4 Essential Best Practices for the Video Localization Process

Video is one of the fastest growing mediums globally. It is a powerful way to communicate your brand story and build relationships with your customers and prospects. According to HubSpot, including a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%. One-third of all online activity today is spent watching video. Cisco estimates that by 2020, nearly a million minutes of video content will cross the Internet every second!

You’ve spent a great deal of brainpower, time and money creating your content. That can all go to waste on the global stage if localization, either through subtitles or dubbing/voiceovers, are done unprofessionally.

What can go wrong in video localization?

  • Inaccurate translation can literally “send the wrong message” resulting in missed opportunities or lasting damage to your product or brand.
  • The genre may not be preserved. For example, if a sarcastic comedy is translated literally, disregarding nuance, it will be a farce.
  • Typos, inaccurate punctuation, or bad placement of subtitles makes for a sloppy presentation and distracts from the message itself.
  • The foreign language viewer knows mediocre translation and thinks the makers of the film or video do not respect them enough to be correct.
Best Practices

In the long run, it pays to hire a professional localization provider.  The following best practices should be adhered to:

Talent is key!

As with a lot of businesses, it’s all about the talent. Your provider should have a deep network of accomplished specialists. Be sure to check your provider’s professional credentials.

  • Ask for more than just native language speakers. Being a native speaker isn’t enough of a qualification.  Your provider should use professional top-notch writers, editors and translators especially because video localization is more complex than document translation text.
  • Utilize experienced directors who will ensure each line is executed with accurate pronunciation, timing, and inflection.
  • In dubbing, use voiceover artists who are professional actors, matched to the type and genre of the content.
  • Be sure you are working with seasoned audio-visual editors who expertly align the dubbed voiceover track or subtitles to the video in order to create a seamless on-screen experience.
Process and project management make all the difference.

Video localization is a painstaking process. Be sure your provider can demonstrate their process, quality control and project management protocol.

After you send your script and video, the video localization provider should provide you with a layout of the entire project plan with clearly defined milestones as well as timing and responsibilities. The provider should check-in with you regarding voice samples (dubbing/voiceover projects), approval of the final translated script and other deliverables.

The devil is in the details.

A seasoned localization provider will have countless quality control checks in the following areas:

  • Accuracy. A professional will take your original language script and linguistically format it into syntax, noun-verb agreements, etc.
  • Proper Delivery of Message. There are verification and consistency checks to ensure that the intent of your message is preserved in the target language including idiomatic expressions, tone, intonation, mood and nuance.
  • Consistency. The talent used should be consistent with the original video. It’s a casting job, just as important as with the original content.
  • Tone. This is key. If the video is instructional, for example, utilize the voices that are professional and pleasant, yet informative and strong.  If the video has a comic flavor to it, use comedians, so that the undertone is preserved.
Passion is the secret sauce!

The project team should demonstrate a passion for language and meaning and a solid commitment to your project. A passionate localization professional will care about how an audience in China or Africa will experience your content. They see the bigger picture…. a comedy can put a smile on the face of someone who is struggling in rural Russia. A drama in multiple languages allows us to see the commonality among all cultures. And the ultimate goal of the professional is that the dub or subtitle is indistinguishable from the original content. Hire professionals who love what they do!

CMI has worked with major Hollywood studios for over 30 years localizing, digitally processing and delivering video/film content to the in-flight entertainment industry. This is a global market requiring upwards of 150 unique feature-film files to be delivered daily.

Contact us for more information.

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