Multimedia Localization

Top 10 Tips for Multimedia Localization

Category: Multimedia

Streamline your project and drive your business into new language markets

Localizing your multimedia project can be a daunting task. With a bit of preparation, however, you can ease the translation process enormously. Here is our top-10 list of tips to keep in mind to help you avoid some common localization pitfalls when gearing up to take your Flash presentation, e-Learning modules or computer-based training video multilingual:

  1. Clean up your files. Define what needs to be translated, remove redundant items and clean up files for easy translation.
  2. Verify easy text extraction. Ensure that text can be easily extracted and reintegrated after translation. XML is often a good format.
  3. Keep animations adaptable. Animations should be easily adaptable to target languages and not specific to source language. Do not, for instance, animate each individual letter of a word, as those animations will need to be redone for each foreign language.
  4. Vector, not bitmap. Be aware of graphic objects in Flash whose size depends on the length of text strings — example: buttons with text labels. Using vector — as opposed to bitmap-based — objects ensures you can easily scale them to meet the new lengths of localized texts.
  5. Make audio cues flexible. When using audio cues, be sure that the cues automatically adjust according to longer or shorter translated audio.
  6. Include timing cues for audio dubbing. When preparing video for audio dubbing, include timing cues in the source language script for easier studio production and reintegration of localized audio.
  7. Keep synchronization adaptable. Synchronization of text such as closed captions with the audio should be easily adaptable for new languages, for example through the use of cues to prompt text movement.
  8. Finalize script before production. Be sure that the audio script is approved and final before audio production begins, as changes to the audio recording can be very costly to project schedule and budget.
  9. Be careful with your code. Hard-coded text will be slow and expensive to translate and form fields that cannot handle foreign characters will need to be redone. Analyze and fix your code up front to avoid costly troubleshooting later.
  10. Use universal graphics and icons. Avoid metaphorical uses of graphics and icons that may be specific to the source language, market or culture. For example, symbols such as a dollar sign, a key or a “thumb’s up” do not share a universal meaning.

A successfully translated multimedia piece can be the key to driving your business into new language markets. Arm yourself with a translation partner that knows how to navigate the cultural and technological challenges of taking your project multilingual. Check out our multimedia translation services or explore our portfolio to see how we can help you with your audio translation and multimedia translation needs.

Photo Credit: Drew Patrick Miller