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New and Exciting Business Opportunities with Foreign Language Projects

By Ilse Hemmer and Maya León-Meis

To prepare you, give you insights and open a world of opportunities for you, the recently established Professional Development Committee of the Colorado Film and Video Association (CFVA) is offering a series of seminars on a variety of topics. This new committee is well supported by CFVA's President, Susan Gurule, whose plans for its members are innovative and encouraging. The first seminar offered is: "Making foreign language projects a success."

Why do we need this topic? What's new about foreign language projects? Don't we already do them for international markets overseas?

Yes, of course, however there is a relatively untapped multi-lingual market right here in our own backyard! Our communities are becoming increasingly international. The influx of Latino and Asian people to the U.S. and specifically Colorado is a fact that cannot be ignored any longer. The last census shows it very clearly!

The Latino and Asian people build their own communities and speak their own languages, however they are indeed part of the American marketplace where they consume products and utilize services. They also want information, training and entertainment. These communities are growing in numbers and constitute a major economic force with strong buying power and entrepreneurial spirit.

Companies looking to tap into this enormous potential will have to communicate their messages effectively to this new and expanding target market. That means using foreign languages for ads, videos, multimedia and websites.

For us in the production, advertising, marketing and talent sectors, these imminent changes can add a new, exciting and financially rewarding dimension to our business. We will be able to increase our profits and market share by doing business the right way - in the native language of our target market! We need to understand and address the varied heritages and cultural differences by including representatives of ethnic backgrounds in order for the consumers to identify themselves with promoted products and services. Most importantly, we need to provide the same high level of quality for foreign language productions as we do for English versions.

When tackling such projects, however, we may encounter real challenges! Among these unique problems are translating scripts into languages that expand at least 30% over English; then timing and synchronizing those expanded scripts to fit them into the original English videos. Precision and quality control in a language we do not speak is also a real challenge.

The CFVA's new Professional Development Committee, headed by Maya León-Meis, is organizing a team of presenters to offer you a complete seminar where the challenges of every phase of foreign language projects will be covered, as well as solutions and alternatives.

The presenters of this seminar will be: Maya León-Meis, President and CEO of Voice Productions International; Mark Derryberry, Owner and General Manager of Derryberry Audio, Inc.; Carlos Descalzo, Editor/Director, Videographer and Owner of Elite Video Studios; Rolando Garc'a, Radio Personality and Voice-over talent in Spanish. A few clients will also be invited to share their experiences.

Here is a brief global view of the topics that will be covered:

I. What you will need to know/have for the Pre-Production Phase

- Things to consider when approaching a foreign language project that are completely different from productions in English

- What pitfalls to be aware of and how to overcome them

- What challenges you will encounter and what solutions you have at hand

II. How to prepare for the Production Phase

- What are the differences and similarities to productions in English

- How to work with a bilingual coach/co-director and how to direct foreign language voice-over talent

- How to overcome your lack of foreign language knowledge

- What to avoid and what to try instead

- Sharing personal experiences and lessons learned by different professionals in the production process (a sound engineer, a voice-talent, a client)

III. How to prepare for the Post-Production Phase

- Things to consider during pre-production and production to make your foreign language post-production "painless"

- How to save money, time, energy and headaches

There will also be a Q & A segment, where you can have a chance to get answers and solutions to all the questions and concerns you may have about the intriguing and exciting topic of foreign language projects.

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