How does Video and Audio Translation help to Reach a Global Audience?
May 17, 2023

How does Video and Audio Translation help to Reach a Global Audience?

Digital marketing through the use of audio and video localization has quickly emerged as an incredibly useful tool for reaching a global audience. As a human it is much easier to acquire information using our senses and for that reason it is unsurprising that you can get much more information from a short video clip, rather than through a well-written paragraph.

The statistics are also very telling, with around a hundred million concurrent viewers around the globe. Snapchat and Facebook have reported that they record 14 billion video views a day. The video platform YouTube has recorded over 2 billion people that log-in to the site every month, with users watching over a billion hours of video a day. If these statistics do not seem impressive, consider that it has been reported that by 2022, 80% of all internet traffic will be video related. Most of these users come from outside of the US and as such it is logical that a lot of international customers are browsing for products online.

Digital video marketing has been shown to have a conversion rate of 80%, meaning that the age of video marketing is here to stay. Marketing research has also shown that videos produce 66% more qualified leads per year and a 54% increase in brand awareness. Online video is experiencing incredible growth and as such, new challenges will emerge for brands and marketers as they attempt to use this gold rush for their own marketing strategy. Localisation is one of these challenges and it marks an important step for these videos to be as effective as possible. Making a viral video in your own market is one thing, but to get your message across in other markets is another story. It has been said that locally targeted content has six times more engagement than content designed for a global market. Video localization goes back as far as the beginning of film, with Hollywood films being spread everywhere from China to South America. When done properly, a localized video can be as engaging for the consumer as the original. This clearly shows the potential for video and audio localization as a tool for reaching a global market and boosting visibility, as it enables you to increase your marketing reach through showing your videos to a wider audience.
The following will walk you through the basics of video and audio localisation.

Video Localization – Basics

To become familiar with the process of localization for videos, the first step is to learn the vocabulary related to video translation and localization. At the most basic level, in video localisation the visual aspect of the video remains the same (as long as there is no cultural clashes) and it is only the audio which gets localised. Audio localisation on the other hand is the process of taking recorded sound content and adapting it to a specific market. This often includes language translation.

Data suggests that many countries prefer localised videos. France and Germany, for example generally prefer dubbing. Belgium and Norway on the other hand prefer subtitles. The following is a list of video localisation terminology, which includes everything that you need to get started with localising video.

Audio Voiceover Recording

In this process the script is recorded by a native, with an authentic voice and is then integrated back into your video. There are several options for Audio Voiceover Recording, which can be adapted depending on your budget or plans:

• Dubbing

Dubbing is the most commonly used. Here the original English in the video in question gets replaced by a voice using the target language. Although this means that the audio will not be in sync with the English speakers’ lips, the voiceover is time stamped meaning that they begin and end speaking at the same time. As such, dubbing requires special attention in terms of timing. While the experience can feel more authentic to the consumer, you must consider the costs related to recording time, technical costs and turnarounds.

• Lip Synching

Similar to dubbing, this is a process where the words are lip-synched to the original speakers’ lips. This process is very complex and takes a long time, meaning it is also very expensive.

• UN Style Voiceover

Finally, here the English speaker’s volume is turned down when speaking and the target language is played over the top at a much higher volume. The original speaker will still be audible in the background, clarifying that the voiceover is a direct translation.


If your budget does not allow for the higher costs of voiceovers, subtitling is a cost-effective option. Here, the original audio gets transcribed into subtitles, which are easily readable for the viewer. Subtitles have also shown to increase the time spent watching by the viewer. They can be achieved in several ways:

• Translated Subtitles

Here, the original English script is translated into the target language and displayed at the bottom of the screen. Again, they are time-stamped to ensure they are relevant to what is shown on screen. The viewer does not have an option to disable them.

• Closed Captioning

For these subtitles, the viewer needs to enable them before they can be seen. They also include other elements such as sounds or music.

It is important to note that there is an increased demand for automated transcription and subtitling. These not only decrease the cost for video localization, but also enable the user to localize videos in a time efficient manner that does not include much manual intervention and human layering. Although this may be the case editing will still be required in most situations, as subtitle automation will never be completely accurate to the native language due to differences in idioms and terminology.

Basic tips for success:

• Make a plan: If you intend to add subtitles or dubbing, ensure that the content is fit for a wider audience. Ensure that the subtitles do not cover any important content.
• Proper translation: Ensure to get a good translator for dubbing, as a fumbled translation can make you look unprofessional.
• Note cultural differences: Something that may seem harmless in our culture may not be acceptable in others. Ensure that you inform yourself of cultural differences between our and the target audience before releasing any content there.
• Budget: Make sure you know your budget and include some of the more cost-effective methods mentioned above so you stay within your budget.
• Knowing your target audience: To produce content that works you need to understand that not all content is for everyone and understanding your target demographic can help you refine your content.

Things to avoid:

• Anything that may be deemed culturally sensitive should not be released.
• Do not add any links that may expire.
• Do not release improperly translated or transcribed content.

Final Thoughts

Video is here to stay since people tend to respond better to visual content than any other form of marketing. 90% of people say that videos help them with purchasing decisions and as such it is clear that video is a global phenomenon. In an ever increasingly online world, video localisation is a portal to the global market and allows you to link with international customers. Video localisation also improves brand visibility online and increases engagement with consumers, as a result it is clear that any business would do well to include original and localised video content in their market presence.

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