Video Localization for Corporate Communication

The use of video has exploded in recent years for both consumer and business use, and we aren’t surprised. Of B2C businesses, 82% report that video has become their most popular content marketing tactic. And research from John Medina, molecular biologist and author of Brain Rules, suggests that information from video is absorbed at a 65 percent greater rate than text.

Corporations are finding video an effective medium for:

  1. Training
  2. Corporate messaging
  3. Branding
  4. Sales

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Companies with international distribution or staff are seeking to localize video. 

Many of our corporate clients look to the way Hollywood customizes film for worldwide access, and knowing that we do a lot of work with major studios, ask us, “How do you treat localizing a corporate video compared to the full length feature films you dub and subtitle for the major Hollywood studios?”

The answer is that CMI approaches corporate video with the same thoughtful and high-quality approach that our film content producers expect from us.

What does this mean, exactly?

First, we consider ourselves to be partners with our clients, and ask them strategic questions. What is your video’s objective: Are you trying to train staff?  Convey an important message from the CEO? Delight a customer in a province of China?  What markets do you want to enter? What are the demographics of the viewer in those markets?

In order to succeed at any of the goals above, your translated message will need to be as professional, seamless, and nuanced as the original message – the same way a Hollywood film would fall flat abroad in the wrong dialect, improperly synced, or with the wrong tone and tenor to its dubbing.

Corporate video localization is much more complex than simply translating a script. 

Our corporate clients jump initially to subtitling, as this is often the most inexpensive localization option. In fact, if the video is more visual and less the spoken word — then subtitles may be fine. We help them to look back to the original objectives we outlined together, because subtitling may be the least effective way to absorb information. A food service employee being trained in the parent company’s guidelines for service, which are critical to ensuring a uniform customer experience throughout its global footprint of restaurants, will have a hard time absorbing essential, visually presented information if only subtitles are used. They will likely be focusing on reading the subtitles rather than following the actions portrayed on screen and truly absorbing the full spectrum of instructional material being conveyed. With subtitles, the original audio is generally kept and can become a major distraction for non-native speakers who are also trying to concentrate on reading the subtitles…. If viewers fail to absorb the full spectrum of information presented, training will suffer, overall customer satisfaction will be suboptimal, leading to potential underperformance in entire geographic markets and likely ending with real loss of value to the parent company.

As a general rule, the more complex and mission critical the information conveyed in a video communication piece is, the more a fully lip-synced version of the original video is recommended.

We recommend that corporate clients take a page out of the Hollywood studios’ playbook and localize with the same care and attention that a film production company would.

Best practices critical to corporate localization success:

  • Select translators who are native speakers, and who fit the niche and even personality conveyed in the original video. Recently, we dubbed corporate training videos in Spanish, and took special care to match the alternate voice track to the high energy tone and body language of the dynamic presenter in the original English language video.
  • Work closely with your localization vendor to determine if subtitling or dubbing would be the right choice. A well-synced dub is optimal for the end-user experience. If your message is important — and you would like the viewer in China to have the same experience as your viewer in New Jersey — dubbing is the way to go.
  • Go with the techniques used in the film industry, where film makers’ reputation and financial success abroad depend on high-quality localization. If the CEO’s message is translated in the wrong dialect or the tone is off, it will lose credibility or be misconstrued. Do not underestimate how important a high-quality localization will be to the end user and ultimate corporate success.
  • Localizing video is a lot more than simply translating the original script. There are key technical issues involved in creating the final localized version, whether subtitled, voiced over or fully lip-synced. The best localization – and the only one you should settle for – is one that is invisible to the target viewer.

CMI has been dubbing, subtitling, and offering closed captioning to major Hollywood movie studios for over 30 years. We localize in over 150 languages and use the same care and attention to detail for our corporate video clients that we do for the film industry.

Let’s connect so we can help you meet your localization goals.