Localize Videos For Greater Impact

May 3, 2015

Viewfinder on an HD TV CameraWe are seeing an increased demand for localizing video, and that’s not surprising. Video is a powerful means of getting a message across. It is more engaging than text and allows visual demonstrations that can communicate better than mere words.


In recent years, the use of video in marketing and training has expanded exponentially. Global businesses are choosing to provide training and especially safety materials in video format for a variety of reasons. First, many people are visual learners, and video is easily integrated into e-learning programs. Second, in many types of jobs, workers may not have high literacy, making video safety training an efficient alternative to written or face-to-face presentations.


Video is also proving to be a much more effective means of content marketing. Numerous statistics show that video is much better at attracting an audience than other media. The price of video production has fallen dramatically, while, at the same time, the use of smartphones and other mobile devices capable of streaming video has risen dramatically in all parts of the world. Globally, use of mobile devices to access the Internet surpassed the use of desktops in 2014 and the gap is widening.


It’s no wonder that an article in the Guardian calls video “the future of content marketing,” and Cisco predicts that video traffic will constitute 79 percent of all consumer internet traffic around the world by 2018.


In this climate, the use of video for international marketing is also increasing rapidly. But effective use of videos for international marketing requires effective localization. That means translating content, either through subtitles or voice-overs, and revising content where needed to maximize the appeal to the sensibilities of other cultures and to minimize the risk of offending them.


Plan ahead


As with any materials intended for an international audience, video should be planned for its target audiences from the very beginning. Writing the script and planning the visual content with your foreign markets in mind will eliminate the need to make major changes in localized versions. The closer the video comes to traditional advertising, especially consumer advertising, the more you may need to consider having different versions for different markets. With more neutral content, such as product demonstrations, it should be possible to create videos where few changes beyond translation are necessary.


Use professionals


Using machine translation or non-professionals for any type of marketing materials is always a bad idea. You want your message to be as grammatically correct and fluent as the original to have the greatest impact. In addition, translation for videos often requires adaptation if for no other reason than to fit space limitations for subtitles or time limitations for voice-overs. Some materials may require transcreation. Professional language partners are used to dealing with these issues and will make sure that they are handled in a manner that will preserve your original message.


With voice-overs, cultural preferences for type of voice will differ and you will want to choose a voice that will resonate with the local audience. You will also want to be sure that voice-overs are clearly enunciated and clearly recorded. A professional language partner can advise you on the best voices, give you choices of voice-over artists, and ensure that recording is done to professional standards.


Pay attention to SEO


SEO is just as important with your foreign-language videos as it is with local videos if you want your intended audience to find you. Make sure that the delivery platform you use will be suitable for the devices in use in your target countries. Tag and write descriptions separately for each language version of the video. You shouldn’t assume that the keywords you used for your original version can simply be translated into other languages. Your localization provider can help you validate the best keywords and phrases for helping users in your target market find your video content. You should also research the major search engines in the countries and their particular requirements.


If you will be using social media to promote your videos, find out about the major social media platforms in your target market and their demographics before you choose the best platforms to focus on.


Properly produced, localized videos can be just as effective a marketing tool for foreign-language audiences as it is for your local audience. And, while localizing a video may be more costly than localizing written content, the extra cost is well worth the investment when you consider the increased impact of online videos versus other marketing content.

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