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Voice actors describe what it’s like to dub Netflix’s ‘Money Heist’ | USA

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Money Heist – known in Spanish as La Casa de Papel – released its final episodes on December 3, and is one of Netflix’s all-time most popular shows. The new releases were the streamer’s most-watched content in the week from November 29 to December 5, with 190 million hours of playback in its first three days of broadcast, according to company data. Beamed into more than 190 countries, Money Heist has generated an unusual amount of interest for a homegrown Spanish production. And in countries like France, Italy and Brazil, viewers still prefer dubbing to subtitles, meaning the Spanish original now has several local accents.

Andrea Lavagnino is the Italian voice of “The Professor.” An admirer of the actor who plays the character, Álvaro Morte, he prepares for his interpretation by analyzing the Spaniard’s face. “A good dubbing actor looks at the eyes, not the mouth,” he tells EL PAÍS from Italy, a few hours after the broadcast of the final episodes of what is known there as La casa di carta. “Contrary to what non-experts may think, we use our own voice, trying to bring in colors, nuances and emotions. When people ask me to do the voice of The Professor, I can only answer: ‘This is it. It’s mine!’ We are not imitators, we are interpreters,” he emphasizes.

For Sébastien Hébrant, the French-speaking Professor, the series gave dubbing actors excellent material to work with from its very first episodes. “It was a pleasant surprise when we discovered it during the studio recording. We were seduced by the subject matter, the production values and the actors’ performances,” he remembers while on a call from Belgium. “My character has a lot of subtleties and that’s very interesting for dubbing work. He is an enigmatic man, he shows fragility and shyness, but at the same time, he is the charismatic leader of the gang, capable of humor and seduction. I had to find that dichotomy in my interpretation and in my voice.”

The official Money Heist YouTube channel, which has 1.74 million subscribers, revealed in April 2020 that one of the actors in the Spanish series had actually dubbed himself in several other languages. Croatian actor Luka Peroš, who plays “Marseille,” grew up in several countries due to his father’s job as a petrochemical engineer. After filming in Spanish, he has voiced his own character in English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese.

A video of Croatian actor Luka Peroš, who plays “Marseille,” speaking in Spanish, English and Portuguese.

Carla Martelli voices the enigmatic “Tokyo” for Brazilian viewers. “She’s a character with a story that you empathize with from the beginning, which always makes the job easier,” says the voice actress. The challenge for Martelli was the dual role of Spanish actress Úrsula Corberó, who also narrates the series. “I preferred to record the narration first, because it has a different tone, rhythm and energy, and then do the action scenes, which require more expression and vocal force,” she explains. She ended up feeling so close to Tokyo that she remembers spending 20 minutes crying over some of the scenes she had to dub. Martelli also speaks Spanish and has provided voiceovers in the language for several other productions.

Money Heist is full of action sequences, but also contains extensive dialogue scenes for the characters. This sometimes jarring shift complicates the work of Money Heist’s voice actors. “You have to make those phrases easy to understand and at the same time seduce the viewer,” comments Hébrant. In France, Belgium and Brazil, the series maintains the original title in Spanish: La Casa de Papel or The House of Paper. In Germany, it is known as Haus des Geldes, or The House of Money.

Adapting to Spanish

For an Italian like Lavagnino, dubbing a Spanish series is fairly easy due to the close roots of the two languages. This similarity forces him to pay special attention to lip-syncing, however. “The more the original words are similar to the Italian, the more you will notice any divergence,” he says. For his Belgian colleague, it’s a pleasure to dub content spoken in Spanish, even if the strong ‘r’ sound is a challenge when lip-syncing the French version. “Spanish is not the easiest language to dub, but it’s certainly much easier than Korean,” Hébrant comments wryly, referring to recent Netflix smash hits like Squid Game, the likes of which have joined his list of new projects.

In Spain, streaming platforms have become a double-edged sword for the dubbing industry, which has no current agreements in place to defend its workers’ rights. These new entrants into the Spanish markets have increased employment opportunities in a country that still heavily skews to dubbing over subtitles. However, the short turnaround times demanded to release the Spanish-language versions simultaneously with the episodes in their country of origin have made working conditions more precarious.

Something similar is happening in other countries, according to the voice artists. “The sector is facing a market that downgrades the eclecticism of the individual in favor of homogeneity,” says Lavagnino, who professes himself a great admirer of the revolutionary spirit of Money Heist. “They’re trying to make our artisanal work something more akin to a factory assembly line,” he laments. Hébrant points out that despite Belgian regulations establishing the payment voice actors must receive, the amount is much lower than in places like France. He received €75 net per episode for voicing The Professor in Money Heist. “Dubbing remains a side job to other projects as actors,” he laments.

Carla Martelli contrasts this with the high esteem voice to which voice actors are held in Brazil – by the public and the industry. “We professionals feel well paid and respected, although everything [in the labor agreement] can be improved,” she says, “and there is always some prejudice against what we do. There are those who think it detracts from the original material.”

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Way too early for housing starts to engender feelgood factor

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Analysis: Strong indicators for construction tempered by affordability, supply chain and targets

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College Park to remain in full use for Trinity sports clubs

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The board of Trinity College has agreed to pursue an alternative site for the building of a temporary exhibition pavilion during the renovation period of its Old Library, saving College Park from what several affected sports clubs said would have proven “hugely detrimental” to their training and competition needs.

Concerns had been raised over the timing and level of consultation with regard to College Park being named the preferred site last November, three of Trinity’s largest and oldest sporting clubs – athletics, football and cricket – already raising considerable objections over the proposal.

A Trinity communications press statement on Wednesday afternoon said that, subject to statutory constraints, “the Board of Trinity has today (Wednesday) approved a proposal to renovate the Printing House building, which would house the Book of Kells during the period of renovation, and also create a temporary exhibition in New Square, at the centre of campus”.

The alternative proposal of the Printing House, coupled with New Square, “follows consultation within the Trinity community”; Trinity students have four representatives on the 27-strong board, three from the Students’ Union (SU), and one from the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU), their president Gisèle Scanlon, and all four had already expressed their dissent at the College Park proposal.

“A process of careful consultation across College has led to today’s agreement on how to proceed with this plan,” said Trinity provost Linda Doyle. “I want to thank those involved for their engagement. We believe this choice of location offers the best possible solution for our staff, students and future visitors to College.”

Trinity’s bursar Eleanor Denny added: “We are extremely grateful to everyone in Trinity who helped us arrive at this crucial decision. This innovative plan allows us to preserve public access to the Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s foremost cultural attractions as well as restoring one of the oldest landmark buildings on campus, the Printing House.”

A Trinity email first sent to affected clubs in October said: “Based on early discussions Trinity has had with Dublin City Council, the location with the best opportunity to secure planning permission is College Park.”

A feasibility study outlining the scale of the project allowed for the continuation of some sport at College Park; however, according to the three clubs, this would have effectively rendered College Park useless as a competition and match facility, while also depriving the wider college community the sort of green space it increasingly craves.

The Old Library renovation is expected to take between three to five years, costing around €120 million, which meant it could have been 2028 before the space was restored. The temporary exhibition project is still subject to planning permission.

“We were very worried about this, for a very long time, and spent a lot of time lobbying against this,” said Scanlon, the GSU president also starting a petition to Save College Park. “All other options weren’t properly considered, and I think there should be lessons learnt on this. And whatever happens with the planning from this point, College Park should not be on the agenda, and should never have been on the agenda.”

Ray O’Malley, president of Dublin University Association Football Club (DUAFC), founded in 1883, also welcomed the outcome of Wednesday’s board meeting: “I think they [the board] misjudged the feelings towards College Park, from the general student base, and the clubs that use it,” he said. “Thankfully they appear to have belatedly realised that, and somewhere down the line the correct decision has been made, perhaps not following in the correct procedure.

“It’s our unique selling point, and the reason why we were fighting so hard for this. Even if it was only on a temporary basis, it’s too important for us. We all recognise the importance and value of the Book of Kells, but sport is a very importance part of college life too, and we’re extremely grateful for the role that people like Gisèle played in this, some of the club members, and that the powers that be accepted somewhere down the line that College Park simply wasn’t the right place for this proposal.”

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Pandemic need for flexibility not reflected in draft laws

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Draft laws on remote working mark an attempt by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to formalise radical work practice changes that were suddenly introduced when Covid-19 struck two years ago.

Back then, the force of the pandemic was such that procedural and legal niceties were swept aside in the rush to protect public health and keep the economy turning. Many tricky questions were avoided at that time but they can be avoided no longer now that most restrictions have been lifted.

“We’ve worked through for two years basically turning a blind eye to the whole thing but that will stop,” said Richard Grogan, an employment law solicitor in Dublin.

“We’ve been working through an emergency which is slightly different. The emergency is now finishing.”

The new regime is supposed to open more choice for workers if they wish to work from home, giving them a right to seek such arrangements after six months. But in-built flexibilities for employers open scope for them to refuse permission to work remotely on 13 grounds.

Conflict appears inevitable. With key details still to be worked out, legal experts, employers and unions foresee many potential pitfalls and practical challenges when it comes to implementing the new arrangements in real time.

Many say the pandemic changed the world of work forever. A recent Central Statistics Office survey suggests that 80 per cent of workers worked remotely at some point since coronavirus struck, compared with 23 per cent before it. Two years later, with all signs suggesting the most acute phase of the health crisis has passed, these practices have bedded down to an extent that few might have expected at the outset.

Traffic and transport

Of those in employment who can work remotely, CSO data suggests 88 per cent want to continue after restrictions were removed: 28 per cent of them all the time; and 60 per cent some of the time. The proportion expressing that preference was highest at 93 per cent among respondents in counties Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow in the Dublin commuter belt, where workers often encounter long traffic delays and overcrowded public transport.

If all of that points to high demand to avail of new laws, considerable hurdles remain to be overcome. To name but a few, these centre on domestic health and safety legislation, insurance issues, European data-protection law and on the Workplace Relations Commission’s new role in determining appeals to decisions against remote working.

“A lot of the issues that are going to go to the WRC where there isn’t agreement will relate to things like health and safety of a premises or [General Data Protection Regulation] compliance or whether somebody can actually do their work remotely. The [WRC] adjudication officers aren’t trained in any of those areas,” said Grogan.

“They are not there to look at a work station and say: ‘Does it comply with health and safety? Is it possible to put a work station into this bedroom safely?’ So that’s a huge issue.”

Asked whether the WRC had enough resources, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment said it would “work closely” with the institution to ensure it did. “Adjudication officers will receive appropriate information on the content of the legislation and the WRC was consulted on the heads of the Bill,” the department said.

Grogan suggested the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act might have to be “dumbed down” for remote work. “The only change you could bring in is if you’re working from home and you have an accident it’s your problem.”

Employer ‘nervousness’

He added that changes might also be required to the Civil Liability Act, which governs personal injuries. “There’s going to be a bit of nervousness overall about this,” he said, referring to employers.

But while the Government always has the option of amending Irish law, it can’t do anything on its own with European GDPR rules that impose stringent restrictions on how business uses sensitive personal data.

Neil McDonnell, chief executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises business representative group, pointed to potential difficulties with remote-working where staff deal with such data. These include companies in the area of external payroll support – dealing with gross and net pay and issues like payments under maintenance agreements – and human resources support.

“There’s a few business that have been able to function remotely but reluctantly and with a lot of concern around what they’re doing,” McDonnell said.

“They basically have the innards of the company sitting on laptops. You could have someone doing HR support on their laptop in the kitchen – a bullying complaint, a harassment complaint or something of a sexual nature – and you have people who are third parties with no involvement in the companies walking past looking at that stuff.”

Employers were also concerned about the potential for claims for personal injury while working at home, McDonnell added. “We’re waiting to see something coming to court, or the Personal Injuries Assessment Board or the Health and Safety Authority.”

The plan has also come in for criticism from Fórsa, the largest public sector union, which said the “business grounds” for refusing remote working were too broad.

The union said the inclusion of grounds such as “potential negative impact on quality”, “potential negative impact on performance” and “planned structural change” would create loopholes that could allow employers turn down requests for no objective or proven reason.

“Employers must not have the option of simply turning down requests on spurious or vague grounds. Instead, they must be required to demonstrate, in a concrete way, that remote or blended arrangements are unworkable before they can turn down a request,” said Kevin Callinan, Fórsa general secretary.

Further questions are certain to arise as the law works its way through the Dáil and Seanad. The pandemic was all about ad hoc moves. Permanent arrangements are another matter entirely.

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