Slovaks now have another opportunity to watch movies and series. From June 14, they can subscribe to the new Disney+ streaming service. The newest player is entering a market that has for many years have been occupied by Netflix, HBO Max (until recently HBO Go), Apple TV+, and Amazon Prime Video. When choosing a platform, the content is not the only important aspect, but also subtitles, ideally in Slovak.
For the last ten years, Michal Mojžiš has made a living by translating films and series. He started in a Slovak agency that worked with Netflix. Today he is at his most busy with contracts for Disney+, but he will also get to work on movie blockbusters.
"I made subtitles for Top Gun: Maverick last June, they gave me a month. That was a luxury. I was able to take my time with them, take a closer look at the military aircraft terminology mentioned in the film, and consult it with experts," says Mojžiš in an interview with INDEX magazine.
Before Netflix, many Slovaks downloaded movies and series via torrents and searched for Slovak subtitles on the web. Were you among the volunteers making the subtitles?
Yes, that's how I started with subtitles. I'm a big film and TV series enthusiast and I volunteered to translate subtitles while studying at university in Banská Bystrica. I studied English language and culture, specifically translation and interpreting. For me, creating subtitles was a combination of something pleasant and useful. Upon graduation eight years ago, I got a job in a Slovak agency that supplied Slovak subtitles to Netflix.
But it didn't take long for Netflix to decide that Slovak subtitles were not necessary, and turned to Czech. I lost my income, so I looked for new ways to make a living. I started working with foreign agencies and did everything, including subtitles for movie trailers, Blu-Ray media, and the proofreading of finished subtitles.
Did you ever return to a Slovak agency?
No, because financially it was not worth it. They would pay half of what agencies abroad offered. Currently, I work with only one Slovak company, CinemArt, which provides subtitles to Slovak cinemas and distributes films from studios such as Universal or Paramount.
This is how I got to work on subtitles for the movie Top Gun: Maverick. Movie subtitles have the advantage of being adequately worth the money, and I usually have enough time for translation. Commissions from agencies working with streaming platforms are not paid as well and the pressure is relatively high.
What are the conditions if you want to translate subtitles for an agency?