Netflix & Hermes: Quality Subtitling at Scale

This article discusses Netflix’s bold and innovative move to vet, test, register and utilize translators worldwide to provide accurate sub-titling and other translation services for Netflix’s media products. Called Hermes – this is yet another conspicuous example of how the Translations Industry permeates our lives – even our leisure time.
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Netflix has become a household name in the 2 decades it has been around.  Launched in 1997, the company is based in California and boasts more than 50 million subscribers in the US and almost as many in other parts of the world.  With this massive subscriber base of almost 100 million, the company recently announced that it fully recognizes that English will not be the primary viewing language on Netflix.
Enter Hermes.  Hermes – the messenger of the Olympic gods in mythology, is the name chosen by Netflix for its platform to implement the strategic move to hunt for translators.  What is Hermes?  Straight from the horse’s (i.e. Netflix’s) mouth, “Hermes is the Netflix translator testing platform for Fulfillment Partners, as well as individuals with a background in subtitling that want to join our network.”
What this means is Netflix is again flexing its innovation muscles by launching the first indexing system for translating subtitles for its products. The Hermes platform is supposed to be smart enough to not only vet translators, but also to pair them to suitable tasks for which they are a strong match. This offers not just work opportunities for linguists and translators, but also promises to provide a standardized registration platform that will most likely have worldwide reach, relevance and acceptance.

Just five years ago, Netflix offered just 2 languages other than English – Spanish and Portuguese.  Today, they have over 20 languages with more expected in coming months and years.  With this move, it will be very interesting to see how Netflix itself improves as a worldwide service, as well as how Hermes will continue to evolve and have other applications beyond Netflix media.

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