Multimedia Localization: A Brief Overview

welocalize November 2, 2022

The average adult watches over five hours of TV and video content each day. We’re surrounded by visual, interactive, and immersive content that we access on multiple devices, wherever we are in the world.

Multimedia can be the most effective (and entertaining) way to connect with and influence international audiences. Localizing audio, video, ads, animations, and e-learning materials to suit local tastes, languages, and cultures is an integral part of any global business strategy. Adapting the audio and visual elements can make brands and businesses more accessible and create the right emotional connection with global customers.

Multimedia is all about the language of your target audience. Therefore, anything part of the user experience needs to be localized. This means everything a user might see or hear, including audio, video, images, sounds, subtitles, on-screen text, and the documents linked to the video.

There are several key areas and skills in multimedia localization:

Video and Audio Localization

“If you speak to the man in the language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”- Nelson Mandela.

A carefully executed video strategy can increase your conversion rates by over 80%, but it takes more than just creating compelling videos to achieve this. The importance of video doesn’t mean audio is any less critical. Studies show that poor audio quality has a negative impact on how viewers perceive your video, even when the video quality is of the highest quality.

Script Transcription and Translation

If you’re working with video, transcription is often the first step in your localization process. You need to transcribe the video verbatim and then translate it. Once the translation is in place, a native speaker needs to have a look at it and make necessary changes to ensure current language and cultural references.

Subtitling and On-Screen Text (OST)

The use of subtitles is increasing when considering targeting multilingual audiences with video content. This can be a cost-effective way to do this. Subtitles and closed captions display the text on the screen in the local language for easy understanding. You can increase the effectiveness of the subtitles by avoiding literal translations and adapting your subtitles to the language and culture of your target audience. OST works to recreate graphics and overlay text, often found in training materials.

Voice-Over and Dubbing

Voice-over refers to spoken text in audio-visual media, whereas dubbing refers to recording new voices in a different language. If you’re on a tight budget or have less time, you can opt for voice-overs. However, dubbing serves you better if you want an enriching experience for your users.

Importance of Localization in Global E-Learning

If you’re looking to educate global audiences, training and course materials and videos need to be available in more than one language. E-learning materials are often videos, animations, and interactive quizzes. This can make localization complex, juggling voice-over, subtitling, and graphics can require specialist localization engineering. Read more in this Welocalize guide, Localizing the E-Learning Experience

Importance of Good Localization Engineering

Localization engineering involves planning and executing a workflow for exporting, translating, and reintegrating content and metadata for websites, e-learning modules, multimedia content, or software applications.

A localization engineer ensures your team follows the correct process, uses the apt translation tools, and has the localization best practices in place before starting the translation process. Localization engineers form a bridge between product, localization, and engineering, so the translation process always goes smoothly.

Sound localization engineering saves time and costs down the line.

Welocalize has ranked 9th globally as one of the top language services providers in the world specialized in multimedia localization services 2022 by CSA Research, an independent research and market intelligence organization in the language industry.

Learn more about Welocalize multimedia localization here. Or get in touch with us and let us know how we can help you with your multimedia localization needs. Meet our Multimedia Manager, Michael Anderson, and hear his top pick for reaching international audiences with multimedia and e-learning.

Further Reading:

Top Ten Tips to Successfully Localize Multimedia Content

Popular Multimedia and Localization Techniques used for Global Learning

How Multimedia is Changing the Way We Reach Global Audiences