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Editing a Spanish Video

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Aaron Cadieux
Editing a Spanish Video
on Sep 21, 2008 at 3:12:07 am

Hello everyone,

I work for a small ad agency as the video editor. We're doing a series of videos for a major university. We're producing an English and a Spanish version of the project. The two versions are not exactly the same. Each includes testimonials from various talking heads, and what is said in the English version is not the same as what is said in the Spanish version.

Now, I've worked on videos in Spanish before. Usually they were safety videos that have an English and a Spanish version. The Spanish v/o closely matched the English v/o and the visuals were identical. Basically the edit was simple, however, I still had to sit with an interperator to put it together since I don't speak a lick of Spanish.

This time around, it is definately a lot different. There will be hours and hours of unscripted content in Spanish, and I'm expected to sit with an interperator to edit the entire thing. Working with an interperator always slows down my usually quick workflow. Being as complex as this current project is, I think it's unfair to expect me to edit the Spanish version of the video. I am being unreasonable, or is this kind of thing usually outsourced to a Spanish-speaking production team?

-Aaron


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mark harvey
Re: Editing a Spanish Video
on Sep 22, 2008 at 10:38:37 am

Well....if you are staff, then no, it is not unreasonable to ask you to do this.... I work at a french TV station....Each and every year I have to prepare our programming launch for the commercial reps. I have to prepare in french, then transfer over to english...of course the advantage that I have is that I am bilingual, but it still requires a lot of work....but I figure that they are paying me to do it, so I of course do it.

That said, probably the best suggestion you could make is that a dub of the hours of Spanish material be put onto a DVD with timecode burn-in so that the intepretor, or an assistant who speaks Spanish can select their clips. This would save hours in the edit suite, as you will be less likely to be searching for material. I am sure that your bosses would go for this, as an editing suite is a very expensive viewing room....

When I work with external clients, I always suggest that they do as much prep work as possible. I explain to them that it will save them money in the long run....if they decline, that is ok too, as my rate doesn't change if the client wants to sit next to me and go through their footage.

Mark Harvey
Senior Editor
Le R


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Mark Suszko
Re: Editing a Spanish Video
on Sep 22, 2008 at 2:34:05 pm

I only barely passed high school Spanish, but even so, I am very glad I did, since I am getting more and more projects where the additional Spanish tracks are becoming a consideration. Turns out I am the only Spanish-speaker, poor as I am, in the shop, and I get ALL the language-related jobs to handle because of it. Even though I don't consider myself qualified. WHat I do for bigger jobs is I bring in volunteers from other parts of the organization with some fluency to help me over the rough patches, but for simple spots I can read and understand pretty well on my own, particularly if I also have the English version nearby.

If you look at census data and trends, everything points to the fact that you should go out and learn some Spanish in order to expand your marketability. If you don't, you're handing over business to rivals who are no better than you, maybe less good, but can speak the lingo. Es Verdad. Maybe your boss would spring for a Berlitz course or something for you? Consider it job security because I think it is easier for a boss to go find a Spanish-speaker and train them on FCP than it is to find an editor and make them take language lessons.

In the meanwhile, the suggestion to run off a DVD window burn of all the Spanish for the interpreter to pre-select is the best way to make the most of your time.


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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Editing a Spanish Video
on Sep 23, 2008 at 12:34:04 am

Thanks for your input. But I have to respectfully disagree with you. Obviously it's not unreasonable to ask a bi-lingual person to edit a video in another language. I, on the other hand, do not speak a word of Spanish (besides Gracias). It would be one thing if it were only a Spanish V/O track (I've worked with those before), but to expect me to edit interview segments in Spanish is absurd. Even if I get a translation done for me, I would only get the jist of what they're saying, and would have no idea where to make precise edits. For what I get paid, taking out of my personal life to take Spanish lessons is out of the question. They'll never find someone else, bi-ligual, or otherwise, to do what I do for less.



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mark harvey
Re: Editing a Spanish Video
on Sep 23, 2008 at 11:06:56 am

I do see your point, but I do disagree. If they are ready to bring in a translator to work with you, then you have no reason not to do the work. the company you work for pay your salary, and as long as the work falls into the realm of video editing, for which you are paid, then I think that it is your job. If my company asked for an Italian, or German version of my work, then I would have no problem doing the work, so long as I had a well prepared translator with me.

I am not saying that this work would be demo reel material, but unfortunately not everything we get to work on is demo reel material. Bottom line for me, is that my company pays me to edit 8 hours a day...My arse needs to be in the chair at least 7 and a half (union breaks), and I need to edit what they ask me to edit. As senior editor should I be making DVDs and WMVs ??? Absolutely not, the night assistant should be doing that, but if they want to pay me what they do to do DVDs, then I will do DVDs.

There is some work that I hate doing, but I bite my tongue and get it done. As long as it falls in the realm of my paid duties, then I will do it...it is my job, and it is what puts food in my kid's mouths.

I understand your point, but you really have to see the companies point...if the work needs doing, and you are their employee, then it is only normal for them to expect you to do it...again, they have to make sure that the pieces for you to accomplish this work are there.
As for learning Spanish....I probably would go for it, not because I had to, but at some point you may want to make a go of it on your own, and as the previous poster mentionned, you may lose contracts due to this.

Respectfully,

Mark

Mark Harvey
Senior Editor
Le RĂ©seau des sports


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Mark Suszko
Re: Editing a Spanish Video
on Sep 23, 2008 at 7:04:46 pm

"They'll never find someone else, bi-ligual, or otherwise, to do what I do for less."


I have 21 years observing the business that says this quote is not only inaccurate, but dangerously in denial of past, current and imminent future business realities and trends.

Everyone is ultimately replaceable, everyone, no matter how unique we think we are, and there is always someone that can do it cheaper and yes, better. The older I get, the truer it seems to me. With luck, I'll never have to tell you "I told you so". But I wouldn't put money on it.

Keep your skills sharp, look for ways to always grow, try new things, stretch your boundaries - as a person as well as an editor; that's the only way to even have a chance of staying ahead of the axe.

That's my opinion, anyway.


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Charlie King
Re: Editing a Spanish Video
on Sep 28, 2008 at 5:16:06 pm

Several years ago, I was put into a project for the US Congress's attempt to get former USSR countries to bid for business in the privatization of these countries. There was to be an auction and people were given script to use in the bidding for these business, This was in Muldova, There were two versions of each commercial. One version was in Russian, with cyrilic graphics the other in Romanian with Romanian graphics. One problem is that when Russia took over Romanian countries they outlawed the written Romanian language so we didn't know exactly how the written language should be depicted. I had to edit these to scripts already set up. Needless to say I don't speak either Russian or Romanian. the really funny part was after the project was finished we were told we needed to create the same commercials in english so they could be seen by the US Congress to let them know what was actualy being said.

We many times are asked to do things beyond our education level, we must be able to adapt and go with it.

Charlie


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grinner hester
Re: Editing a Spanish Video
on Oct 1, 2008 at 4:49:11 pm

or fake it really well.
lol
Maybe it's why I'm an editor. I found a long time ago when ya place yourself in a room full of producers and producer wannabes, you are never the dumbest one in the room.




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Charlie King
Re: Editing a Spanish Video
on Oct 1, 2008 at 9:20:10 pm

[grinner hester] "when ya place yourself in a room full of producers and producer wannabes, you are never the dumbest one in the room"

So well said, and so very true.

Charlie



ProductionKing Video Services
Las Vegas, Nevada
Charlie@proking.net


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