26. december 2012

I sympati med vores finske kolleger publicerer vi hermed støtteerklæringen fra Audio Visual Translators Europe.


On October 1st 2012 ninety-eight subtitlers in Finland resigned from their positions following outsourcing of the  subtitling work at Finnish MTV Media to Broadcast Text International. BTI offered them  terms which meant very large cut in income while producing a far greater number of subtitles than before for this new, reduced income. This conflict has now dragged on for more than three months. The Finnish subtitlers and BTI have met for talks but no solution to the conflict seems in sight. Meanwhile Broadcast Text International is advertising world-wide for new subtitlers, in what appears to be an attempt to replace the experienced Finnish subtitlers with new, untrained recruits rather than resolve the conflict.

We support the Finnish subtitlers’ fight to keep subtitling a real profession. We want audiovisual translation to be a viable and appealing career, not an optional or interim part-time job for people who would like to supplement their income. Audiovisual translation is a specialised profession; training to be a subtitler takes a long time and it takes even longer to become a proficient one. For someone to want to choose this as a career,  decent terms and conditions must the rule instead of the exception. The profession needs skilled and committed subtitlers and subtitling companies who are willing to think long-term. The Finnish subtitlers are fighting for the self-respect and status of subtitlers.

We support the struggle of the Finnish subtitlers because they are fighting for the Finnish language. The way media consumption works today, the smaller languages and language groups are under strong pressure from English via American culture. In this situation it is important to support linguistic diversity and ensure advanced and creative use of national and local languages. This is true of all of the smaller languages, not only Finnish. To do a good job, translators need both experience and a good knowledge of their own language as well as the source language. They also need sufficient time to do a proper job and they are entitled to a remuneration which is commensurate with the time spent. The Finnish subtitlers’ struggle is also about nourishing the Finnish language and culture and this struggle is shared by all language professionals in the Nordic countries.

We support the Finnish subtitlers because they are fighting for decent working conditions for freelancers. The number of freelancers is ever-increasing, particularly within the media. As individuals freelancers are vulnerable because they lack the security of regular employment and collective agreements and they don’t have a large corporation backing them up. It is far too easy for the subtitling companies to take advantage of their vulnerable position and pit individual subtitlers against one another. It must be possible to work freelance and concentrate on doing a good job without constant, unreasonable pressure to deliver faster and cheaper.

The Finnish subtitlers are joining ranks even though they are under tremendous pressure and they are fighting for what they believe in. They have earned our respect and admiration and they are setting a great example for all of us. We support their struggle and urge anyone who believes in linguistic and cultural diversity to do the same.

Audio Visual Translators Europe

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