Foreign Language Productions, Have They Become More Mainstream?

In the English speaking world, foreign language films have traditionally been restricted to the realm of film buffs. However, with the runaway French hit Amour – a co-production between leading French, German and Austrian companies – receiving the Oscar for best foreign language film, could we finally be witnessing the golden age of subtitled films?

Three years ago, film website Screen Rant ran an excellent article on the “sad, sad truth that most English-speaking movie-goers will not watch foreign (and therefore subtitled) movies”. Fast-forward today, however, and improvements to projection technology have now given cinema programmers more flexibility to show a variety of films to their audiences, as they are no longer forced to show a particular screening for a week or longer. This has helped in giving foreign language movies greater exposure to English-speaking audiences.

This is further aided by advances in translation software coupled with studios working with experienced translation service providers helping to ensure that foreign language productions can be quickly distributed at a high standard.

The growing admiration for Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012) and other foreign language films has merely helped to whet the appetites of audiences around the world. This has been demonstrated by the recent success of multiple multi-lingual television programs such as the recent spate of Scandinavian thrillers by Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. Similarly to film studios, television broadcasters have been working with established translation agencies to release subtitled versions of productions soon after they are released in their native tongues.

As translation agencies become more experienced working with this medium and audiences demand more foreign language features, we expect to see more success for international films on the gold and silver screen.

At Today Translations, we work in producing subtitles for all forms of visual media, be it for films, television programs or documentaries. If you would like to discuss your subtitling needs, as well as any other translation services you may have, please contact us at +44 (0) 207 397 2770 or email us at [email protected].

Image courtesy of Film Forum