Why Video Translation is Worth It: A Guide to Video Translation

Last Updated June 2, 2021

tłumaczenia i lokalizacja video

More customers could be watching your videos. Here’s how translation can get you there.

If you’re one of the 71% of B2B marketers creating video content, then your audience has likely watched your videos. But what if more customers around the globe were watching your content?

YouTube has become the second largest search engine on the internet, processing over 3 billion searches a month.

Without video translation, even if non-English speakers were to come across your videos, they will probably click away from them once they realize they can’t understand it. Although visual cues in a video can go a long way, viewers are also less likely to share your content if you haven’t translated and localized your content.

Here’s how video localization and translation can improve your chances of your content being relevant for a global audience.

Why video translation is important to your content strategy

By translating your videos, you can boost your reach, increase engagement, and improve the ROI on your content.

1. Boost your Organic Reach

Organic search continues to be the most effective way for audiences to discover your content. In fact, 53% of website traffic comes from organic search.

How does this tie into video? According to a study from Cisco, by 2022, 82% of all internet traffic will be video content. Therefore, to succeed with SEO, video should be a core part of your strategy.

Translation only increases the potential reach of your video content. By adding captions to your videos in multiple languages, you allow search engines to crawl everything that was said in your video—which will increase the chances of the showing up in search results in multiple languages.

Adding transcripts and captions to your videos is a proven strategy for improving search rankings, views, and engagement. By adding an additional layer of video translation for your global target markets, you’re increasing your keyword diversity to help your content rank for a multitude of relevant terms.

With 60% of all video views on YouTube coming from non-English users, imagine the boost you’ll get from adding video transcriptions in multiple languages.

Adding translations to your videos can’t be an afterthought. Video transcripts need to be a part of your strategy from the start as you build the video scripts and the pages they will live on your website. You also have to make sure your on-page SEO elements match the phrasing in your videos so your keywords are consistent. With video translations, working with a professional agency can help you capture the nuances of the local spoken language, helping you improve SEO for voice search. The professionals doing the translations can also help you craft your video strategy to make your content go the distance.

2. Boost Engagement

Research from PLYmedia suggests that adding subtitles to a video increases video viewing time by an average of 40%.

According to the research, “Without subtitles, the videos were watched (on average) 66% to completion, compared with 91% with subtitles. The average improvement in audience viewing was 38%.”

Therefore, subtitles not only enable you to reach a wider audience, they also help improve viewing times and engagement once they’re watching your videos.

3. Improve ROI

Let’s be real: creating quality videos is a costly investment. As with every other marketing activity you do, you have to justify the budget.

While sometimes costly up front, video adds great value because it can be reused across many different channels. Videos can be shared on YouTube, social media, email, and on your website.

That last point is often overlooked. Videos should always have a dedicated landing page or blog on your website, including a full transcript of the video. Not only will this help boost the SEO rankings of your content, it can also lead more customers to your website—boosting sales.

This is especially true if your goal is to reach the Latin American and EMEA markets. These two regions are the two highest video consumers in the world. By translating video for these markets, you won’t only be boosting reach and engagement, you’ll also be using video to boost sales.

Video Translation vs. Video Localization

What’s the difference between video translation and localization?

Video translation focuses on creating subtitles, translated voiceovers, or dubbed audio for your existing content. It also includes translating any on-screen text that’s included in the video. The goal of video translation is to make the same content available in more languages.

Video localization is a larger endeavor that involves tailoring every element of your video to resonate with each local culture it’s intended for around the world. With video localization, you’re not simply translating the content you’ve scripted from one language to another. You’re creating an emotional experience that shows your audience you know who they are, and that you respect their values and opinions.

Video localization is a full multimedia project that includes:

  • transcribing and potentially adapting the video’s narrative
  • translating and adapting the text
  • adapting the text to on-screen character limits
  • recording voiceovers or new soundtracks
  • synchronizing and editing visuals with audio

Whether a video requires translation or full localization will depend on the content of the video. As you’re planning your video content, think about your goals.

If it’s educational content like a step-by-step instructional video, translation alone is likely enough to keep your non-English speaking audience engaged and informed.

However, if you’re creating a brand-heavy marketing video or an ad that needs to strike an emotional cord with your audience, you’ll want to go beyond translation into localization.

Therefore, translation and localization can’t be an afterthought when it comes to video. You need to build them into your strategy so you can get the right shots to use in your videos. The source content has to match the message you want to deliver, which may mean you need to shoot different footage of your product or service in use for different markets.

Check out our infographic, Why Video Localization Is a Global Sales Game Changer, to get the stats that’ll back up your investment in video localization.



3 Publicis Media
5Wyzowl, 2020
7Harvard Business Review

Common Video Translation Challenges (and Solutions)

It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that creating content for a global audience is no easy task. Video translation and localization come with a long list of challenges.

Video content can often stray towards the informal. If you plan on translating or localizing your videos, you’ll want to avoid introducing cultural references or slang that may confuse or offend your audience.

You can remedy this by writing a video script with a simple sentence structure that avoids using jargon and cliches. This will also make it easier for a translator to preserve the intended meaning of your content.

If your video includes people talking on-screen, be mindful of the hand gestures being used in your video


Long, winding sentences are tough to translate. And if they appear on screen, you may run out of screen real estate once they’ve been translated. Long sentences can also cause a disconnect between the timing of the on-screen text and the dubbing track.

Therefore, it’s best not to get too wordy with your content. Keep your sentences short and sweet, and avoid having lengthy dialogues.

Tight Deadlines

Translating video takes time. In the world of social media or digital advertising where video is needed on a regular basis, mistakes can be made if the appropriate time and care isn’t given to translation.

Avoid rushing video translations because of time constraints. This will lead to sloppy work and budget concerns down the line. A few wrong words in the translations can negatively influence your search rankings—or worse—your brand’s reputation.

The most effective way to overcome these challenges is to work with professional translators to help you build trust and efficiency into your process. Translators you trust will become familiar with your brand, know your audience, and help you build effective strategies from the start, which will help you save time and money in the long run.

Video Translation Best Practices

There’s no simple one-size-fits-all checklist, but following these steps will help you create quality translated video content.

1. Work with a Professional Video Translator

The first step of an effective video translation plan is to determine your target languages and hire professional translators. Professional translations can give you feedback at every step of the content creation process to ensure your content doesn’t fall flat within the context of culture differences.

2. Create a Video Translation Strategy

Working with your translation partner, determine:

  • the languages needed
  • the type of video translation needed (e.g. subtitles, voiceover, or dubbing)
  • the method or quality of translation needed (e.g. human or machine translation)

For example, if you’re creating a large number of instructional how-to or customer support videos, automated translation for subtitles may be enough to convey the message to your audience.

Human translators can provide QA after the machine translation to help you save time and money.

3. Create Localization-Friendly Video Content

As you’re planning your video content, think about building a video library for your business with evergreen content that can be used for different audiences.

Of course, you’ll have interviews with founders, case studies, and scripted segments that will be translated, but as you think about localization, you’ll also want different “beauty shots” that can be included as b-roll for any and all languages or cultures.

Here’s where it also adds value to work with video localization professionals. Say you’ll be repurposing a scripted interview for a social media campaign. The translators who are familiar with your brand can help you pick the right b-roll content to edit into your videos based on the language and culture of your audience.

4. Transcribe and Translate your Videos

Now it’s time to create the transcription and audio files needed for every step of the process.

Work with your voice engineers and translators to ensure there’s clear communication between all parties involved in the project. A good project plan will create clear roles and responsibilities to avoid any issues along the way.

Once you have the videos and transcripts in the languages you outlined in the beginning, it’s time to put your localized videos together and put them out into the ether for your audiences to enjoy.

Create a Video Translation Plan Today

Video content is an investment not only for your business but for your audience. They’re investing the time to watch your content, so make sure you make it worth their time.

Effective video localization will not only help you be seen across the globe, but it will make your audience feel heard.

Expand your reach and create lasting, impactful connections with your customers around the globe by translating your videos with purpose.

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