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Essential steps for video translation that resonates

Essential steps for video translation that resonates
Home » Blog » Multilingual Voiceover » Essential steps for video translation that resonates

There’s a secret to successful video translation that produces the maximum impact. In a word: localisation. Localisation steps beyond basic language to knock on the door of the person you want to engage with. Fail to localise and at best you miss opportunities, at worst you alienate your audience.


And competition for video time is fierce. Cisco anticipates that by 2021, 17,000 hours of video content will cross global IP networks every single second.


This blog should help steer you down the path to video translation that engages and resonates.

Failing to plan is planning to fail

The sooner you start the localisation process, the easier and more cost-effective your video translation will be. So, make sure it’s a consideration during the planning process, when you should also get to know your audience and create relevant concepts and footage.

When drafting mood boards, avoid positioning on-screen text, such as people’s names and job titles, within the prime translation banner area. You don’t want your audience to have to dart around looking for the subtitles. Keep the subtitles consistently placed and move any planned on-screen text off to the side and up a bit instead.

Choose the right language

This isn’t always as simple as it seems.

For example, you may not get as powerful results in Spain if you ignore the fact that aside from Castilian, the country’s official language, there are four other languages spoken in Spain: Galician-Portuguese, Basque, Catalan and Occitan.

And check this out. Four languages in one country might seem like a lot until you consider the 135 confirmed indigenous languages in Brazil. Now that would be quite a challenging localisation project! However, if you were to stick with Portuguese, Brazil’s official language, you’d be making a mistake if you translate into European Portuguese. Similarly, European Spanish and South American Spanish are very different.

Further east, China can pose problems, too. For example, you might consider if you want to solely provide Mandarin video translations or if you also need Cantonese translations for Hong Kong and other Cantonese speaking regions.

Choose the right video translation format

Subtitles, closed captions or voice-overs? Think about what will work best for your content and your audience. For example, if you opt for subtitles without a voice-over, your audience may miss out on your messaging as they struggle to read subtitles while also trying to fathom a graph or table.

Text expansion is a consideration, too. Generally, English takes up much less space than most other languages, so subtitles simply may not be practical if it’s a struggle to fit them on the screen. For example, German can take up to 40% more space than English. This is where speaking slowly is important – or at least taking a pause between sentences so the subtitles can catch up.

To find out more about Brightlines Translation services for video content, click here. We’re happy to help and advice is always free.