Video Localization Forecasts and Trends

Video marketing has soared during the last 12 months, with a 17 percent leap in usage that’s forecast to continue through 2018.

Why? Studies have shown that consumers and businesses prefer this medium for everything from watching how-to videos to broadcasting corporate communications.

With this continued growth, video localization is showing some distinct trends. In this post we will overview trends in video localization.

Mini Video

The average length of a video clip on Facebook is — ready for this— a mere six seconds. In general, we are seeing shorter video clips on all of the platforms, including Netflix. Concerned about your ability to convey your message in a compressed package? Consider this upside: Shorter clips are also a tool to ensure ongoing audience engagement. As the audience becomes engaged, they seek more and more video content to consume. Shorter content is quick to produce and meets the consumer’s need for a quick video “snack,” and if they’re interested, leads them to the table for more. But the trend is not exclusively “snackable content”. As advertising platforms have shifted to the digital realm, brands are turning to video-based “storytelling” both in long and short format to forge a deeper and more lasting relationship with their target consumers and users.

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Dub and Sub 

From a filmed entertainment perspective, there exist “traditional” dubbing and subtitling markets. Germany and France prefer dubbing, especially for feature films. Scandinavian countries often choose subtitling, except for children’s films. Quebec opts for dubbing, because support for using French, rather than English, runs strong. We do not see these trends changing anytime soon. However, as video content encompasses new formats and becomes more ubiquitous, additional factors are emerging to help decide to “dub or sub”.

At CMI we always work closely with clients to determine if their content is better delivered by dubbing or subtitling. As a general rule, we recommend dubbing for videos that require close attention without distraction (such as a training video). If done well, dubbing is seamless, and the viewer can focus on your message instead of trying to read.

CMI works in over 150 languages, so if you have questions for a particular country, our team is happy to work closely with you to determine the best choice.

Audio Description Mandates

CMI is also seeing that audio description—a description of what is happening in a film or video outside of dialog, to aid the visually impaired—is becoming mandated for certain circumstances in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. to name a few.

This new development has led to an increase in companies claiming to do audio description, when they aren’t really qualified to deliver a quality experience. Audio description requires the same care and attention to detail as capturing the nuances in a complex dialog. It requires an expert who can discern plot pertinence—meaning, a professional with high-quality judgement determining which visual actions onscreen are critical to audience comprehension.

Less Than Meticulous Machine Translation

Technology for machine translation is increasingly available, creating some market movement in that direction. The lower cost can be enticing, but ask yourself whether you can you afford the possible mistakes. If automatic translation doesn’t have quality control—a human being making sure the wording is accurate—errors can be introduced and not caught. We know of an instance when mention of a politician’s “prostate cancer” became “prostitute cancer.” Machine translation is in part based on the probability that the beginning of a word will be followed by a certain completion. Say, “Prost.” We’ve even heard of a few instances where mistakes resulted in corporate communication blunders so egregious they led to lawsuits.

As video output continues at a rapid pace and content developers move quickly to localize video for global audiences, we expect to see more and more companies jumping into the localization game.


How can CMI help you avoid costly mistakes and protect the original intent and meaning of your message? Contact us today for free consultation!