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Should You Localize Your Brand Videos?

Best Practices for Multimedia Localization

As marketing mediums go, video is one of the most useful for reaching and engaging audiences across B2B and B2C markets. Consider these statistics:

  • Social videos are 1,200% more effective at generating shares than images and text combined.
  • Marketing strategies that use video generate revenue 49% faster and drive 41% more web traffic than those that don't.
  • 70% of marketers find that video converts better than any other media type.
  • 64% of viewers are more likely to buy after watching a video.
  • 65% of executives visit a vendor's website after viewing a video. 39% call the vendor.

A growing number of brands take advantage of video every day. Approximately 87% of businesses use video for marketing—up  from 81% in 2018 and 63% in 2017. This trend is not slowing down any time soon. This begs an important questions for global marketers: will their videos be effective in foreign markets? If not, how can they modify them to make sure they will be?

The Case for Multimedia Localization

Multimedia campaigns can launch in new markets without localization. The simplest method is to translate the dialogue, offering subtitles or a script by which viewers can follow along. But should they?

Un-localized multimedia often results in a product that lacks the appeal of the original video. Localization makes videos more effective by using culturally relevant language and references. This allows the video to connect with viewers in new markets while maintaining the spirit and sentiment of the original video.

Video is emotional.

Marketing psychologists find that emotions influence buying decisions more strongly than logic and reason. Video is a consummately emotional medium.

Our brains naturally react to what they see and hear in the same way they react to real-life situations. Our rational brain knows what we’re seeing is not real, but our instinctive brain responds emotionally. We relate to the characters on screen and empathize with their struggles—even if their “struggle” is simply looking for a product that works.

For brands to take advantage of this phenomenon, their marketing content needs to resonate with their audiences. There has to be some level of shared cultural value and understanding to ensure the message of the video does not get lost.

Pure translation only deals with spoken language—and effective communication comprises much more than the words we use. For example, a branded video that encourages viewers to stand out from the crowd won’t appeal to viewers in a collectivist culture, where the primary concern is the common good.

Brands can reach target audiences with multimedia localization.

Localization improves interactivity.

Localization also helps brands take advantage of the interactive power of video. Whether a brand needs a training video to communicate its company mission and values or a how-to video showcasing its latest product, it expects the video to trigger an action from the viewer.

By making content more relatable, localization encourages viewers to respond to the video and take that desired action.

How to Localize a Video

If you decide to localize your multimedia content, make things easier on yourself by:

Starting early.

If possible, produce the source-language version of the video with your future localization efforts in mind. Eliminate or minimize elements that are culturally specific. This includes on-screen text and script material, as well as sets, graphics, and casting.

Sharing as much material as possible with your localization services team.

You want your final product to align with your brand identity, so be sure to provide your localization professionals with the materials they need to work on your project efficiently and effectively. This includes all the scripts for your source-language video, as well as:

  • Style guides, which help the localization team maintain your brand voice.
  • Glossaries and pronunciation information for any company-specific or industry-specific terms. (Language professionals know a lot, but of course they don’t know everything.)
  • Brand guidelines, which should explain your company’s philosophy and message. Your localization team will need to make changes so your content aligns with the target market's cultural values.

If you provide detailed brand information, the end result will be more consistent with your existing material.

Understanding the difference between dubbing, voice-overs, and subtitles.

Some videos will call for localized voice-over content to be dubbed over the original dialogue. This tends to work best when the speaker isn't on-screen.

Today's dubbing typically fades the original speech into the background and overlays the localized content. Because the original speech is still barely perceptible, your end result won’t have the same disconnect that complete dubs have.

Another choice is to subtitle the words of on-screen or off-screen speakers. If you take this approach, you still have to be aware of synchronization, as some languages take longer than others to express the same idea. You don't want your audio to align with the wrong visuals if the localized content is longer than the original.

A Final Word

While it is possible to release a video in a new cultural market without localizing, you'll build much stronger connections with your audience if you localize. Those connections will attract new customers and strengthen your existing relationships.

At Lionbridge, we have the experience and the cultural understanding to make that happen. Give us a call today to find out what we can do for you.

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