Localizing Multimedia (Choose Your Own Adventure)
Translating web and media content can sometimes feel like one of those choose-your-adventure books. Choices early on impact results down the road and each step in the process presents new choices and challenges.
So to help you navigate the maze of options for translating content, we’ve put together a series of choose-your-own-adventures. At each step, we share the best practices for the translation process and the questions you should keep in mind to help you make decisions.
Situation 1: The case of the captions
Custom Paper Clips Ltd is a small company hoping to extend their client base into China. They want to localize a series of videos for a social media campaign to advertise their products, and they have a small budget for translation. In order to localize the campaign for their Chinese customers, their videos need to have:
A) No captions. The graphics and well-lit pictures of paper clips speak for themselves!
C) Voiceover audio dubbed onto the original videos
Since CPC Ltd has chosen to do a social media campaign, captions are strongly recommended. Captions help their differently abled audience members access the material, and gets their message across to viewers who watch autoplay videos without sound.
After considering the pros and cons of voiceovers, CPC Ltd decides that for their project constraints, subtitling is the best choice. Subtitling allows them to achieve high-quality localization within their budget and create a polished campaign without lags between the language and images. As an added benefit, the subtitles can increase campaign SEO and extends their reach even further.
Because Chinese expressions are often different lengths than their English counterparts, the voiceover in Chinese doesn’t match what the English actor’s mouth is doing. Venga engineers could take more time to edit the voiceovers and videos, but the company’s budget doesn’t allow for the extra tweaks. After learning about the drawbacks of voiceover for their project, CPC Ltd decides to use subtitles instead.
Situation 2: How local do you go?
Food Deliveries Inc. Is launching their online platform and service into Spain and Germany. They have a marketing video that has done great in their current market of the United Kingdom and they want to copy that success by adapting and using in their new target markets as well. They have a very well developed brand voice and want to make sure the localized video keeps their style.
B) Voice-over plus captions
C) Cultural adaptation
The Marketing team decided that their video was universal enough that subtitling it would be sufficient. While it might not create the same impact as hearing the message in the targets own language, with limited time and budget this was the as far as they wanted to go with their first video.
The Food Deliveries team consults with Venga to select the best voice-over talent that matches the tone of their brand. Their finished video is able to reach both the people who dislike reading subtitles and it is viable for social media and other channels where captioning is a must. Their video may still slightly feel like it was created by a UK company, but there are no barriers to prevent their new target markets from receiving their message.
Venga’s Global Creative Services team sets up a cultural briefing with Food Deliveries’ marketing team to understand the core message, tone, and values the brand wants to convey. They then work with in-country experts to adapt the video itself so that it will create that emotional connection and feel like it was created for the target markets from the beginning.
Both of these companies spent time thinking about their needs and consulting with Venga translators, and in the end, chose the best option for their particular projects. The specifics may vary depending on your project, but we think there are two best practices in the scenarios that apply to everyone. It’s always a good idea to consider your audience’s needs when deciding how to caption and determine how much creative adaptation is needed to create an emotional connection.
See part 2 of our series Localizing Sales Demos (Choose your own adventure) or part 3 Localizing Web Content (Choose your own adventure).