Video Translation for Global Brands: Tips to Reduce Costs

In a world where we are all such expert multitaskers, getting people’s attention is becoming more and more difficult. The written word always carries a certain fascinating appeal, it’s true (as language lovers we’re the first to say that!), however videos are the medium of the future.

Video content is literally everywhere, and is extremely effective at getting the message across, regardless of who the audience is. It’s quicker, punchier and more straight-to-the-point than written copy.

It’s for this reason that in recent years there has been an increased need to localise video content. Read on to learn more about video translation and to find out how you can localise video content while at the same time keeping the process cost-effective.


Approaches to video translation

Video advertising is extremely popular amongst major brands, and the way in which video content is localised can vary depending upon a number of factors.

The nature of the video, the target audience and the budget all play a role in determining the most effective approach to video localisation.

While subtitling might prove cheaper, it is definitely not appropriate for certain types of video. Imagine, for example, localising a video aimed at children.

Even if they are able to read, the speed at which they can do this might be slower than an adult. In such a scenario, subtitling the video would not be the best choice.

The risk is that the audience will actually become uninterested in the content – and this is clearly not what we are aiming for! So in this case, voiceover or dubbing will be the best way to go.

For brief online content aimed at an older audience, on the other hand, subtitling might be an effective approach. But that’s not it yet! Some other aspects besides target audience and budget should be taken into account in order to achieve the best results.

For example, ask yourself: what is featured visually in your video? If a video already contains a fair amount of on-screen text, subtitling might be too demanding on the audience. Nowadays as an audience we want to learn things as fast and as easily as possible; and so finding yourself overwhelmed by too much information to absorb over a relatively narrow amount of time is not what we would appreciate in a video.

Another of the criteria to use when deciding which approach to opt for is the target market. It is well-known that some countries have a strong preference for either subtitling or dubbing/voiceover when it comes to video translation. And we certainly don’t want to disappoint their expectations!


Top challenges of video translation

Once you have established the best approach for the localisation of your video, be it subtitling, voiceover or dubbing, the actual (hard) work begins!


Imagine that the script of your video is short and catchy. Translating the script itself poses a problem, as language expansion might affect the quality of the localisation.

If you choose subtitling, you want to avoid a lengthy translation because it will prove a distraction for the audience. Similarly, if you opt for voiceover or dubbing, you will need to bear in mind that there are still some timing restrictions to respect.

So what’s the next step? Here at Creative we deal with the challenges of video localisation daily, and we have learnt that transcreation is usually the way to go.

Transcreation is definitely the best choice for advertising translation in general; and this is all the more true when we are dealing with video content. Conveying the message of the source copy as effectively and as briefly as the original text is usually only possible if a creative approach has been taken.

Legal and cultural elements

There are also various legal restrictions to consider before translating and localising video advertising. It’s not legal, for example, to advertise some products in certain countries. Moreover, whatever claims you are making about your product must be backed up by substantial evidence in order to be in your ad.

And even when you have managed to work your way through all of the laws and caveats (high five!), you’re still only around halfway through, since there are many cultural aspects to take into account.

For example, you will need to make sure that the visual content in your video is suitable for the specific market you’re aiming at. If you’re using voiceover, it is essential to choose an actor who resonates with the brand as well as the identity and preferences of the target audience.


Cost-effective video advertising translation

How is it possible to overcome all of the issues involved in video translation? The first piece of advice is definitely to consult language professionals. With the help of experts in translation services, it is much easier to achieve a high quality product without breaking the bank.

Something that always proves cost-effective is to plan ahead, by creating your script with localisation in mind. For example, try to make the speed of the English text a moderate one. This will allow for language expansion and as a result the quality of the translated video will not be compromised.

Planning ahead also means trying to avoid last-minute changes, which can result in additional costs and might negatively impact the overall final result.

In addition, it might be helpful to have some spare footage and different takes to hand, in case some are not usable or preferable for certain markets. High-resolution material is also necessary to avoid high conversion costs.

These and many other techniques are effective for creating a high quality final product while staying within budget. And it’s only when assisted by professional translation agencies specialised in video translation, like we are here at Creative, that you will be able to make your video speak loudly and clearly in any given language.

If you are looking to localise video advertising and are unsure of which approach to choose, or if you simply need some advice from friendly experts (that’s us!), call us on +44 (0)207294 7710 or email us at and we will be happy to help.


Photo Credit: welcomia via iStock