How to Choose a Video Localization Vendor

So it is time to localize your video for an international audience. You have a budget, know the languages you need, and are ready to move forward. Here’s what you should look for when choosing a video localization vendor.

The work can be complex.  Ask for a Sample

Video is a much more complex medium to translate than text. Why? Video localization has to provide an accurate text translation, then sync it up with the visuals. A dubbed video then requires lip syncing and voice acting. What’s the best predictor that your message will be preserved with all of the nuances intact? Request a sample. A quality localization provider should be happy to provide you with one. If they are unwilling, then consider this a red flag. Ask for samples of their other work, too. A high-quality provider should have samples ready to share, and should be able to provide references, too.

Who will really be handling your project? Ask for a Verbal Explanation of the Process

Who will be localizing your video? It matters. Ask to meet or speak directly with the production experts.  Sometimes language service providers outsource the production to sub-contractors. This can add time and cost to your project.

Know the potential project pitfalls. Understand the Timeline

While localization may not be your area of expertise, a reputable localization provider should be able to explain every detail and timing to ensure that your project will be delivered in a timely way. As part of a preliminary “interview” with vendors, you’ll want to know when your files would need to be delivered to keep the project completion date on course. You’ll also want to ask what quality control points exist, and when on the timeline these milestones occur.

How many ‘hands’ will touch your content? Ensure Security

Does your corporate video contain sensitive financial information or messaging? Is it time sensitive, so that the audience should not see it before a chosen date? These are all security concerns. If the localization vendor outsources to a sub-contractor, how do you know the information contained in your video will not leak? Security in the film industry is especially critical, for example, as content is often delivered pre-release. The film needs to remain in strict lockdown until its opening (imagine the next Star Wars installment leaked?) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has its own certification criteria. At CMI, we handle 2 terabytes of early release film content a month for the major Hollywood movie studio, and have strict control procedures in place.

Whatever your industry’s privacy and security concerns, are you really going to trust your content to a provider who may not have the proper controls in place? Ask. If they don’t understand the question, they won’t likely appreciate the nuances of your security concern.

Devil in the details...Ask for a Quote

If you are satisfied with the points above, ask for a quote. Remember that a high quality vendor may seem more expensive, but when you consider your message quality, the process and the security around your content, it may be worth it. For more on comparing quotes, check out our earlier post, Comparing Video Location Quotes

And please contact us with any questions about your subtitling, dubbing or captioning project.

FREE Download:  What is the Difference Between Voice-Over and Dubbing?