The Global Dubbing Odyssey of Turkish TV Series

 The Global Dubbing Odyssey of Turkish TV Series

We talked about Turkish TV series with Liliam Hernandez, CEO of Universal Cinergia Dubbing (UCD).

Today, the Turkish television industry enjoys widespread international acclaim, with UCD standing as a key player contributing to this global triumph. Liliam Hernandez, one of the founding partners of UCD, has been actively involved in the crucial process of bringing Turkish dramas to the Latin American market and introducing them to audiences worldwide since 2012.

In our conversation with Hernandez, who played a pivotal role in organising the Turkish Drama Gala as part of the Content Americas programme, we delve into the evolution of the Turkish television industry, the Turkish TV series’ current success and the role UCD has played in this journey. We also take the opportunity to inquire about the intricacies of Hernandez’s company’s work and the lessons they have learned from their experience. This interview opens a window to explore the story behind the surge in global popularity of Turkish TV series, and to gain a closer understanding of UCD’s role in this success.

The rise of Turkish TV series all over the world actually started when they were first noticed, loved and watched in Latin America. With the company you founded in 2012, you have been and still are dubbing Turkish TV series in Spanish. Can you tell us how this process started and progressed?

My partner Gema Lopez and I have been interested in Turkish TV series from very early on and we decided to take a trip to Istanbul and meet the Turkish content producers and introduce our services. We were the first dubbing company to travel to Istanbul in 2012, and that’s how everything started.

In a short time you have become a company with recording studios in five different countries. You do dubbing and subtitling in different languages. Which of the TV series you dubbed were the most watched/broadly aired TV series? Can you list the top 10 series in this regard?

Our company has been in business for 11 years, and we have dubbed several titles in this period, not only Turkish content. We have clients all over the world and we dub a very large number of titles into Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, Castilian, German, Italian and other languages. Among the several titles we have dubbed we can mention in no particular order: Golden Boy, Farah, That Girl, Chrysalis, Hicran, Broken Destiny, A Mother’s Love, Forbidden Fruit, Our Father, Poison Ivy, Woman, among other successful Turkish TV series. Other titles include Bel Air, Outlander, The English, Liar, Sisi, Wynnona Earp, Bolivar, Hotel Portofino, La Brea, El Senor de los Cielos, La Reina del Sur, and so many other titles.

You provide services not only to TV channels but also to other platforms such as HBO Max and Amazon. Has this changed the way you work?

Actually the change was for the better, because our workload increased considerably with all the streaming platforms that are now in the market. Streamers need localised content in several languages and we can provide multi language dubbing solutions, tailored to each Project. We have the capability to handle large projects in multiple languages.

Turkish TV series

Many Turkish actors are now particularly followed by viewers in places like Latin America, where Turkish TV series are widely watched. When choosing an interpreter for certain actors, which factors do you pay attention to? Does the same interpreter voice some Turkish actors in different series?

It really depends on the characters and the story being told. We look for the voice actors that can match the original voice, as well as actors who have experience with the type of content. It may happen that a voice actor will dub a Turkish actor in different series, if that is the artistic director’s decision. However we have a very large portfolio of voice actors, so we are extremely careful when casting the voices to make sure that the voices are all different and match the original voice.

When there are jokes, dialogues, etc. in Turkish TV series that sometimes have a local meaning, do you also take on the responsibility of updating them according to the countries they will be aired in, and localise idioms, jokes or dialogues?

Yes certainly. Accurate translation is essential, as well as adapting dialogues and jokes to the localised language. We may have to change the joke to make sure that the audience will relate to it. It is an integral part of the adaptation process.

Maintaining consistency and continuity in voice casting across different series or projects is essential to avoid viewer confusion and to maintain audience engagement. Some voice actors may specialise in voicing specific Turkish actors or characters across multiple series, contributing to consistency and familiarity for viewers.

Why do you think Turkish TV series are in such high popularity? What are your professional opinions?

The popularity of Turkish TV series has surged globally over the past couple of decades, capturing the attention of audiences far beyond Türkiye’s border. Several factors contribute to their widespread appeal: Production quality, Compelling storylines, Cultural diversity, Talented Actors, Global Themes, Marketing and Promotion. Collectively these elements have contributed to the global appeal and success of Turkish dramas, making them a significant cultural export and entertainment phenomenon.

You are organising the first Turkish Drama Gala at Content Americas in Miami. Could you please tell us how you decided to organise this event. In addition, could you please provide us with the details of the event?

We have been planning this gala for a year, it has been an amazing journey! The event was created to celebrate the Turkish TV series and its success in Latin America and worldwide. We are extremely grateful for the relationships we have forged over the years with all our Turkish clients, and this is an opportunity to express our gratitude for their loyalty, confidence and friendship over the years. There will be a showcase of great content, and a recognition ceremony to the professionals that have contributed to the success of Turkish content. It’s a sit down dinner, preceded by a cocktail hour.

In general, there is a debate about what artificial intelligence can do in jobs such as dubbing and translation. Do you utilise artificial intelligence in your work? What do you think will be the effects of artificial intelligence on the field of dubbing and subtitling in the near future?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be a great tool to maximise productivity and streamline production processes especially in terms of dubbing. We are closely following it and learning about it every day.

The integration of artificial intelligence into the field of dubbing and subtitling holds the potential to transform production processes, enhance quality and accuracy, improve accessibility and inclusivity, and drive cost-effectiveness and scalability. While AI technologies offer promising opportunities for innovation and efficiency, it is essential to consider ethical considerations, cultural sensitivities, and the human element in content localization to ensure authenticity, relevance, and viewer satisfaction. Furthermore, the human element can never be replaced!

I would like you to focus a bit on Worldwide Audiovisual Women’s Association –WAWA, of which you are the founder. You founded this association for women in the industry to have equal opportunities. How and why did you decide to establish such an association?

We decided to create an association for women to collaborate, network, exchange opportunities and experiences in the audiovisual industry. It has been a tremendous success and we are very proud of what we have accomplished since the association was founded. We actively participate in business events, some organised by our group. In a couple of weeks we will have a presence in both NATPE and Content Americas!

What activities is WAWA engaged in, and what are your goals for 2024?

The events for 2024 will be announced soon by the PR team in charge of promotions.

This content was published in the Content Americas Edition of Episode

Oben Budak

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