When Netflix launched globally just five years ago, only three languages were supported: English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Since then, their efforts have increased drastically, and the service now supports more than 20 different languages.
And as they continue to grow, they’re going to be looking for a little help. In a statement this week, Netflix revealed HERMES, the first subtitling and translation test and indexing system rolled out by a major content creator. What is HERMES? It’s a system to help Netflix find the highest quality people to improve their subtitling service.
The test is highly scalable, and has thousands of randomized combinations, meaning no two tests will be the same. The test consists of multiple choice questions designed to test the candidate’s ability to understand English, translate idiomatic phrases into a target language, identify both linguistic and technical errors, and subtitle proficiently.
“Our desire to delight members in their language, while staying true to creative intent and being mindful of cultural nuances is important to ensure quality. It’s also fueling a need to rapidly add great talent who can help provide top-notch translations for our global members across all of these languages.”
Right now, Netflix uses third party services to localize their content. But that method “often lacks the precision needed to drive constant improvement and innovation in the media translation space,” Netflix said, because “each of these vendors recruit, qualify and measure their subcontractors (translators) differently.” Netflix admitted that it was virtual impossible to have a set standard by which their translators were judged.
In the two weeks since HERMES launched, Netflix has received thousands of candidates from across the globe. The test, which covers all represented languages, is especially important to Netflix right now they say, because they are “quickly approaching an inflection point where English won’t be the primary viewing experience on Netflix.” And HERMES allows them to better vet the individuals doing this very important work of subtitling.
If you’re a professional subtitler interested in taking the test, you can do that here.