3 key questions about multimedia localization

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How can a company introduce a product or service to a new target market attractively? How can it provide information about the product or service and its functionality? The answer to respond to these challenges is often video, one of the trendiest and most engaging content formats.

But how can video content be used when you're targeting an international audience? How to build a multilingual video content strategy? Then, the answer is video localization. And fear not if you're new to the topic, we’ve compiled tips from our in-house multimedia localization experts on how to successfully localize videos and other media content.

 

What does effective video localization involve?

The purpose of localizing videos is to reach the intended target group. Successful localization takes the language, culture and other interests of the target group into account.

So, a localized video serves the new target group as effectively as the original video serves its own target group. It conveys the same message about the company and the product to a new audience. 

Effective video localization also includes video SEO, when the video is going to be published online. A successfully localized video is easy to find – after all, its purpose is to serve the public.

Visibility in a new market is reflected in the recognizability of the company, product or service. The better the visibility of the video, the more viewers and, consequently, opportunities the company has to convince prospects about its products or services.

Pro tip: localizing a video has proved to be as effective, cheaper and faster than producing a completely new video for each language.

 

What's the difference between multimedia internationalization and multimedia localization?

Ideally, localization is taken into account before starting multimedia content production.

Internationalization should be considered as early as the script writing phase. In internationalization, the requirements of various cultures and languages are taken into account before the production phase.

 

What are the phases of a typical multimedia localization project?

1. Pre-production and video analysis

When localizing an edited video, the first phase is to analyze the video and collect all needed materials that should be localized, e.g. the speech and sounds, subtitles and captioned texts, as well as visuals, such as images of people, regional/cultural references, etc. 

Carefully planning your video localization project makes the later phases easier.

Determining the target group and key message is vital in planning a video project: Who are the intended recipients of the desired message? How should the message be communicated? When the core idea has been defined, it’s best to make a short synopsis of the content of the video.

After that, you can start working on the script: the more detailed content and events of the video, in addition to the dialog or the narrator’s lines.

The preconditions for localization are easy to adjust at this stage. The location, the content and duration of the narration, the texts visible in the video and the narrator’s presence, among other aspects, can be chosen to support localization.

2. Translating and localizing the texts

The text is compiled in a separate file, so it can easily be translated into a new target language.  If the video includes an interview, for example, an audiovisual translator is needed. They can spot what is essential and what can be left out without compromising the meaning.

The need for localization is often not discovered until the original video has been completed. A long time may pass between completing the video and realizing the need for its localization. Fortunately, localization is possible even if the original unedited video has disappeared into cyberspace. In other words, it’s also possible to localize videos that have already been edited.

3. Producing any voice-overs

Once the translation has been completed, a narrator is needed if the video is being localized by means of narration or dubbing.

To ensure that the message is clear and comprehensible, the narrator should be a native. Native speakers have a natural command of emphases and nuances, which reduces the risk of misinterpretation.

4. Adding the localized material to the video as subtitles, dubbing or speech

Subtitles are the most common way to localize videos, and can be added to the video immediately after its translation.

Subtitles are often also the most cost-effective option: there are fewer intermediate phases, and subtitles are easier to edit. If a need arises to edit the localized text during iteration, it takes less effort to edit text than a voice track. Editing recorded speech usually means re-recording.

Any further editing required for the video is completed when the translated text is being added to the video as subtitles.

Images, animations, music or sound can also be added to reinforce the message. In addition, any elements that the company doesn’t want to be included in the localized video can be removed. These include images or texts that might be regarded as offensive in another culture.

 

Multimedia localization success story: multilingual video strategy in practice

Acolad has lead numerous video localization projects. For example, we helped Swiss Precision Diagnostics deploy a product video strategy in 37 different languages. You can read the full story in our case study or watch their first-person testimonial.


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