It was a tradition: every morning, at the entrance to the Dubbing Brothers studios, in Saint-Denis, in the Paris suburbs, actors and actresses came to present themselves to the artistic directors in charge of recruiting the French voices for films and series. in the process of dubbing, hoping to leave with a job. But that was before. Before Covid-19, of course, but especially before Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, Apple TV+ and other streaming platforms imposed drastic confidentiality conditions on their service providers. Impossible, from now on, to improvise and let enter the buildings of the “without-contract” who would not have formally committed not to leak any information.
The art of dubbing, long at two speeds (tight budgets and mediocre quality for TV, more comfortable envelope for cinema), has entered a new era: platforms and their millions of minutes have suddenly transformed this craft into a true globalized industry, with increasingly demanding quality criteria. In 1997, in the United States, were launched Netflix, now available everywhere in the world (with the exception of China), and Prime Video, launched by Amazon. In 2019, Apple and Disney followed suit, with their video-on-demand channels (Apple TV+ and Disney+).
Over 83,300 hours of dubbed content
The resulting avalanche of productions is shaking up the small world of dubbing: in 2021, Netflix had five million minutes of content dubbed (i.e. more than 83,300 hours), in thirty-four languages. Their next animated film, The Sea Beast (sea monster, online July 8), directed by Chris Williams, a former Disney employee, will be available in French, Spanish, German, Turkish, Japanese or Italian, but also in Basque, Galician (a first), as well as in Catalan .
For the Indian territory, the original voices will be adapted by local actors in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. For “make stories travel”, as Catherine Retat, director of international dubbing and creative services, poetically puts it, the American company is counting on a plethoric and increasingly refined offer. Each French production is thus made available throughout the world in eight to thirteen languages.
To carry out these meticulous undertakings, Netflix uses specialist contractors around the world to translate, adapt, record and mix local voices. A work coordinated from Paris by Catherine Retat. After twenty years at Warner and a few years at Disney, in London, this punchy blonde meticulously respects the wooden language protocol of the platform: reluctant to talk numbers (for, she says, “keep the magic going”), it boasts world-renowned French know-how in terms of dubbing. “We have the best technical and artistic dubbing in the world, she explains. And because, in Europe, there are a lot of languages, it is obvious to be based here. »
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