Multimedia Localization in 5 Easy Steps

Last Updated May 21, 2021

By localizing your multimedia, you can deliver your world-class content to international customers in meaningful and effective ways.

When we access websites, apps and social media, the experience is no longer limited to stale text and static images. Modern processing power and connection speeds have up the possibility to quickly load video, audio, and animations.

This all provides a more immersive and interactive user experience. Multimedia represents some of the most effective content for digital marketing quite simply because it’s more engaging and enticing to users.

To optimize the impact of your multimedia content for a global audience, it must be localized.

Why localize your multimedia content?

Let’s start by looking at why you need to undergo this process to begin with.

1. Improve Your Sales

A 2020 study by CSA Research showed that over 76% of global customers prefer information presented to them in their local language. To reach its full potential, your business needs to speak the language of potential customers in international markets.

That’s where multimedia localization becomes vital.

2. Make an Emotional Impact

As well as enabling the literal understanding of your multimedia content, localization also conveys its emotional impact.

For example, a multimedia marketing campaign designed to conjure up the shared joy of a family Christmas in Europe may be altered for the Chinese market, where Chinese New Year is considered the time of the year for family gatherings.

3. Avoid Cultural Mishaps

It’s easy for multimedia, especially visuals, to unintentionally cause confusion or even cultural offence. The significance of colors, animals, traditions, style of dress—it can all vary dramatically from region to region.

For example, in the US and UK, dogs are considered ‘man’s best friend’—loyal, loved, and a real part of the family. In Islamic countries, however, dogs are perceived as dangerous, dirty animals, and certainly not welcome in the home.  When localizing multimedia content, translating text is just the first step. Every aspect of the content needs careful consideration.

4. Save on Production Costs

The most significant benefit is localization saves you from having to spend on the production of fresh audio-visual content for every target market you’re after.

By localizing your multimedia, you don’t have to re-record videos or translate content into target languages over and over.

You create and edit to your satisfaction, then allow the localization process to do the rest.

Think of it this way. You’ve already invested in production, and localization might only represent an additional 1% of your total budget. It might end up being one of the least expensive items on your checklist, yet localization is often the best option for improving your returns when entering global markets.

A true win-win.

Five Steps to Multimedia Localization

Multimedia localization offers numerous benefits to businesses trying to establish a market across multiple global destinations.

Since multimedia isn’t limited to one content label, there’s a handful of elements you’ll need to be aware of.

The process typically begins with translation, but because we’re dealing with video and audio, there’s an added layer is addressed from the outset. Let’s begin there.

1. Transcription

Before the actual translation begins, all your audio, video, movie, or mixed media source materials are compiled.

The spoken text is then transcribed along with on-screen text/captions and organized in a script form. It is important to have a transcription of all original content, so it can be later translated, edited, and proofread into the target language.

This is typically done manually through transcription services or with the help of advanced automation tools.

2. Translation

The audio transcripts are then reviewed by specialists from the local area to ensure absolute accuracy of language, grammar, idioms, and local references. Any changes are made in preparation for the next stage.

The translated content is then reviewed by local resources to ensure the accuracy of language, grammar, and other local conventions.

3. Localization

The remaining source content is then analyzed for cultural and linguistic nuances that might not align with the intended audience.

This also includes technical issues:

Following this meticulous localization process, the newly created version will appear as native to the target viewers as the original did to the original viewers.

The idea is to make the translation invisible or least identifiable to the audience, so they consume the content as original. Localization goes beyond mere translation and helps in transcreation of content.

4. Voiceover Recording

The localized transcripts are re-recorded as new voiceovers, often with additional editing and overdubbing to ensure production quality is maintained.

The recording is carried out by qualified and experienced technicians using high-end studio equipment. Advanced recording devices and digital systems have made it much easier today to do voiceovers.

But for better results and consistent quality of audio, it is important to use professional setups and high-end equipment, supervised by qualified and experienced technicians.

Also, to make the recording sound locally appropriate and acceptable, it’s essential to have a voiceover talent who can deliver the right local dialect, accent, enunciation, diction, tone, and similar linguistic variables.

Voiceover artists receive training and certification from reputed institutions. The artists are also trained to use a broad range of language devices. It also follows that expert technicians will be on hand to take charge of setting up the desired equipment in a professional manner.

A recording manager oversees the audio production process and trains voice talents to create the perfect voice assets for the translated content.

5. Translation Synchronization

Now that all the individual audio, visual, and textual elements have been localized, they need to be synchronized to deliver the full multifaceted impact of the multimedia experience.

During synchronization, the possibility of a mismatch between any of the various components is eliminated.

Synchronization of text and audio, dubbing, or voice cannot be done by adding two files using regular editing software. There are always chances of mismatch between spoken and written words and the timing needs to be spot on, to avoid any lapses and get a flawless output instead.

Timing needs to be perfect, which is why you should only use advanced professional software tools, such as iSpring Suite, Adobe Captivate, and Articulate Storyline.

Sometimes, an alternative to voiceover translation is used: subtitles.

Subtitles are a quicker, lower-cost method of localization—the downside being the loss of audio.

Also, with subtitles, synchronization is easier to achieve than with voice since textual content can be easily adjusted and edited according to the video .

Take a Multi-skilled Approach to Multimedia Localization

The diverse nature of multimedia localization means that it inevitably incorporates a wide variety of tasks encompassing several areas of expertise.

There is the necessary proficiency with the different forms of media, plus the many technical services—including translation, transcription, audio, and video production—as well as ability to plan such a large and diverse project and engineer the final output into a professional package.

Summa Linguae Technologies are experts in the process of multimedia localization and have developed a five-step process for preparing multimedia content for a global audience.

Our multimedia localization process begins with the end. That is, our first consideration is: what will have the best impact with the target audience? Working backwards from this point, we design our plan of action with this end goal as our ultimate objective.

By bringing all these skills together into a single, dedicated service, Summa Linguae makes it easy for your business to reap the rewards of multimedia localization that works hard in every target market, anywhere in the world.

Contact us today to get started.

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