Watch This: Quick Guide to Media Localization

Last Updated September 14, 2023

media localization

Media localization allows your content to be unburdened by linguistic and cultural barriers.

Let’s begin by saying thank you for taking the time to read this post. Fewer people are consuming written articles, rather they are getting their information in video form.

According to Gala Global, video content accounts for 90% of internet traffic, and videos are the #1 source of information for 66% of people.

Additionally, people are watching, on average, 17 hours of online videos per week in 2023, per HubSpot. 75% of viewers watch short-form video content on their mobile devices, and people are 52% more likely to share video content than any other type of content.

Now, there are roughly 1.5 billion people worldwide who speak English either natively or as a second language. You have a nice sized base to reach with English media content, but that amounts to less than 20 percent of the world’s total population, and completely misses the 1.1 billion people who speak Mandarin Chinese.

By now, the wheels must be turning. If you’re in the video content business, you can’t afford not to invest in media localization.

What is media localization?

Media localization is the process of adapting various forms of media content to the cultural, linguistic, and regional preferences of target audiences in different regions or countries.

That includes YouTube videos and ads, as well as movies, TV shows, and video games, and can even extend to your company’s eLearning modules.

Media localization is essential for achieving global reach and maximizing the impact of media content. It renders the content more relatable and accessible to diverse audiences worldwide.

It not only enhances the viewer’s experience but also helps content creators tap into new markets and demographics. The result is an increase in the content’s commercial potential and cultural relevance on a global scale.

What’s the process?

This involves more than just translating the content; it includes modifying or replacing elements to make sure the content resonates with the local audience.

Examples include:

  • Dubbing – Replace the original spoken language of a video or audio content with a translated version in a different language.
  • Subtitles / Captions – Superimpose text onto the video.
    • Closed captions allow hard-of-hearing people to experience all aspects of the video. They therefore include background sounds and speaker indicators.
    • Subtitles assume the viewer hears the audio and as a result do not contain the background sounds or notifications for speaker changes.
  • Voiceovers – Record a voice, typically a narrator or actor, to provide commentary, narration, or spoken content.

The localization process begins with thorough research into the target market, including its language, culture, social norms, and legal requirements.

Linguistic experts work on adapting the script, subtitles, and voiceovers while considering linguistic nuances and popular expressions.

Additionally, graphic designers may alter visuals and branding elements to align with local sensibilities.

Finally, quality control and testing are critical to ensure that the localized media content maintains its original essence while effectively engaging the target audience.

Ultimately, media localization is a strategic investment that fosters cross-cultural communication and paves the way for the successful distribution and reception of content in an increasingly globalized media landscape.

Why Media Localization Requires Human Touchpoints

Let’s consider subtitles and closed captioning for a moment.

You can attempt to trust automatic speech recognition (ASR) for your localization, but inaccurate text comes at a cost.

Closed caption quality matters because closed captions are a corresponding alternative to video for individuals who are hard of hearing or aren’t native speakers. When closed captions are inaccurate, they are inaccessible.

The industry standard for closed caption accuracy is 99% accuracy rate. Accuracy measures punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

A 2021 study showed that even a 95% accuracy rate is sometimes insufficient in accurately conveying a message.

So, for a typical sentence length of 8 words, a 95%-word accuracy rate means there will be an error, on average, every 2.5 sentences.

But most ASR technologies have an accuracy rate of 80%.

ASR developers therefore still use human transcribers to improve the 20% of cases where automated transcription is failing.

This is especially important in captioning because you need to capture not only the speech, but also who’s speaking and other noises – music playing, bells ringing, and laughter, for example.

Other Benefits of Subtitle and Caption Localization

  • SEO and Discoverability: Subtitles and captions can improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of video content. Localized subtitles provide additional textual content that search engines can index, making the content more discoverable to users searching for specific keywords in various languages.
  • User Engagement: Captions and subtitles can increase viewer engagement. They allow viewers to follow along more closely, even in noisy environments, and can be helpful for individuals learning a new language or seeking a deeper understanding of the content.
  • Brand Reputation: Localization demonstrates a commitment to respecting and valuing different cultures and languages. This can enhance a brand’s reputation and foster goodwill among viewers, potentially leading to increased brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

Media localization is therefore a valuable practice for content creators and distributors looking to broaden their audience, improve accessibility, and ensure their content is culturally sensitive and compliant with regulations.

It’s an essential part of making content more inclusive, engaging, and globally relevant

Scale your Marketing Program Globally with Media Localization

If you’re only marketing in English, you’re missing out on 80% of the population.

A content localization program can help you quickly scale up your existing marketing programs to reach other popular languages like Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, and more.

Our media translation and localization services cover:

  • Multimedia, audio, and video
  • Voiceover and dubbing
  • Transcription
  • Social media, newsletters, and press releases
  • Commercials and ads
  • Magazines
  • Presentations
  • TV and radio reports
  • Documentaries and interviews

Contact us today to learn how our localization solutions can boost your conversion rates on the global market.

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