All over the world, more than six billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube alone. That’s almost an hour for every person on Earth. Throw in the many impressive stats out there on how it improves engagement and sales, and it’s easy to see video’s allure.
Are you using this tool in your business efforts to engage your global customers, employees and other important viewers of your videos?
If you’re ready to kick your video efforts up a notch and amplify your brand on the global stage, video localization can be your ticket to success.
Video localization is definitely a complex process. But it doesn’t have to make your head spin. A closer look at some best practices for voiceovers and subtitles can help you understand which route is best for your video localization projects.
Turn up the volume: Considerations for voiceovers
While voiceovers may seem pretty straightforward, you do have some choices on how to go about it. The route you choose depends on your time and budget requirements as well as the intent and structure of your video. For instance, if you are localizing a software demo video and the actor isn’t speaking directly at the camera, it’s pretty easy to dub over that original actor’s voice in the target language. In this case, you don’t have to worry about mouth movements matching up.
But what if the actor is speaking directly to the camera, and you do need to conform to his or her mouth movements? Essentially, you have three options with audio voiceovers for video localization:
- UN style voiceover is when the volume of the video’s original audio recording is turned down and replaced with the speech of the actor in the target language at a much higher volume. The translated voiceover is not an attempt to lip-sync, but rather narrate what is being said. This format is often seen on news shows, documentaries and filmed interviews.
- Simple dubbing, on the other hand, is when the source language is completely stripped from the video and it’s replaced with the target language so as to match up mouth and lip movements as best as possible. It will not be exact.
- Lastly, synchronized dubbing is an even more sophisticated process where—like simple dubbing—the speaker’s source language is removed and replaced with the native speaker’s words. In this case, however, the translated recording is highly synced to match the video actor’s phonetic, semantic and dramatic voice inflections. As you can imagine, this method entails more time and cost.
You can even choose to skip voiceovers and re-record your training module, marketing promo, etc. with a voice actor who’s native to the target country. A language service provider, like Sajan, can guide you on which option will work best for you.
Whichever route you go with, it’s important that to have a finalized script in your source language to translate. A final review, where another linguist (outside of the translate-edit-proof process) looks over your translated script to ensure it is top notch, is also recommended. This is important because recording your audio in studio is expensive, and some studios require at least a week’s notice to book a time slot. You don’t want to have to go through that whole process again just to alter a sentence—whether it’s for style or word choice reasons. This extra quality assurance step can keep your project on track and on budget and save you some potential hassle.
Read between the lines: Tips for subtitles
You may decide to skip voiceovers and stick with subtitles. You generally have two options for translated subtitles:
- With closed captions, you have the option to turn on and off the subtitles at the bottom of your video.
- Alternatively, open captions, like closed captions, appear at the bottom of your video. Open captions are actually embedded into the video, so you can’t turn them off.
If you go with closed captions, be sure to tell your language service provider which type of video player you use so they can ensure that the completed files are compatible with your player. Sajan can help your engineers apply the closed captions if you would like, too. We also recommend that you send us a source script to translate. We can transcribe what we hear in the video to build a script, but that will cost a little extra. So it’s more cost- and time-efficient to send us the finalized script from the get-go.
Picture perfect: Using both voiceovers and subtitles
You can have the best of both worlds and use subtitles and voiceovers. You see, once we’ve translated your script files for the actor to record, it only takes a little more time and budget to simply add those files into your video as closed captions.
This video localization method gives your audiences the ability to choose whether or not to view it with sound and can also be extra support for the hearing impaired.
Remember to always send your source files for whatever video localization method you choose so you can avoid some static and move the process along easier.
Fast forward to video localization success
Video localization doesn’t have to be an intimidating prospect. When you’re ready to press play, grab some screen time with Sajan. We’ve helped many of the world’s most well-known brands with all kinds of video localization endeavors that included both voiceovers and subtitles. We’d be happy to direct you, too.
Of course, this is just one aspect to consider with video localization. For a more in-depth overview, check out Razzle ‘em, dazzle ‘em with star-quality video localization.
Have you pursued any video localization initiatives that called for subtitles, voiceovers or both? If you have any tips of your own to throw into the mix, I’d love to hear them!