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Meet Yelena Makarczyk of CMI Media Management

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yelena Makarczyk.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Yelena. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My childhood gave me many perspectives. I am a captain’s daughter, an admiral’s niece, a Ukrainian farmer’s granddaughter, and a descendant of the aristocratic St. Petersburg/Moscow elite. My trajectory has ranged from the Soviet industrial Krivoy Rog to the cultural St. Petersburg, from the wonders of Kamchatka to solemn Moscow and sensual Crimea, with plenty of visits along the way to the well-known crevices of the deep Slavic soul. Being around my Captain father and his sailor friends provided me with a deep respect for different situations and cultures.

Being from the Soviet Union never stopped me from taking risks. It allowed me to develop a strategic and creative approach to live a life free from oppression. It’s how I began to watch American films. I viewed these “forbidden” films in rat-infested basements on antiquated VCRs. The audience members were few, but I never missed a screening. Some films were poorly dubbed, and many were in original formats. So, I learned to let my imagination do the translating for me. Thanks to my aristocratic aunt, who spoke eight languages and made me memorize a page of the Latin dictionary before taking the dog for a walk, I was able to understand those films. This fueled my passion for linguistics and audio-visuals. So, it’s no surprise that this all led me to become a filmmaker and a localization expert, versed in the nuances and textures of language flavors.

I came to the United States on my own at the age of 15. I graduated with honors from UCLA at the age of 20 with a degree in English & World Literature, Documentary Film & Linguistic Studies. My behind-camera participation in the Emmy-winning documentary series “Russia, Land of the Tsars” got me interested in the post-production industry. I became the Creative Director at Gelula/SDI and later launched VITAC’s international operations where I managed multi-national language teams for over a decade. I was able to set the industry standard in the field. I came to CMI in 2015 as Director of Localization Services.

In my localization work at CMI, I honor the integrity of each language through a unique approach to each and every project. The journey is personal for me. As such, filmmakers and corporate clients entrust their ventures, knowing that I will put in as much heart and mind to the localization as they have in the original work.

Has it been a smooth road?
As many business owners know, the road is not always paved smoothly. It can be bumpy, with roadblocks and detours.

At CMI, our road has been well-traveled and has presented us with creative challenges and time-sensitive deadlines. For example, when a client calls with 10 hours of footage to be translated from Japanese, Flemish, Dari, Cantonese, Russian, and German overnight, we have to put the “pedal to the metal” so to speak.

One specific challenge we recently faced was when we had to translate a specific Chechen dialect within a few hours – and our expert Chechen linguists had confirmed that only very few people from a specific region would even know the words in question. CMI successfully enlisted the help of our Chechen linguists and professors worldwide and found the correct interpretation — just in time for delivery to our client.

Our challenges often stem from the multi-language requirements of projects and the diverse nature of the research required. We may be translating a document about gadgets in the agriculture industry, while also performing research on wine-making fermenting mechanisms. At the same time, we may be deep in research over war maps, current to the situations in Syria or Ukraine. These are creative struggles, and CMI’s strength is in solving each puzzle quickly and efficiently.

The obstacles lie within the turnaround times. As we all know, our world has become so fast-paced that we don’t have the luxury of time. Often our turnarounds are just a few hours. At best, we may have overnight and if something is going live, we must provide localization asap. With current events updating by the minute, localization is essential for the news and information to stay in real time. CMI solves the obstacles of extremely tight turnarounds by utilizing teams consisting of dozens of experts, working in unison to weave the web of localizing content – no matter what the deadline is. Our reaction time is stellar. The international units are on stand-by 24/7. We utilize multiple linguists in multiple countries, and we take advantage of the time zones to make it all successfully happen.

Another challenge is the budgetary restrictions that often come into play at the outset of a project. My goal is to convince the doubtful that the language aspect of post-production, when done well, guarantees worldwide success. The fear that a film won’t do well in a certain territory may stem from the fact that poor-quality subtitling or dubs have hurt films in the past. We want to break the old-fashioned stereotypes and connect the best-quality talent worldwide into the dynamic pipeline of the global marketplace.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
CMI is a post-production and localization company, versed in all formats of digital delivery, state-of-the-art current specs on all things media. With over 50 years’ experience, we are experts in audio-visual localization, subtitling, transcription, translation, and dubbing in any language as well as closed-captioning. CMI is a one-stop shop. Need a translation in Inuit? No problem. Flemish? You came to the right place. English, Spanish, French, Italian, German? Done!

Our clients come from a vast array of industries such as: in-flight entertainment, corporate, education, marketing, streaming, broadcast, digital, offline, theatrical, home entertainment, pay-per-view. We’re the experts in connecting the dots between the producers of content and the final audience. We enhance the message, multiply the avenues of potential viewership through adding language streams, subtitles, dubs, metadata options, just to name a few.

We help our clients prepare their film for a festival and then take it through all the deliverables and proper markets – even on the road to the Academy Awards.

We take extreme pride in our unique approach to quality. It’s simply second-to-none, and it’s a legacy stemming from our deep knowledge of all the formats that have gone before us and all the experts who have taught us the “mise-en-scene” texture behind-the-scenes. We take pride in our vision to enhance a project, to give it a voice and bring it to international markets, making our clients’ media just as important on far shores abroad as was intended for the original market.

At CMI, we do not underestimate opportunity. We help our clients ride the wave of many global opportunities. We tell our clients to not overlook the possibility that a film may be well-received in a country few have heard of. CMI then makes it happen.

What sets CMI apart from others is our passionate, academic expertise of the colloquial versus the literal and the technical versus the creative. We are great at assessing what formula is right for a project. We hire the best writers and linguists in the business, editors with creative passion, whose measurements of success are in words. The result is the highest-quality finished product, with an affordable price tag. Ultimately, our clients can feel good in showing off a state-of-the-art quality product worldwide.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
LA is the heart of the film and entertainment industry so it is a perfect place for businesses like CMI.

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