There is one trend in content creation that’s impossible to ignore: the meteoric rise of multimedia and video, (and I'm not just talking about crazy cat videos on YouTube). According to ReelSEO’s 2013 Online Video Marketing Survey, 82 percent of marketers confirmed that video marketing had a positive impact on their business. Why the sudden rise of popularity? Outside of SEO reasons, video has a unique ability to tell and share stories—and that’s true in any language. If you’re considering taking your video success global, there’s a lot to think about. Elements that require adaptation for target regions include subtitles, dubbing, audio tracks and video itself. So, today, I wanted to share some useful tips for this area of localization so you know what to expect if you’re heading down this path.
Freeze Frame: Tips For Video Localization
With video localization, there are several routes you can take. The one you choose will depend on your particular requirements. For example, internal videos are generally not as critically important in the same way that customer-facing videos may be.
Carefully considering your audience may allow you to cut back and save some time and budget. For instance, if you have a video of a person speaking into the camera, have you thought about how you would like it to be localized?
1. One option is “UN style,” which is when the speech volume of that person featured in your video is turned down, and the voice actor speaking in the target language cuts over that at a higher volume.
2. Or you could choose to cut out the sound and have the voice actor match up with the speaker’s lips and mouth movements. As you might imagine, this entails more precision, time and cost.
3. It might be easier simply to re-record your marketing video with a voice actor who’s native to your target country. If you’re not sure which route to choose, any language service provider can guide you with this decision.
4. Lastly, consider whether or not you want to have subtitles at the bottom of the video or not. Simple subtitles in place of audio dubbing can be an option in cases where only minimal localization is needed.
If you’re working with a language service provider for video localization, it helps if you’re able to tell them whether or not your video features a speaker, a series of screen shots with a voice-over narration or a combination of these. The audio aspects of such a video will require more process time as opposed to only localizing screen shots, since they’ll need to schedule voice talent in advance to make the recording.
Turn Up The Volume: Tips On Audio Localization
If your original audio file is three minutes and 41 seconds long, the localized version may be longer or shorter depending on the target language. The reason for this is simple: the time it takes to utter a sentence in one language will likely differ in another.
For any lower-stakes audio localization projects that might only be used internally, you could consider mechanical voice prompts. Today’s robotic voice commands have come a long way from stilted and awkward-sounding automated answering machine voice. Much like iPhone’s Siri, it’s possible now to mechanically discern rising inflections and pauses in sentences—so that sentences are almost spoken naturally.
Keep in mind that there’s usually an initial setup cost for this, so this could make sense if you have, say, tens of thousands of script lines.
Get The Big Picture: Broad Advice
1. Localization sails along a lot more smoothly if you send original editable files. So, in addition to the .MP4 files, a language service provider will likely need the original files that the video was built-in as well.
2. It’s also helpful if you know what you want upfront. Do you need closed captions embedded at the bottom of the video screen—or will it be integrated into the web’s video player with the capability to turn closed captions on or off? Will your narrator’s voice be dubbed, or will there be subtitles? Knowing your preferences at the start helps you plan ahead so resources can be aligned and timelines can be easily met.
3. Find out from your webmaster what kind of video player you have, how it exports the captions and what the preferred file format is. This speeds up the localization process.
4. Take measures to ensure your audio script is in its final, approved stage. Going back into the studio because of just one mistake means re-recording—and of course, lost time and extra cost.
While not exhaustive, these pointers hopefully help paint a picture of what you need to know before going into video and audio localization for your global marketing campaigns and initiatives. Still wondering about an aspect? Have you been down this path before? Let me know in the comments below!