Lights, camera, action — video localization done right

65 years of content is uploaded to YouTube every day. Last year, people spent 35% more time watching videos on Facebook — the same social media platform that has introduced advertisements into user-uploaded videos. Facebook’s move was widely criticized by users, while publishers, on the other hand, started to invest more in video ads. The results of this move can already be seen – there was a 23% growth in money spent on video advertising last year. What it means is that video’s immense importance will only grow — in online learning, marketing and public communication in general.

Video consists of tons of multilayered graphic files, soundtracks, screenshots, 3D animations, voice-over tracks and onscreen text. If you aim at international markets, all these elements require translation and localization before your audience presses play.

What can go wrong if you don’t localize your video properly?


Let’s start with bad translation. Of course it would show your brand in a bad light if your audience noticed mistakes or not translated bits in the onscreen text. What’s equally important is that a literally wrong message may contradict what’s shown in the video.  It would make the viewers confused and ruin your brand image.

Without localization some of the nuances would be lost. Sometimes what seems not particularly  important may make all the difference. The genre of the video, the tone of the narrative or culture references are critical to the perception of your message. If your narrative is full of jokes or sarcasm, it’s crucial to have it preserved. Video localization is also a way to show your audience that you respect their values and opinions by communicating with them in their native language. That’s why your video will be much more successful when fully localized.

Video localization is a multimedia project. It means that you need not only language professionals but also an editing team. Unsynchronized subtitles, bad cuts in the video or badly edited voice over may ruin the viewer’s experience, and hence ruin the chance for you to gain conversions.

Look at a wider picture – video localization process


The whole process of video localization includes elements like transcription of the narrative, text translation and localization, adapting the text to characters’ limit, voice-over, recording new sound tracks, synchronizing and editing the visual parts.

It’s advisable to think beforehand and make the source content prepared for localization – even if it means taking separate shots of your product or service in use for different markets. If you haven’t done this — find a translation agency that works with localization specialists, voice-over artists and has access to other resources.

A native voice-over artist, perfectly translated and synchronized subtitles and proper editing are the elements that would be most likely pointed out as the most important ones for the video localization process. And, of course, your translation and localization team is crucial for such projects, but let’s not forget about those often underrated.


Project management that makes all the difference

Project managers oversee the whole process of video localization. They pay attention to details and see things that are often overlooked by translators or clients themselves.

Smooth project management is crucial for video localization for many reasons. First of all, as we have already said, it’s a multimedia project. There are multiple teams involved in the workflow: translators, editors, DTP, quality control staff and others. The project manager’s job is to draw a roadmap and lead it.

Second of all, timing is everything when it comes to video localization and we don’t only mean synchronizing the soundtracks or subtitles. Harmonizing the performance of multiple teams is the project manager’s job and without it every localization project is doomed to fail. Some of the work can’t be done until another part is completed, while some tasks can be done simultaneously. Then all these elements have to be put together, which is a painstaking job which is, however,  crucial for the project’s success.

Quality control taking charge


What seems like a small, unimportant detail to some may influence the overall viewer’s experience. Quality control is necessary to avoid such mistakes. A small untranslated bit of onscreen text, an unsynchronized piece of text string or a tone of the voice-over narrative changed in the course of recording can really stand out.

Here’s when quality control takes charge. The team needs to check the material for its consistency, accuracy and any mishaps that might be  done in the translation.

We think with images, not words


Marketing, e-learning, e-commerce and many more industries are now benefiting from having implemented video in their business activities. Whether your goal is to get more conversions from your ad or better results from your e-learning course, you can be sure that video will play a leading role in achieving that. Gerald Zaltman, amarketing specialist, says that we think with images, not with words anymore. That’s yet another, final argument why you should use video localization to boost your global visibility.


What about video games? Read about video games localization here.

Related Posts

Summa Linguae uses cookies to allow us to better understand how the site is used. By continuing to use this site, you consent to this policy.

Learn More