Whether you want to scale your business in new markets, adhere to accessibility laws, or improve employee engagement, you may want to localize video content you have created. In this article, we will show you how video is localized, why you may want to do it, and what video localization approach is best depending on your specific business needs. 

Steps to Creating a Localized Video

1. Transcription

To localize a video, we start by transcribing the source video file. In other words, a trained transcriptionist listens to the source, typing the content in written form and adding sound cues as necessary. 

Learn more about our audio transcription service

2. Translation

From there, the transcript can be used for multiple purposes. Suppose you plan to create subtitles or dubbed video (a video with a voiceover in the target language). In that case, we will translate the source-language transcript.

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3. Voiceover Recording

Once the transcript is translated, we will source voiceover artists native in the target language and have them record an audio track. Alternatively, we can provide AI voices based on your preferences and budget. 

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4. Dubbing

Dubbing is a voice recording done by professional voiceover artists with precise timing to ensure lip synchronization of the speakers on screen. Usually, dubbing is required for broadcasting and is particularly important for live-action films and TV shows intended for global distribution. 

5. Subtitling

An alternative method to localize video is using subtitles. Depending on your preferences, we will create subtitles for you, either embedded/burned into the video or with an on/off option. The subtitles must meet specific length requirements and adhere closely to the timing of the original audio.

In either case, there is also a quality assurance step to ensure that the target-language audio track or the subtitles align correctly with the video.

6. Captions

Does your video need to be accessible to viewers with hearing impairments, allowing them to understand the spoken words and other auditory cues present in the video? Our captioners will provide a written version of the dialogues, narration, sound effects, and additional relevant audio information. 

Captioning services are vital for ensuring that video content is inclusive and accessible to all audiences.

Learn more about subtitles and captions

Challenges in Video Localization

Challenges in Video Localization

Context

One of the biggest challenges when you localize video is context. Spoken language contains many cultural cues, and capturing these in a translation – especially with time and space constraints – can be difficult. 

For example, the English version of the Netflix series Squid Game was initially criticized for losing the subtleties of the original Korean. However, as localization experts pointed out, Squid Game’s subtitles aren’t perfect for a reason – subtitles often require a short, direct translation, and there is no time to explain cultural nuances such as formality levels.

Professional subtitlers are familiar with the challenges of capturing information in a short format and will convey the most critical elements.

Preserving Audio Cues

When you localize video via subtitles, the spoken dialogue is only one element of what needs to be translated. Movies, advertisements, and even short how-to videos often contain sound cues conveying emotion or action. These cues need to be included in the target version to help viewers – especially those who are deaf and hard of hearing – understand the full context of the video.

Emotion

When you localize a video with a voiceover, the tone and emotion of the voiceover artists need to match the source. Your language services provider may be able to provide samples of different artists’ work for you so that you can assess who would be the best fit for your localized video.

Industries That Need to Localize Video

Industries That Need to Localize Video

Software and IT companies that market to a global audience should consider localizing videos from their knowledge base or help documents. Offering localized video help is a way to gain an advantage in your marketplace and decrease the number of customers contacting your helpdesk.

Manufacturing companies with a global workforce may look into their training material translation, including localizing training videos. The same applies to companies with a multilingual workforce in one country, such as the U.S. or Canada. Localized videos make it easier for employees to absorb critical safety-related training, which reduces accidents on the job and increases productivity overall.

Health and Wellness companies may also want to localize video content for a broader global audience. For example, a medical device company might want to localize a how-to video so that when they export the device, medical professionals will have access to training in their native language. 

eLearning content also benefits when you localize video elements. Your users will feel more comfortable with localized content, whether employees or end clients. Instead of worrying about whether or not they understand every word of a foreign-language video, they can relax and watch in a more familiar language. This ensures that they retain more information and stay engaged throughout the course.

Non-profit and Public Sector organizations should reflect on whether they need to localize video to meet their audience’s needs. For example, a non-profit in Vancouver that works primarily with Chinese speakers may need to localize their video content to successfully communicate with their audience – and reinforce that they are dedicated to the community.

It is important to note that accessibility legislation may also mandate that public-sector organizations have transcripts of videos and other multimedia content. If you localize video into multiple languages, you must ensure that each adheres to accessibility requirements.

Choosing the Right Localization Option

When you need to localize video content, the first thing to do is review any applicable accessibility laws and your company’s policies. Once you know what requirements you need to meet, you can choose from among the following.

AI-generated Subtitles or Voiceover

If you have a large volume of content to subtitle or need to make a video accessible quickly, AI-generated captions or voiceover may be the fastest, most affordable option. However, AI often struggles with accents, proper nouns, and slang. So, if you localize video using this option, you may lose accuracy while gaining speed and cost savings.

AI has one other potential use: affordable captioning for live events. While you can hire human closed-captioners for live events, the cost may be prohibitive. AI may be a more affordable option for creating captions on the fly.

Subtitles & Captions

Subtitles and captions are increasingly popular in many countries. They benefit many users, from d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers to those who need to consume content at a low volume and those who are learning a language.

Subtitles and captions are typically neither the cheapest nor most expensive option, and when ordering them, remember to plan for the time required for transcription, captioning, and then subtitle QA.

Dubbing & Voiceover

Voiceover and dubbing are both techniques used in media to convey dialogue or narration in a language different from the original. However, they are used in different situations and for different purposes.

Voiceover typically involves adding a narrator’s voice or commentary to a video, often to provide context, explanation, or additional information to the audience. Voiceover is commonly used in documentaries, educational videos, commercials, and certain types of animated content when there is no need to synchronize the voice with the lip movements of the actors on screen.

Dubbing, on the other hand, involves replacing the original language dialogue or audio of a video with a translated version in the target language while attempting to match the lip movements and timing of the original actors.

Both voiceover and dubbing can offer viewers convenience and enhance their immersion by eliminating the need to read subtitles. This can be particularly important for action-packed or visually engaging content where the viewer needs to focus fully on the visuals. 

Well-executed dubbing to localize video can also convey the emotions and nuances of the characters’ voices more effectively than subtitles. Hearing voices in a language the viewer understands can create a stronger emotional connection to the characters and story.

Dubbing is typically the most expensive option to localize video as it requires timed voiceover recording to synchronize with the audio. Dubbing cost includes casting, studio time, script adaptation, timed voice recording by professional voice artists, and post-production editing and QA. If there are multiple characters in the video, the cost goes up. 

Which video localization option is right for you?

The right option for you depends on your target audience, budget, turnaround time, and the type of video content you plan to localize.

As discussed above, AI-based solutions are best suited for situations with a limited budget, a tight turnaround, or both. They may also work for a live video event. However, it is essential to be aware of their shortcomings. Viewers reliant on AI subtitles or voiceovers may miss critical elements of the content if AI fails to capture them correctly.

From an accessibility perspective, true/full verbatim closed captions would be the best option to localize video for d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers in your target language. Subtitles are popular with users who do not know the original video’s language or will be watching without audio.

Many people find dubbing to be the best experience. However, as much as dubbing can make content more appealing to specific markets or demographics, helping content creators tailor their content to a broader range of viewers, it has its downsides as well. Dubbing is both time-consuming and costly. 

When choosing an option to localize video, you should also consider the regional preferences of your target audience. For example, you need to localize video for European viewers. Remember that Europeans are accustomed to high-quality dubbed content, unlike English speakers, who typically prefer subtitled content.

AI dubbing could be an alternative solution if the budget does not allow for traditional video dubbing.

In many cases, allowing viewers to choose between dubbing and subtitles can be the best approach to cater to a diverse audience.

It is also worth noting that a dubbed video can include closed captions in the target language from which d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers benefit.

If your business is looking to localize video content, contact Art One Translations to discuss your needs. We will help you determine the right solution for your audience and project. 

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