When I was a teenager, my mother―a translator―got a job subtitling films for a dubbing company in Argentina that was owned by the parents of one of my classmates. I remember her working at home with VHSs, rewinding them a million times, typing up her subtitles on a green Olivetti typewriter, and then sending the client the pages through a courier.
A decade later, the same company hired me to do admin work. I also freelanced for them, translating scripts for dubbing. I learned so much by sneaking into the recording booth and watching how my scripts were dubbed! One of their clients requested we do closed captions for an American TV network, and I was entrusted with the project. It involved watching several hours of captioned television to figure out what CCs were (we didn’t have them in Argentina, so they were very alien to me) and how to replicate them. I learned how to use the software and trained a team.
The following year, there was an ad in the classifieds section of the only English newspaper in the country, looking for translators with experience in subtitles and captions. I sent my CV, took a test, did a couple of interviews, and was hired by a company that is currently one of the biggest post-production studios in Burbank. There were eight of us in the Buenos Aires offices, and we were trained in captioning and subtitling for three months. My time working there was one of the happiest of my life and I made lifelong friendships. I started getting contacted by prospective clients, so, at some point, it made more sense for me to go freelance, which I did for about five years. The company I left has remained my client ever since. In 2009, my cousin partnered with me, so I went from freelancer to entrepreneur, working with a team of audiovisual translators, whom I trained and QCed.
Two years later, as my maternity leave was finishing, we got a call from the aforementioned Burbank company offering us work on the first project of a new (for Latin America at least) streaming service, Netflix! We had to grow our team threefold in two days, but we delivered a successful initial project of 63 episodes in a month. Since then, our company has grown exponentially, and now we handle thousands of minutes of subtitles and captions per month, and I have recently relocated to the UK to lead our European operations. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!