Top 10 Tips To Successfully Localize Multimedia Content

welocalize June 25, 2021

Unsurprisingly, video content consumption is continuing to experience huge growth and development. Global lockdowns in 2020 caused demand for video to accelerate overnight.

To meet the demands of today’s digital savvy consumers, video and audio content is a must. Many tech providers have moved forward to develop video platforms: Instagram developed IGTV (Instagram TV) which allows creators to upload high quality long form video, Pinterest introduced Video Pins, and video sharing social media platform, TikTok – globally established in 2018 – now boasts one in six people in the US are active users.

Digital content is becoming more important than ever to entertain, educate, and inform. Leveraging video and audio content is a must for global brands.

And it’s fair to say that not only do consumers expect video content to be informative, engaging, and interactive, it must also be seamlessly translated, and importantly, fully localized. According to CSA Research, 65% of consumers prefer content in their native language.

There are numerous challenges and complexities associated with the seamless delivery of localized multimedia content (including e-learning). Here are our top 10 tips to help you get better results and engage global audiences with multilingual video and audio content.


1. Create content that is universal and can be used across all target markets

This avoids the requirement to source and integrate costly market specific content such as images and copy.

“For multimedia, always consider localization from the start. Changing the language is just the first step, then it’s followed by design and visual modifications.” – Michael Anderson, Senior Multimedia Engineer, Welocalize


2. Be aware of language expansion!

If the source is created in English, assume that the text and audio will generally expand when translated. Most languages are longer than English by about 15% – languages such as Russian take up to 40% more space! This should be taken into account when storyboarding, developing, and integrating components such as text boxes, graphics, and audio.


3. Before you start localization, ensure that all content is final

Failure to provide clean, final content can be costly. Ensuring you have completed source files will save time and money.


4. Allow extra time for voice-over language expansion 

When recording source audio, ensure that you allow extra time for voice-over language expansion through the use of pauses or a deliberately slower speaking pace. This will create space in a video to accommodate the longer localized audio.


5. Use appropriate music that will adapt seamlessly

If you are integrating music with spoken audio, ensure that the style of music is suitable and will adapt seamlessly to support an expanded localized voice over track. The use of music that supports the easy addition of loops is recommended.


6. Take care in the source when syncing an audio cue to a word

In the localized content, the word order may change, requiring costly re-creation of an animation to match the sync word. Consider syncing to a sentence or paragraph instead.


7. Use accurately timed audio scripts

This will keep voice over language expansion to a minimum. During translation, the timings help create translator awareness of the time limits available for the localized audio. If the translation is longer than the source, the voice artist can compensate with increased pace during the recording process. Failing this, there are post recording solutions available, such as the stretching of static scenes or the use of additional video edits to add cuts and make time.


8. Choose fonts carefully – in graphics, animations, and subtitles

Consider the target languages for localization and the associated character sets. Alternative fonts may need to be considered for some target languages, and it is best to consider this at the content development stage.


9. Accommodate subtitles in your videos

If using video subtitling, the source video should be prepared with the lower third of the screen free to accommodate the subtitles. The style of the subtitle in terms of font, layout, and colour should be agreed at the outset.


10. Be careful when integrating screenshots in a source video. 

These may need to be replaced with the localized versions. Equally, avoid the use of culturally specific graphics or images, as these may require expensive rework when being localized.


Want to know more about how to how to leverage multimedia to enhance your global customer experience? Watch our on-demand webinar with CSA Research, ​How Do You Provide Amazing Customer Experience?

For more information or support on localizing multimedia content, connect with us here.