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Video translation is a powerful way to engage your audience and authentically connect with them. Whether using video for staff training and development purposes, or to market to clients and prospective clients around the globe, video translation is essential.

Given today’s diversified, international workforces, as well as the potential for clients to come from anywhere in the world, video translation is more important than ever before for organizations of all sizes. Translating your videos increases their visibility and accessibility, showing both your customers and employees that your organization has an inclusive, global mindset.

You can translate videos in a number of ways depending on your budget and time constraints. We’ll break down why video translation is valuable and explain several methods to help you find the best translation option for your organization.

How to translate your videos

The translation process all depends on your budget, time constraints, and target audience. An organization that can only spend $100 to $200 on translation will most likely need to opt for subtitles. On the other hand, if 50% of an American company’s workforce speaks Spanish, for example, the organization might want to invest in a high-quality localization service to connect with these learners.

To help you find the best method for your organization’s needs, we’ve broken down three types of video translation.

  • Subtitles, or captions at the bottom of a video that translate the dialogue and/or narration. This method is the most simple and cost-effective translation process.
  • Audio, or a recording of voice actors reciting your translated narration and/or dialogue. This method is somewhat costly and time-intensive as you’ll likely need to hire a company to professionally record the voice-over artists and properly lip sync your video.
  • Localization, or a translation that takes into account local, cultural, and regional relevance. Whereas translation directly converts content from one language to another, localization adapts the content when necessary to ensure it remains relevant to readers of the translated language. So, for example, units of measurement in an American English script would be adjusted from “inches” to “centimetres” when localized for a British audience, and “muffins” might be localized to “croissants” for a French audience. A localization service will translate your narration and/or dialogue, record voice actors reciting the adapted script, and edit the new audio into the video. This is the most costly and time-intensive method, but also the most comprehensive and effective.

Over the next three sections, we’ll cover how to complete each method and the pros and cons of each translation type.

Subtitles

If your video budget and schedule are both tight, subtitles are probably the best translation method for you. They’re cost-effective and translation services can quickly produce them. As a plus, they make your video accessible for hearing-impaired audiences in other countries. The downside of subtitles is that they disrupt the viewing experience by filling the bottom of the screen.

The easiest and fastest way to create subtitles is by using a translation service. These companies will take your video file, translate your script, and create caption files for you to add to your video. Here are a few services to consider:

  • Rev.com
    • Overview: Quick turnaround time and affordable but has a somewhat limited language selection. We use Rev.com for our subtitles.
    • Price: $1.00-$7.00 per minute, depending on the language
    • Delivery time: 24-hour turnaround time
    • Accuracy: 99% accuracy
    • Languages: 15+ languages: Spanish, Dutch, Korean, Arabic, French, Polish, Chinese Simplified, German, Portuguese (Brazil), Chinese Traditional, Italian, Russian, Czech, Japanese, and Turkish 
  • GoTranscript
    • Overview: Supports a large number of languages but is more expensive and takes more time.
    • Price: Starts at $7.50 per minute
    • Delivery time: 1-3 day turnaround
    • Accuracy: 99% accuracy
    • Languages: 30+ languages: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indian (Gujarati), Indian (Hindi), Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luxembourgish, Malay, Nepali, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian , Simplified Chinese, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukraine, and Vietnamese.

These subtitle services give you accurate captions within a few days or less, so global audiences can watch your video in no time.

Audio

Along with subtitles, re-recording your video’s narration and dialogue is another way to translate your video. Compared to subtitles, translated audio makes for a more seamless viewing experience, as your audience can watch the entire video screen without needing to pay attention to text. That said, lip syncing your video to match new audio can be challenging.

Unless you know someone who speaks the target language and have good quality audio recording equipment, you’ll probably need to hire voice actors to professionally re-record your audio. There are a number of reputable online voice-over markets that make it easy to discover actors who speak your target language:

  • VoiceBunny
    • Overview: VoiceBunny represents over 28,000 actors who cover more than 50 languages.
    • Price: Varies by actor (check out their price estimator)
    • Delivery time: 6 hours, on average
  • Voices.com
    • Overview: Allows you to request auditions for free and can secure voice recordings in over 100 languages.
    • Price: Varies by actor (check out their price estimator)
    • Delivery time: Typically a few hours
      If you opt to create an audio translation, keep in mind that these voice talent markets will not translate the text for you. If you don’t have a new transcription, you’ll need to use one of the subtitle companies to translate your text first.
  • Voiver
    • Overview: Based on actors’ individual rates rather than a bidding system or quotes.
    • Price: Varies by actor
    • Delivery time: Typically 24 hours or less

Vyond audio translation tip: When you upload your translated audio to your video, you can lip sync your Vyond characters to the new recording with just a few clicks. Animated characters in Vyond can lip sync to any language.

Localization

Localization is the most comprehensive way to translate your video. Beyond just making your video understandable in another language, localization generates a translation that accounts for nuanced cultural and regional references.

Because it’s such an in-depth process, localization is typically carried out by professional translation companies. These services will translate your script, manage the re-recording process, and edit your video as needed to match the new language and the location of the intended audience.

Localization is a significant investment, so most organizations plan whether they’re going to use a localization service before creating their original video. If you plan on using a localization service, here are a few production tips to keep in mind:

  • Refrain from using cultural references and/or jokes that won’t ‘translate’ into other cultural or geographic contexts.
  • Refrain from, or limit, using on-screen text. Asking your video localization company to replace this text is a time-consuming and costly process.
  • Consider using only voice-over narration, or more voice-over narration than on-screen dialogue. This will minimize issues with dubbing.
  • Limit the amount of speakers in your video in order to keep costs down.

Once you’ve created your original video content, the next step is to find the right localization service for your organization. Here are a few recommendations to guide you through the selection process:

  1. Research localization companies with an eye for services that specialize in your industry. Here are a few localization service suggestions:
      • Translations.com. A subsidiary of one of the biggest names in the translation services industry (TransPerfect), Translations.com is a leading provider for translation and localization services, with 90 offices worldwide and voice-over talent in over 170 languages.
      • APT Transtelex. Headquartered in the UK, APT is a full-service translation agency with specialist linguists for every major sector of industry.
      • InWhatLanguage. With customized translation services ranging from machine translations to expert human translations, InWhatLanguage may be the most budget-friendly translation provider on this list.
  2. Write a descriptive brief that outlines your localization criteria for your video. Submit this brief to localization services so they can estimate how much the video translation project will cost. To create Vyond’s explainer video, for example, our company let localization services know that we wanted the pronunciation of ‘Vyond’ to remain the same across all languages. We also included that we wanted a peppy, yet professional female speaker.
  3. Finalize your project terms in writing. Review and sign a contract before any work begins to make sure you’re committing to the right projects.
  4. Request samples from voice artists before any recording begins. Even if you don’t understand what they’re saying, you might have input on the tone or clarity of the actor.

Here’s an example of one of our localized videos:

English Italian

Beyond these steps, the service you choose will handle the rest of the localization process—translating the text, recording and engineering the audio, and integrating the audio into your video. Watching a fully translated video created through localization, foreign audiences will be able to deeply connect to your company’s content.

Vyond localization tip: As a Vyond customer, you can reduce the cost of localization by handling several aspects yourself. Vyond Studio makes it easy to integrate new audio, rotate your cast, and update locations.

Connect with audiences through video translation

Organizations are equipped to build global followings. At the same time, organizations everywhere are finding it necessary to provide content that meets the needs and languages of their globalized workforces. With audiences forming all over the world, video translation is more important than ever before. Find a video translation method with this guide that fits your organization’s needs. Using our breakdown of processes, you can find a way to translate your videos that matches your unique budget and time constraints.