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Joanna Tarasiewicz
January 24, 2023
13 min read

Best Ways to Prepare for Video Content Translation

prepare your video content for translation


In the good old days, English was the main language. Even on the internet, it was the same. Both the United States of America and the United Kingdom were way ahead of other countries in the digital space. But that is not the case now. The web has now truly gone global. It is a multicultural and multilingual entity. If you are serious about doing business online, you need content that's available in your customers' language. Your company needs to become multicultural and multilingual itself. How do you do that? How do you create content in multiple languages? Many companies think it's easy. That you only need one software to translate your content into the target language and that's all. The reality is a little different. The truth is that every culture and every language has its own requirements, whether we take the technical aspect or the marketing aspect. You must meet these requirements if you want to be successful.


Companies that want to grow only have one contact: other countries. Your local market can only absorb so much. The internet can easily help you with this. You may be based in the United States and ship your products to customers around the world. But just sending something abroad is only half the battle. The other half is targeting the new market, reaching customers in new and overseas markets, which is only possible when you have localized content.


All too often we assume that customers speak English and can speak it just as well as we do. Whether it's our website content, our videos, or our social media communications, our content depends on that assumption. Even if we translate, it's not good enough to actually address this market. Most companies still do not know or understand the concept of localization. You still get bogged down in questions like "Do we really have to translate everything?" or "Do we need to hire specialists for this?" They do not understand that to attract and engage the new audience, they need to move away from translation and fully localize their content.


High-quality content requires professional translation services. Literal translations of your new content are not something that will work out very well for your video translation project. Or website translation project for that matter.


What Is Content Translation and Localization?


what is content translation


So what is content localization and how can we benefit from it? How can we go one step further and make sure we reach our target audience? Content localization is the process where we convert our source language content like English into a target language like French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, or more. It is the language of the new market that we want to target. You might think it's the same as a translation, but it's not. Various factors make it different. In fact, translation is part of localization.


For example, let us say you live in the United States. All of your original content is in English as this is your main market. You want to localize your content for France as this is your new target market. Today we know that more than 80% of the French population speaks French. That means you need to convert all your content to French if you want to connect with this market. Not only do you need to translate your content into French, but you also need to consider the cultural relevance and idiosyncrasies of the French language and culture.


Even if you are entering a market that uses English as a native language, you must do the same. A good example is the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Both markets have English as their primary language, but that's where the similarity ends. They are both as different as can be and there is no way to use content in these two markets. They use different words to denote a concept. For example, what we call french fries in the UK is called french fries in the US. In the US, french fries are called French Fries in the UK. This is just one of the thousands of examples available.






Related content: Video Translation Errors: from Subtitling to Voiceover






Why Use Video Content Translation to Target New Markets


target new markets with marketing content translation


Customers are becoming more visual every day. People do not have time to read long blogs. They want to be entertained and informed with fast and engaging visual methods. That said, the more images and videos you use for your content marketing purposes, the better. And even in those two, videos take precedence.


More than 60% of businesses are now using video to market their products and services. 80% of marketers consider videos crucial and give them a good ROI. Adding video to your landing page can drive 80% more conversions than text and images. Studies have shown that 70% of consumers who watched an explainer video about their desired product ended up buying it.


These are robust stats that you just can not ignore. For this reason, more and more companies around the world are using video content to market their products and services. Simply put, video content translation has become one of the most powerful tools in the content marketing space.


Do's and Don'ts of Content Translation


content translation tips


There's no such thing as an ideal workflow. Localizing videos for a global audience is easier said than done. Many things could go wrong and undo all the hard work you have done or will do. You need to know what these mistakes are and how to avoid them while creating your videos.


Embedded Text in Graphics


how to handle graphics in localization


Many times we use text in our graphics without realizing how bad it is. Even if you are not aiming for localization, you should absolutely avoid it. Most content like this has some sort of text on a background. In order to locate it correctly, you must have access to this piece of text.


If you plan to use text in your graphics, make sure you are using a file format that uses Adobe Photoshop layers. Also, keep in mind that content that you translate from English to another language will mostly be expanded. English is a very concise language. So keep in mind that the text in your graphics can grow as well. Reserve some space for it. This is where spaces come to the rescue.


Symbols and Other Design Elements


culturally-sensitive gestures


There are many symbols and other visual elements that have different meanings in different cultures. You might use them in one way and your international audience might see them differently. You may not even recognize the symbol you are using.


A great example of this is the mailbox with a small flag at the top to show you have received mail. This symbol is easily recognized in the United States, but people outside of the US may not recognize it. When translating your videos, you can turn this symbol into an envelope, which is a universal sign for email.


So make sure you use culturally appropriate signs, such as:


  • Body parts including various hand gestures
  • Image elements with ambiguous meanings
  • Religion-related symbols such as crosses and stars, etc.
  • Cultural image elements and symbols (e.g. road signs, sports, mailboxes, etc.)
  • Gestures


Locale-Specific Content


role of locale in translation


Be careful when creating videos that will be translated later be sure to consider the correct locale of the users. Keep track of the changes you need to make to localize your content. For example, you may need to change the date, time, or currency format.


You may also need to work on the addresses and phone numbers. There are also units of measurement and the use of colors. These and more are critical to the success of your video. Using what you used for your local market is not an option.






Related content: How to Reduce Turnaround Time for Content Translation






How to Prepare Your Video for Translation


prepare video for translation


Whether you want to use subtitles, voice-over, or dubbing for your videos, you need to make sure your videos are ready for translation. You need to understand what works and what does not, what mistakes can be made and how to avoid them. These things help you localize your video content and increase your brand's visibility, reach, and engagement.


Keep your content clear and concise for translation. The more content you put there, the more costs you will incur. Remember that translation is paid per word. Also, think about the mood of your content. For example, a humorous situation may not translate well from one language to another. In fact, humor is one of the hardest things to translate as it mostly depends on the culture.


It's probably best if you keep your videos informative for now. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing content for localization.







Words with Multiple Meanings (Heteronyms)


multiple meanings


  • As mentioned earlier, many words can have multiple meanings depending on the region in which they are used. These include:
  • Gender
  • Acronyms
  • Abbreviations
  • Mnemonics
  • Abbreviated plurals or word combinations
  • Telegraphic style
  • Slang or jargon
  • Anything that is culture-specific to a country or represents a way of life
  • Other references


Translate Into All Required Languages First


translate into all languages


Before you create your videos in English, make sure that you know the languages you will need to translate them into. Then you can translate them into these languages. Why, you ask? Because when you have all the translations in hand, you know exactly how long the text or audio file will be in each language. This makes it cost-effective later when you produce the videos in other languages.


Allow Text Expansion and Contraction


text expansion and contraction in content translation


Text expansion and contraction are easy-to-understand concepts. We all know that when translating content from one language to another, sometimes the target text takes up more space than the source language. This is called an extension.


The same applies to contraction when the target text takes up less space than the source text. You need to know these things whether you are working on subtitles, page titles, or audio translation. For some languages, you may even need to expand up to 60%. That's a lot of space now.


Leave Room for Subtitles


room for subtitles in video localization


Another element to consider when translating your video content is subtitles. You must know that you have enough space for subtitles at the bottom of the screen. Sometimes the video contains supers or has footage that covers the entire screen. This has the negative effect of blurring the subtitles and making it difficult for customers to read them.


So if you use subtitles, and we encourage you to do so, make sure there's just enough space in your video.


Timings and Pacing for Multilingual Voiceovers


timing and pace in multilingual voiceover


What we discussed about subtitle expansion and contraction also applies to voiceovers and dubbing. If your video has an English voiceover, you'll need to translate everything into your target language.


What does that mean? This means that you need to plan enough space for audio expansion. For example, if you have a 500-word English script, it can grow to 700 words or more when translated. Also, you need to know that different languages have different speeds. So keep an eye on the time as well.






Related content: 3 Things to Expect From Voice Over Companies for the Best Outcome






A Longer Video Script Requires a Longer Video


more script more video


This point is undeniable, but you'd be amazed at how many companies ignore it. Be sure to create a longer version of your video if you want to account for voice volume. All of this affects the length of your video.


Create Both a Translation Glossary and a Style Guide


glossary and style guide in marketing content translation


One of the many things you can do to make your translations more consistent and comfortable over time is to create a glossary and a style guide. A glossary includes things like company/product terminology, abbreviations and acronyms, terms that remain in English (e.g. product names, copyrighted items, etc.), and 'jargon' should remain consistent across languages.


A style guide can definitely help you keep your video's voice consistent no matter how many languages you are translating into. It also helps in the quality of the video. You need to come up with these two things before you start producing videos. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but it will definitely help you in the long run.


Let Your Translation Service Provider Know What the Content Is About


communication between client and translator


Make sure you provide your translators with more than enough detail. This will help them with the tone and mood of the video. Also, make sure they are experienced, fluent in both the source and target languages, and knowledgeable about the topic.


Lights, Camera, Action!


start your video content translation project


Getting your videos translated into other languages is not as easy as it looks. Producing your video content for localization and translation can be challenging at times. But if you know the process and prepare beforehand, you can make it easier, get tremendous results, and welcome high quality leads.


Get the right translators or translation service agency, make your SEO right (multilingual websites and videos must be loved by search engines to work in your marketing campaigns in new languages), don't be afraid to use machine translation tools (but treat lightly with Google Translate app for this use case) if you know how to do that (otherwise, human translation is your only way), implement translation memory to reuse translated content and save money, sign-off the translation process and you're good to go. A Translation Management System (TMS), especially one geared toward multilingual video marketing or a CMS integrated with your content translation tool through API can be a good idea, too. This way, you can make the most of the possibilities automation creates, and save valuable resources this way. Your video content translation process is ready? Go and grow!


Recommended articles:

How Much Does It Cost to Translate a Video? [Rates, Factors & Savings]

10 Things That Will Make Your Multilingual Marketing Content Fail You