Production, part 10: Transcription and Translation
The production process for a documentary film is highly dependent on editing, and when there is over 50 hours of raw material that needs to somehow be sliced, diced, and chopped into 1.5 hours, the pressure is significant for the editing team to understand what is available. Of those 50 hours of footage, more than half contains people’s interviews. The interviews make up the body of the work so it’s critical that the director and editors can access the language of the interviews at any time. This requires TRANSCRIPTION of the 30 hours of verbiage into word processing files that can then be searched and printed out.
Our team of transcribers consists of 5 volunteers who work as entertainment industry professionals for a living, but spent hours playing back, listening, typing, rewinding, playing back, listening, typing the interviews into their computers. They went out of their way for Pray for Japan and the film exists because of them.
Fortunately, our director Stu Levy is bilingual and our editors are Japanese so it was not necessary to translate all 30 hours of the interviews. Many documentaries require this – and with no budget we may have never completed our film. So the next step was editing the film, which of course took many weeks. Once the film was edited offline (before final output), the next stage was TRANSLATION. Even 90 minutes is quite a lot of translation, especially in a film with so much language involved. We had 3 amazing volunteers, two of which are professional translators and one is a bilingual law student (at Stu’s alma mater!). This was significant work, as one can see from the photo above. Thanks to the translators Pray for Japan is able to be seen worldwide in English!
Last but not least, the translation needs to be visible on the screen which of course requires SUBTITLES. Luckily, in Los Angeles, Hiroko works with a professional translation company Vitac, whose owner believed in our message and volunteered their services for Pray for Japan. Working with Yelena Makarczyk and her team at Vitac meant top-quality subtitles and attention to the details we would have never achieved if we had attempted subtitling on our own. Kudos to Vitac!
Here’s our amazing team of transcribers and translators (in alphabetical order by last name):
Yoshiko Fuji – Transcription
Yoshiko’s NY credits include Chin Up (Dramatists Guild of America), JDate (directed by Dave Simonds), and Lunch Special (directed by Manu Boyer). Japan credits include Miyako Hotel (Takeshi Kitano Office), Harimao (Mito Arts Foundation), The American Dream (Japan Performing Arts Foundation), and Fuunji (directed by Shigeru Ishihara). She trained with William Esper and is currently studying with Michael Howard in New York City. Recipient of the 2007-2008 Japanese Government Overseas Programme for Artists Fellowship Grant. Japan Actors Union Member.
Shuichi Fujiyasu – Transcription
Shuichi is a director and producer for television. After many years working for a major production company, Shuichi now works freelance, focusing on television, Web, online video and PR events, in all genres and topics.
Hiroko Imai – Translation
A native Japanese translator/actor Hiroko is honored to be part of this project and offers the following message: “Very special thanks to Stu for his conviction to support the people of Tohoku. I am wishing for quick recovery and prosperous future of affected area and Japan.”
Yuu Kobayashi – Transcription
Yuki Nakamura – Transcription
Chiaki Ota – Translation
Chiaki is originally from Kamakura, Kanagawa and is currently working and studying law in Washington, D.C. In her yearly visits to Japan, she loves to explore new parts of Japan and immerse herself in the beauty and the history of the country.
Linda Thai – Volunteer Coordinator
Linda is a librarian whose passion for anime, manga, comics and graphic novels is communicated through emerging technologies.
Rie Yamamoto – Translation
Rie specializes in documentaries, reality shows, movies, and related entertainment programming. After working eight years as a travel guide book editor, Rie started a new career as a freelance media translator and has been in that business since 2008.
Rie Yoshida – Transcription
Rie is an international student from Tokyo. According to Rie, “the question I’m always asking my self is if I’m doing something wonderful to the world even though its a tiny step.”
Go to Credits –>