How to Prepare Video for Localization

So you want to localize your video or film for an international audience? In order to achieve true localization, you’ll need to ensure that the translations ring true to your audience, that the timing of dialogue delivery is correct, that it all seems natural. In short, good localization needs to be seamless to the audience.

Localization requires a lot more than translating a script: the true meaning must be preserved and attention to the region and dialect must be given, and the technical aspects cannot be underestimated either.

Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider as you prepare for video localization. 

What markets do you anticipate targeting?

Each market has different specifications -both technical as well as from a content perspective. When developing training or educational videos, for instance, it is important to take into account that some of the case studies or examples used in the original version may be irrelevant, or simply unusable in some target markets. Early planning, even at the storyboarding stage, can save major localization headaches down the road.

Have you reviewed graphics, visual, and charts with localization in mind?

If your corporate video shows a graph or chart, is it well placed so that subtitles can easily be added and read by your foreign target audiences?

Is your video “locked” in its final version?

 If the video you present to be localized is not the final version, then you will incur additional costs with each new round of edits. Make sure you’re locked and loaded!

Is your video readable?

Does the pacing of the audio and acting occur at an acceptable speed? If it’s too fast, there won’t be room for localization. On average, you will need 12 to 17 characters for one second—that is the average speed for subtitling, which is to say, the time it takes for someone to read along easily.

For dubbing, you need three seconds to communicate a comprehensive thought; if you have something of value, a linguistically solid message, you need to give it at least three seconds to be absorbed.

Is your high-resolution file in the same frame rate as your master?

To work most efficiently, your localization provider will need a high-res file in the frame rate of your master file. For digital streaming, that means 24 frames per second; in Europe, 25, and the U.S., 30. Make sure to identify your market of distribution, because the specifications vary by region. If a client forgets to tell you where they plan to distribute, the odds are good that it won’t match the specifications and it will have to be redone.

Are you including music?

Do you want us to translate the song, or leave it in English? Do you have the rights to localize it? Check the music licensing rights agreement, as there may be legal implications. If a song is made for your movie and relates to the plot, then we would ask for rights.

At CMI we partner with our clients to ensure a seamless and efficient experience. How can we help you localize your video for international markets?

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