The VP of Marketing called you into her office this morning to announce the news: you’re in charge of creating a promotional video for your company’s latest software release. No sweat — you’ve done these before. Hold on. She’s mentioning something about international markets. The video will be launched simultaneously in five languages: English, Chinese, Korean, French and Spanish. You try to curb your surprise as you save your notes, mutter something that sounds intelligent about being “on it” and retreat to your desk. This is definitely unchartered territory for you.
When faced with their first video or multimedia translation project, most people react with a bit of apprehension. After all, voiceover, dubbing, script translation, lip-synch—all of these concepts seem daunting to the uninitiated.
But the first, and most important thing, and really only thing, you need know is that a video translation agency can handle just about all of the heavy-lifting for you. Your most essential task will be to select the right partner for the quality you’d like to achieve. So put away your Chinese Rosetta Stone lessons and take a glance at these five areas of expertise to consider when selecting a video translation partner.
1. Tools. Multimedia is a large and diverse category encompassing audio, video and eLearning. A multitude of different tools can be used to adapt these formats to other language markets. Your video translation partner should be well versed in all of them.
2. Cultural considerations. Since video is primarily a visual medium, it’s important to review and vet your imagery at the beginning of a project to ensure that it’s culturally appropriate for your markets. Your translation partner should understand the cultural undertones of icons, colors, numbers, hand gestures and symbols and have an in-depth knowledge of your target markets.
3. Experience with many languages. You’ll want more than an expert multimedia engineer to handle your video translation project. Your partner should have extensive experience in navigating the challenges that come with localizing into a wide variety of languages. Translated scripts are generally longer than the originals, which can cause synching issues, and for Asian and bidirectional languages, there may be additional encoding issues to work out. Also, these languages tend to shrink and become illegible so subtitling becomes a delicate operation.Your partner should be prepared ahead of time for these hurdles and demonstrate a good track record with synchronizing voice to image across many languages.
4. Voice talent. When choosing the right voice talent for each of your target languages, you’ll want a partner with access to a highly-qualified talent pool of artists. They should take the time to understand your company voice and culture and pair you with artists that fit the profile in terms of age, gender, style and accent.
5. Quality. It’s best to pick a translation partner that can produce high-quality voice recordings the first time around, eschewing the need for expensive studio costs. Your engineers will probably still need to edit your files, but less work will be required if your assets are high quality. One caveat: Sometimes high-end studios are required, but most of the time this is not necessary to achieve the quality that you are looking for.
If you’re ready to get started, contact us for more information on our quality-oriented video translation process.
Photo Credit: Laura Lee Moreau