Person working on video captioning

The Top 5 Things You Should Do When Localizing Video and Audio

Think beyond video production techniques when localizing your multimedia

When localizing your videos to reach a global audience, you may choose from many production techniques. There’s transcription and subtitling , voiceover and dubbing, and open and closed captioning, among others. When done effectively, video and audio localization enable you to expand your reach and ultimately boost sales. Read our infographic, “Why Localize Your Video Content? ” to learn more about why you should invest in your video content.

It’s tempting to dive right into multimedia localization, but before you do, here are the top 5 things you should consider doing to set yourself up for success.

#1 Identify Your Target Audiences

To implement an effective multimedia localization strategy, the first thing to do is figure out who your target audiences are. The audiences — and their expectations — will guide your strategy and help you make numerous decisions, such as determining how visible your video should be, which languages to invest in, how much money to allocate to a particular video, and how quickly it needs to go live.

Ask who is consuming the media, how, where, and when viewers are consuming the media. When it comes to figuring out what video to create, make sure you can answer why your viewers will want to watch it. They'll only consume your video if the content resonates with them. So, know your audience and tailor the material to meet their needs.

Person working on video editing software

#2 Select Appropriate Software for Video Creation and Localization

There are many software products designed to help create and localize video content. In addition to factoring in preferred multimedia features, ask the following questions as you assess the offerings:

  • Does this software provide functions to import and export translatable content?
  • Do the software tools enable automation for repeated tasks?
  • Does the software support fonts suitable for other languages?
  • Can the software handle right-to-left languages?

Carefully evaluate software options before investing in a product to avoid unexpected costs and execute video localization more efficiently. But it’s not always easy to make the right choice. Lionbridge’s multimedia experts can help you figure out the solution that will serve you best.

#3 Centralize Editable Content That You Plan To Localize

Software integration has never been better. It’s now possible to use software that can pull assets from a variety of file types and locations. However, software integration is not always the best approach if you plan to localize your video content.

Despite the benefits of harmonizing multiple filetypes, it is easier and less costly to process a single file. Fewer file types mean there are fewer filters to develop, fewer files to process and check, and fewer overall man-hours needed to execute the project.

You will lower your localization costs and shorten your turnaround times by centralizing the content you plan to localize.

#4 Plan Ahead

The video localization path can be long and windy. You may even find yourself more involved in the undertaking than expected. You can help create a smooth process by planning and building extra time to execute tasks.

You can usually come up with a rough localization timeline by taking the following factors into consideration: The amount of content that will be localized, the type of content that will be localized, and the total number of target languages. Beyond this initial calculation, recognize you may need to be involved in the localization process during a critical inflection point or when an important decision is required. Your bandwidth — or lack thereof — may affect the timeline.

When possible, add extra time to the expected turnaround schedule to create a buffer and account for unexpected situations that will require your attention.

Person working on audio in a video editing software

#5 Consider Alternatives and Manage Expectations

When setting out to localize video, pause and consider alternative solutions beyond the most obvious ones. It may seem counterintuitive to your goal, but in certain situations, it may be the best option to reduce costs and turnaround times.

For example, synthetic voices may be a great alternative to voice actors when creating voiceovers for an internal audience or low-visibility content. This approach can lower the cost and enable the project to be completed sooner. Similarly, text appearing in screenshots or other images may be left in English if translations creatively provide an appropriate description or direction. Reducing the scope of image localization can lower desktop publishing costs and decrease turnaround times.

It's okay to be resourceful during the localization process; you may discover an even better solution to your localization challenges.

Because linguistic and cultural values are not perfectly comparable across languages, it’s also important to keep expectations realistic when localization is complete. Video localization has the same starting point regardless of language. However, translators and editors will determine the finish lines for each language. Measure the final value of localization quality within its own linguistic and cultural boundaries, not against another language or culture.

Put Your Plan Into Action

These five suggestions can help you form a solid video localization starting point. Additional planning and consideration at the beginning stages of localization will help ensure a smoother process from beginning to end.

Get in touch

If you’d like to get the most out of your video investments, contact us today to learn more about our video localization services.

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Jason Kawakami with Janette Mandell
Jason Kawakami with Janette Mandell