7 Steps to Translate Video Without All the Hassle

March 9, 2021
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Translating video content can be unnecessarily complex…
How can you ensure that the process for creating videos for your international markets will be as easy and pain-free as possible?
Videos are a core part of any global content strategy these days. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 81% of businesses are now using video for their marketing and 90% of consumers claim a video will help them to make a purchasing decision.
If only the translation process wasn’t so complex!

Don’t start translating video by doing this

Why are video translation projects often so challenging?
Unfortunately, many international companies make a mistake right out of the gate…
They start by creating the original video content in their own language.
While creating the source content might seem like the logical first step, it ignores a simple fact: Translation as a process starts long before the source content is created.
If you create your videos without thinking about translation upfront, you can end up with elements “baked in” to the video that will affect the translation and then need to be unpicked.

A better approach to translating video

Video localization is far more effective if you start by assessing the video project for its translation needs.
As video is a type of multimedia content, translation for an international market means more than just translating the text. It encompasses various elements of the video and these need to be assessed upfront.
For this reason, it makes more sense to talk about “video localization” as translation is only one aspect of preparing a video for an international market.
Ideally, you should work through a process such as the one described below with your translation provider. A good provider will be able to identify aspects of the video and the process that will affect translation. They should also be able to provide action steps on how you can make the translation process smoother and reduce costs.

7 Steps to translate video without all the hassle

Here is a good process to follow when you are starting a new video translation project. Notice that most of these steps occur before the translation itself happens. If you are waiting until the source content has already been created, you are already too late to make significant improvements to your video localization process.
The steps to a successful video translation are:

1. Get clear on your localization goals

When we start working with a company, we always begin with their global content strategy. This is important because every piece of content that you create for your international markets will meet a particular strategic purpose. If we understand what our clients are trying to achieve with the video content, we can give them better recommendations about how to improve the process.
This should also be your first step when creating video with your translation provider.
Before you even think of starting video creation, get clear on your goals for the translated video content.
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2. Analyze the localization needs of the video

Not all videos will need the same level of localization. You may be able to reduce the requirements of particular videos and still achieve your goals. This can also reduce the cost of the translated video.
As I explained above, it’s best to go over these needs with your translation provider who should be able to offer suggestions about how to reduce the localization work if needed.

3. Identify elements to be localized

When you are clear on the localization needs, you should clarify exactly which elements of the video content will be localized.
At this stage, many people only consider translating the subtitles to the target language. However, this is often a mistake. Various aspects of a video’s visual content may also need to be localized, including images, iconography, and screenshots. There are several changes you can make to the source content that can reduce this work.

4. Streamline the process upfront

With your translation provider, sit down and work out how the translation process will run. It’s much easier and more effective to do this up front than to wait until the deadline for the video content is already looming and the work is already well underway.
During this step, you will hopefully find aspects of the process that can be streamlined. The provider should be able to offer suggestions at changes that will make the translations run more smoothly.

5. Create the video content

Finally! We reach the stage where you can create the video content in the original language.
Having done all of the right preparation work, this should be relatively straightforward. You will have already made any changes you need to make to the process so the project should go ahead without a hitch.

6. Deliver source content

Once the video content is ready, you can now deliver it to your translation provider. As you will have worked out the best delivery format for the content upfront, you and your team shouldn’t need to put in much extra engineering work to format this content for the provider.
The associated engineering work with video translations is often an area where companies have problems and the cost of video projects can spiral out of control. With just a little bit of prep work, these problems can be significantly reduced.

7. Integrate translations into content

The final step before you can release your video content to your international markets is to integrate the translations back into the video content.
If you have set up the process correctly upfront with your provider, this is another step that shouldn’t require much additional engineering work.
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Where to learn more tips for video localization

The process in this article is only the start. There are various other tips you can implement to streamline your video translation process even further.
Our free eBook Video Localization Best Practices provides a collection of hints and tips on how to translate video more effectively.
For example, it outlines one simple change to the source video content that can save you 90% of the cost of video translations.
Download a copy of the eBook below:

Best Practices for Video Localization

In this report, we share the lessons we’ve learned for creating high-quality videos that are easy to localize. Whether you work with audio, subtitles, graphics or tooling, learn how to translate video that resonates with a global audience.