The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards brought together some of TV’s biggest stars in Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theatre to celebrate the best in television, recognising both individual achievements and excellence in TV programming. Hosted by Saturday Night Live comedian Kenan Thompson, the winners were unveiled across 25 competitive categories, including outstanding comedy, drama and limited series, as well as best lead and supporting performances, best directing, and best writing in various genres, to name only a few. The three-hour telecast was packed with memorable moments, and Warner Bros. Discovery partnered with VSI Berlin to bring them to German audiences.
When it comes to awards shows, the linguistic challenges can be substantial and unknown. We cannot predict the actions of those being awarded and our subtitlers are often faced with unscripted and unexpected situations, be it ad hoc speeches, puns, quotes, different accents and languages, or even bursting into song. But that’s all part of the challenge and what makes it fun. And we have years of experience to draw on.
Delivered in batches by Warner Bros. Discovery during the live show, the team worked from 2am to 4pm to deliver the subtitles for this three-hour award show, to be aired in Germany later that day.
Our tech team managed the download and standards conversion, creating working clips for the subtitlers parallel to the live show. Given the tight turnaround for the project, all technical tasks were addressed in-house. We had a total of 17 subtitlers working across the individual segments, timing and translating from scratch. They were overseen by our experienced project management team, who were accountable for ensuring nothing was overlooked, given the simultaneous approach and ad-hoc scheduling that this project involved.
As the linguists’ work progressed, our video editing specialists merged the final broadcast clips, which originally contained American ad breaks, to consolidate the content received from Warner Bros. Discovery into one final broadcast file.
To ensure consistency throughout the German version, the linguistic team relied on the glossaries that we had created beforehand, and continued to update them throughout the show, paying close attention to any references made in the acceptance speeches that pertained to specific names or brands.
When working on content in parallel, a centralised approach to QC becomes even more critical. That stage of the process was managed by our senior subtitlers, who guaranteed consistency in timing, terminology and translation. We subtitled a total of 133 minutes of live content, including a full internal editorial and technical QC, and a review by Warner Bros. Discovery within a 14-hour window.