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    How to translate video for the global audience: a brief guide

    Julia Ventskovska
    CEO MK:TRANSLATIONS 29.03.2023
    How to translate video for the global audience: a brief guide

    In the world where business seeks to scale, it is extremely important to address the audience in their native language. Thus, the issue “How to translate video” is becoming an increasingly popular tool, assisting companies to enter new markets, increase sales and to gain an international brand reputation.

    What is video translation and how can companies implement it effectively? And is a video translator worth using? The guide will prove the importance of video content translation and adaptation, and explain how to do it right.

    Read also: Non-obvious Tools for Entering Foreign Markets

    What is video translation and localization

    Video localization is a wider process than translation. It provides the content, language and cultural references adaptation to make it suitable and attractive to the audience of different regions and markets. An important localization step is translation of the original video script, adding localized subtitles or voiceover in another language or dialect.

    Video localization is essential for companies and brands operating in the global market, as this allows communicating with the target audience more effectively and increases the chance of succeeding in different countries.

    Benefits of video localization

    • Video localization helps companies to enter new markets, attract a large audience when speaking their language and considering the local cultural preferences.
    • The adapted video content ensures better interaction with the customers and facilitates understanding. The audience gains a more personalized and relevant experience that increases its satisfaction and loyalty.
    • The companies spending time and efforts on the localized content creation demonstrate that they take care of their customers and are ready to do their best to satisfy their demands. Thus, the brand image and reputation increase.
    • Creating localized videos, businesses have the possibility to conquer new markets with ease, widen their customer base and gain profit growth.

    What kind of video content is subject to localization

    Video localization can be used for different objectives, from marketing and advertising to entertainment and education. Any video aimed at use by the global audience or posted in a certain language or culture can be localized to increase its relevance and influence.

    • Commercials

    Advertisers often localize their content to attract local customers and create a more personalized experience. This covers the change of language, visual elements or cultural references in the advertisement according to the target market preferences and tastes.

    • Films and TV-shows

    Film studios and TV networks use localization to satisfy the native speakers of different languages. Usually, the adaptation process consists of producing subtitles and dubbing content in the local language, correcting cultural references and idioms. But, it can even affect the change of the character name or settings according to the local context.

    • Video for distance learning and online courses

    Educational institutions, training companies and educational platforms order localization to make their products more available and attractive to the audience all over the world. Depending on the subject of the educational material and market cultural peculiarities, separate sections, graphs, charts, examples and statistical data may require adaptation.

    • Corporate video

    This content type is intended to communicate the company’s mission, vision and values to its employees, customers and stakeholders. Video localization will help companies to make their message more relevant and influential for the audiences from different regions, language communities or cultures.

    • Video for social networks

    With the social networks, commercials have become an integral part of the digital marketing strategy. Brands use localization on social networks to increase the audience coverage, satisfy native speakers of different languages and create a more personalized experience.

    Generally speaking, any video, whether intended for a global and regional audience, can benefit from localization. Adapting content, language and cultural references to the target market, companies improve their influence and audience engagement.

    Read also: Challenges in games localization and bringing to Chinese market

    Video localization process

    Video localization consists of several steps.

    • Script translation

    The first step in video localization is translation of the original script into the target language. This implies text adaptation to grammar, syntax and cultural peculiarities of the local language, to make it more available and attractive for the target audience.

    • Sound voicing, dubbing or creating subtitles

    This step consists of recording new soundtracks in another language over the original video. For this, you will need to find voice acting actors or dubbing performers that will meet the original tone and emotions. Thus, the localized version will become equally authentic and attractive as the original one.

    Producing subtitles consists of adding the translated text that appears on the screen below or above the video. It helps if dubbing is impossible or preserving the original actor’s voice is crucial for the video perception.

    • Video editing and adapting

    At this step, visual elements and content are changed to make them more relevant and attractive to the target audience. Changing the video’s colour palette, adding and removing scenes or even changing the whole story or storyline according to the local context is possible.

    Tips for effective video localization

    • Understand the local culture

    When localizing video, it is important to understand the cultural nuances and sensitivity of the local audience. Visual elements, language and messages of the video should be adapted to avoid audience offence or alienation.

    For example, Coca-Cola launched its “Share a Coca-Cola” campaign in China; the brand changed its message to encourage people to share their drink with their family members instead of friends, as family values are more important in Chinese culture.

    • Adapt to the local languages and dialects

    Besides the script translation, it is important to consider the dialects and idioms to make video more available and convenient for the audience.

    For example, when “Lion King” was released in Japan, the script was adapted, taking into account Japanese culture and folklore: the song “Hakuna Matata” in Swahili was replaced with the Japanese equivalent.

    The popular South Korean film “Parasites” had English subtitles for international release that allowed viewers from all over the world to enjoy the film without any prejudice towards its originality.

    • Set up the tone and style

    It is very important to adapt the video’s tone and style according to the target market preferences, for example, using humor or emotions that resonate with the audience.

    For example, when IKEA released its “Lamp” advertisement in Thailand, the brand added some local tone using the popular Thai comedian. This made the advertisement more attractive to the audience.

    Why video translator online shouldn’t be used

    In recent years, video translator is becoming an increasingly popular means of video content localization. This tool uses real-time machine translation.

    However, though video translator may seem a fast and convenient solution, there are several reasons for companies to avoid it for video localization.

    • Accuracy

    This is one of the major problems of online video translator. Due to the imperfection of machine translation, there is a great risk of incorrect translations in terms of grammar, inaccurate or just meaningless translations. This can cause confusion and failure to understand, negatively affecting the content perception by the viewers.

    • Context

    Another significant problem of machine translation is its inability to understand context. Video often has cultural references, idioms and other nuances unique to a certain language or region. It is difficult for machine translation to convey these nuances accurately, which causes loss of meaning or cultural sensitivity.

    • Cultural peculiarities

    Video translator may not take into account cultural differences typical for the target audience. This may cause a misunderstanding that will adversely affect the company’s image.

    • Poor quality of sound

    Video localization provides not only speech translation, but ensures a sound quality that meets the target language. Video translator online may lack the means to solve sound quality problems. This causes the sound poor quality and makes video ineffective.

    • Legal consequences

    Using a video translator for content localization can have legal consequences. There is a risk that the company will have to be responsible for inaccurate translation that may prejudice or damage the target audience.


    Video localization has become an important part of global business strategies that help businesses to enter new markets and communicate with customers in their language. Due to the right process and approach, companies can create effective video content that resonates with the local audience, improves the interaction with the customers and increases profits. Following the tips from this guide, you will have confidence in the success and effectiveness of your video localization efforts.

    Read also: Localization in Metaverse

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