Video Translation for Indian Languages Made Easy
January 11, 2024

Video Translation for Indian Languages Made Easy

Streaming media platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar are all the rage in India today. It is one of the main reasons for the increased demand for video translation into and from Indian languages.

Indians being hooked on to YouTube is another factor. At the very least, every Indian who is online watches one video per month on YouTube. On YouTube, too, regional language content is the most-watched.

The surge in over the top (OTT) content consumption and video, in general, is primarily driven by the near-ubiquitous Internet connectivity and smartphone usage.

Types of video translations

Transcription, subtitling, voice-over, and dubbing are the different approaches you can take to translate videos.

1. Transcription is the process of converting speech to text in the same language. It is often the first step in subtitling or dubbing. It’s easier for translators to work off the transcription than translate directly by watching the video.


There can be basic or full transcriptions. A basic transcript would capture only the dialogue spoken by the actors on the screen. In full transcription, non-verbal action like a telephone ringing or a door thudding shut would be included.

Transcripts are required by law in some countries to ensure the video is accessible to people who cannot hear or have some auditory learning problems.

Transcripts also help you understand what the video is about if you watch a video outdoors or in a noisy environment.

Before creating a transcript, timestamps have to be inserted so that the transcripts are synced to what’s being said on the screen. It also segments the transcripts and is helpful if you need to edit a transcript at 5:10, for example, quickly.

Transcripts are of two types: closed and open. Closed transcripts, also known as closed captioning (CC), refer to transcript files separate from the video file. The viewer can turn them on and off. As they are separate files, they are easy to edit. Usually, these are used on streaming media channels like YouTube.

Open captions are burned or hardcoded into the video file. They cannot be edited separately. Instead, video editing software will be required to make any changes to the transcript. Open captions are usually used in television programs or if the audience would find it difficult to handle closed captions.

2. Subtitling refers to translating the speech in the video to another language. It’s often a more creative process than direct transcription, as the translator has to make sure that the meaning translates well across languages while keeping the restrictions of screen space in mind. That is, the content has to be localized and not merely translated.


Subtitling is not an easy skill to find among linguists. It becomes especially difficult when you have to subtitle for audiences that are culturally quite far apart from each other. They may not share common body language, mannerisms, sense of humour, and other familial and social values. The subtitler has to be a native speaker of the target language but must also be very proficient in the source language to get the essence of the dialogue. Then, they must translate it succinctly so that it fits on the screen and makes sense to the audience.

3. In voice-over, a translated audio file is layered on top of the original audio file of the video.

4. Dubbing is when the translation of the original dialogue is carefully matched to the lip movements of the speakers in the video. It is usually used in movies, television programs, and the like where a high quality of voice is required.

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Video translation preferences of Indians

According to a YouGov survey in 2019, 72% of Indian video consumers prefer watching subtitled content to dubbed versions while viewing the content in languages they cannot understand. However, regional differences also exist: South Indian viewers are more likely to opt for subtitles while their North Indian counterparts prefer dubbing.

It’s a good idea to know your users’ preferences if you want to do some targeted video marketing.

Indian Languages

Languages in demand for subtitling and dubbing

Again, there are regional preferences here, but in general, the languages listed below are primarily in demand for video translation in India:

  • Hindi (hi)
  • English (en)
  • Bengali (bn)
  • Marathi (mr)
  • Telugu (te)
  • Tamil (ta)
  • Gujarati (gu)
  • Kannada (kn)
  • Odia (or)
  • Malayalam (ml)

Subtitles in English for Bollywood movies are hugely popular. Hence we have included it in the above list. It’s popular among the diaspora, plus it also enables further translation into languages such as Chinese, Arabic, or Spanish, which command very lucrative markets. The phenomenal overseas success of Dangal being a case in point.

Use of technology in video localization and translation

Transcription, subtitling, and dubbing can be automated with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). Braahmam’s partner, Mediawen, offers a powerful cloud-based portal to manage the automation and translation of all your video assets.

Cloud Technology for Translation

Here’s why you should choose the Braahmam-Mediawen solution for video translation in Indian languages:

  • It’s a one-stop-shop for all your video translation projects. Whether it’s transcription, subtitling, or dubbing, everything can be managed and automated on one platform. You can create or customize workflows as you prefer. You can also work with different content types like media, e-learning, training, marketing, corporate videos, and more.
  • It’s extremely secure. Your files can be viewed by anyone you give access to, but they cannot download the files.
  • The transcripts can be automatically generated using speech-to-text conversion technology. Once the transcripts are done, they can be translated and subtitled using machine translation (MT). The translated content can be edited if a certain quality is required.
  • You can use Mediawen’s MT engine, which supports major Indian languages. If you are already using an MT service from another provider,  you can plug it directly into the portal on request.
  • The tool offers options to automate timestamping. It saves much time as it can be tedious to do it manually.
  • The tool supports Indian language fonts so that they don’t get corrupted on different display systems. It also has a powerful editor that can format the captions in the required colour, font type, size, and position on the screen.
  • The AI system keeps learning from the edits the linguists make. Hence, subsequent quality is improved, and less editing is required.
  • Professional translation can also be done on the portal if the project calls for a high level of creativity. Leverage the expertise of Braahmam’s experienced linguists to create subtitles that resonate with your audience.
  • You can assign different roles to users and give them rights accordingly. You can also view the exact status of the project at any time, thus providing complete transparency into the project.

The demand for Indian language video translation is only picking up. This is the right time for you to choose the right language and technology partner to handle the entire project from start to finish on time and at the expected quality. With the use of tech solutions, the project remains within your budget, too.

Photos from unsplash

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