Your genius marketing video needs audiovisual translation for global success


The digital marketing landscape is always changing to keep up with consumer expectations. It is an evolving world centered around who, what, where, when, why and how your audience wants to receive your value proposition. So, the million-dollar question: how does your audience want to be reached? Our answer – video! 

In this day and age, video is the fastest growing communication method and 87 percent of the digital market uses video content to align with customer demand (GALA). Therefore, your audience would probably prefer video marketing over other tactics. Don’t fall behind the curve – give your audience what they are craving! But once you’ve developed genius marketing videos, how will you adapt them to the differing cultural expectations of international buyers?

Don’t fret, we are here to help you reach your global target audiences with high-quality, culturally adapted video marketing!

High-quality audiovisual translation is essential

Regardless of the marketing activities you leverage, quality should always be of utmost concern, and video is no exception. Video is a trending marketing tactic and your customers expect to see professional, high-quality videos. Create impactful, exciting scripts to captivate your audience and hold viewers’ attention. Use high-quality equipment and professionals to produce a video that will make your audience feel awestruck. Poorly written, boring scripts or badly executed videos can immediately turn off potential consumers and cause them to associate poor quality with your brand.

Cultural adaptation 

OK, you have created a professional, high-quality video with a catchy script for your audience – great! You cover a wide range of distribution channels by posting the video on social media, using it in a TV spot, running it as an ad on YouTube and leveraging the script for a radio ad. But, the only audience that will understand or appreciate your creative-genius are those who are fluent in your source language, thus alienating your global audience. Now you need masters of audiovisual translation to dissect your video and make it suitable for your international audiences.

Your first thought: “Just translate the script.” But culturally adapting a video involves much more. You need to go beyond translation and truly localize the video to align with your target audiences’ cultural norms, expectations and preferences. Do not skip the cultural assessment and localization of your multimedia content. Effective cultural adaptation is vital for brand protection and message accuracy. We want your video marketing to be a worldwide success; however, your messaging, value proposition and branding elements can all be misconstrued if not properly localized.

The truth about subtitles and voice-overs

High-quality video – check! Translation and localization – check! Subtitles or voice-over? Oh my, there’s more. The chart below provides a high-level breakdown of both to help you understand the difference and select the one that is best for your video.

How to choose the best audiovisual localization approach for your marketing video


Subtitles? The distracting words on the bottom of the movie screen? Wrong. A common misconception about subtitles is they are only used for those who are hearing-impaired, but this is not the case. Captions are used to help hearing-impaired audiences experience the sounds in a movie, including spoken words.

Subtitles, on the other hand, are used to translate a video so audiences can understand it in different languages. So, when communicating with your localization partner, be sure you are using the proper terminology to relay your needs for your audiovisual localization. For translating and localizing a video, you need subtitles.

A great perk of using subtitles in marketing videos is the ability to boost Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results. Deciding to incorporate subtitles in your video will result in higher search rankings on Google and YouTube, thus increasing views and traffic – marketing metric success! Another reason to use subtitles for your audiovisual localization is to increase accessibility. The vast majority (85 percent) of Facebook videos are watched without sound, meaning a video with localized subtitles would be fitting for a global Facebook audience (GALA).

There are many benefits of choosing to use subtitles; a weakness of only using subtitles is the inability to convey strong emotion, which brings us to your next audiovisual option – voice-over.


Voice-over is a technique that can be a part of your audiovisual translations. It is used to record a different “target language” over the source language. For digital marketing purposes, choosing voice-over is often much more effective in evoking the emotion you want your target audience to feel. Another reason to use voice-over is viewers retain 95 percent of a video message they watch and hear compared to retaining only 10 percent of videos using only subtitles (GALA).

Voice-over can be more costly than subtitling, but it can also be more effective. Both methods of localization can be vital when trying to achieve your video-marketing goals. Not using subtitles may mean you miss out on better SEO results in search engines, and not using a voice-over may mean the emotion in your marketing message won’t resonate as strongly with your target audience.

The fix? Implement voice-over and subtitles. Once you have already translated the script, it shouldn’t cost much more to add subtitles, and using both tactics will truly internationalize your message and give your video the best chance of global success.

Set yourself up for audiovisual localization success

Your audiovisual localization success starts with you! Here are some steps you can take before letting your localization partner's audiovisual translation masters work their magic:

  • Give your provider an accurate / precise video script (or let Acolad create one for you)
  • Ensure your localization team is aware of your glossary – this will avoid problems with translating the script
  • Your video must have high-quality audio with distinctive speech and no background noise
  • If your video includes multiple languages, notify your provider so its experts can be prepared to translate / localize all of them
  • Consider the format of the video (AVI, MOV, MP4, etc.) – ask your localization partner which format its experts prefer to work with
  • Budget for audiovisual localization so you aren’t caught off guard by unforeseen costs


Audiovisual translation can be tricky. We hope you now understand how vital localizing your video is to engaging your global target audiences.