Off topic: Writing reviews of the movies/TV shows I subtitle - Conflict of interest?
Thread poster: Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Aug 4

Hello all,

After many years of consuming hours of French and Spanish media through freelance subtitling, I've often thought it would be an interesting idea to offer up my opinions on a blog. However, I am wondering if this would represent a conflict of interest, seeing as I am often watching films ahead of their release. But even after a film/TV show has officially aired to the public, do you believe it would be considered "bad form" to write about something I personally had a hand in creating? As a subtitler, with all the NDAs you often need to sign, I often feel there seems to be a kind of omertà around attaching your name to a project. I'd be interested to know people's thoughts on this.

Thanks and all the best,



José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Professional aloofness Aug 4

I am a professional translator. Though I can critique a translation - as now and then requested by clients for tests they receive with online translator applications - I don't evaluate the material I translate as such.

Among other things, I translate books. If asked (usually by the author/client) for my opinion on their book I'm translating, I'll refrain from letting it out.

I have translated excellent books, among them one page-turner that my wife read (unpaid proofreadingicon_wink.gif ) in one sitting.
On the other end, I translated such a horrible one that, in spite of being an action novel - if asked for my opinion - I'd recommend it as a "diet" for overweight gluttons, since it was written in a way to make the reader puke in disgust after every 10 pages or so.

I also translate videos for dubbing and subtitling. If I'm dealing with a distributor or a subtitling studio, I may let it out when I think that it's a waste of time and effort, but NEVER to the producer, writer, or anyone involved with the original work.

Okay, I'd be a drop in the bucket if I said that a movie was so good that I shouldn't have charged for translating it. However it would be self-defeating if I ever said that a movie was so bad that translating it was a nightmare. Next time my client would probably look for another translator, one that could keep his/her mouth shut.

So I never let out my opinion on material I translate.
One exception, though: If the author asks, Does my original need additional proofreading? I'll tell them yes or no.


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Writing reviews of the movies/TV shows I subtitle - Conflict of interest?

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