (spanish to english) with time code references for a couple hundred dollars.
To all – I'm in post production on my first feature doc. and need to find a music contract pertaining to world wide film festival usage. I'm trying to avoid contacting an entertainment lawyer because of the cost.
Thanks, y'all. In fact, the dp is a he (I think I mentioned that a few times). And I just wrote to him today to ask . . . I said he can take his time, and I'd pay him slowly . . . (so thanks for the mortgage metaphor, Mikal). And I'm just keeping my fingers crossed – though, he lives in Milan, and accepts only euros; in this case, if it doesn't work out, I won't be too upset, b/c the exchange rate right now is why I can't go back and shoot in the first place (until I have more funding).
So, I'm not actually planning to go back until August 2009 (Rob thought it was this summer). . . and I do have time on my side here. If the dp accepts, I'll be good to go. If he doesn't, I'll ask the photographer (who was also with us and had a good grasp on the regionality in the language). Short of those two, I love the idea of Craigslist.
So that's what I'll do.
The teaser idea was cute, Rob.