How do my cable people do this?

I just got cable. A couple of my TV stations are obviously originating in other countries, but the content is either dubbed or subtitled into Bulgarian. For instance, I have the National Geographic Channel. All of the actual content is in English, but the channel itself is clearly coming out of Romania. The commercials are in Romanian, the “Next, on the National Geographic Channel…” segue stuff is in Romanian, and the website address that flashes on the screen occasionally, ends with .ro. However, the shows are all subtitled in Bulgarian. I have another station that seems to be coming out of Hungary, too, and it’s the same thing: the commercials are in Hungarian, but the actual content is subtitled or dubbed into Bulgarian.

How is this possible? And if they can substitute Romanian or Hungarian subtitles for Bulgarian, why can’t they put in Bulgarian commercials and segue filler?

The original English-language channel is received off air in Romania using a satellite dish, fed to an editing suite where the Romanian commercials and continuity announcements are edited in, then retransmitted. Your Bulgarian cable company picks this up, feeds it to another editing suite where the audio content is replaced with Bulgarian, then fed down the cable to you. This is all quite routine stuff in the world of TV.

As for why they don’t add Bulgarian commercials and continuity to start with - that would cost your cable company more money.

Ah, thank you! This isn’t exactly life and death stuff, but it was bugging me, and I have no idea how TV works (other than that I know there aren’t really little people inside my set).

To be clear, this isn’t happening in real time, right AABE? The dubbing/subtitling takes days or weeks.

That’s what you think.