Alex Owen-Hill, Author at Rubric | Page 2 of 2

October 12, 2020

We all know that video content is becoming a vital asset for almost every modern business.

Study after study has shown that video is more engaging than other content, more likely to drive sales, and more likely to be consumed by your customers and employees alike. According to Hubspot, 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.

But, how can you produce quality video content for your international markets efficiently?

There are so many moving parts in a video creation pipeline. Translation only makes the process even harder to manage and often a lot more expensive.

What’s more, it can feel like you have very little control over your video translation because you have to rely so much on external translation providers.

We all want to access the business benefits of video, but the difficulties that come with translation might leave you wondering…

Is video really worth it for my global business?

Is efficient translation just incompatible with video?

The challenges of translated video content are hard to ignore.

When you send your videos off to your translation provider, the translations often take ages to come back. When you finally receive them, your team needs to do a lot of extra engineering work to incorporate the translations back into your video content. Then, just when you thought the translated video was ready to go, your in-country reviewers come back with tons of revisions, changes, and complaints about the quality of the translation.

At this point, people often find themselves accepting one of the following three reactions:

  1. They suck it up and accept that creating translated videos can never be an efficient process, accepting the high cost and inefficiency.
  2. They decide not to translate videos in their international markets, reducing the consumer experience in those markets.
  3. They blindly jump between translation providers, hoping for one that will solve their problems.

Neither of these options is ideal.

A better solution is to get smart about how you are creating your source videos to make them more compatible with translation.

The unique reason that video is harder to translate

Text-only content is easy to translate.

Over the last decades, we have solved many of the challenges that previously held us back from translating text content efficiently.

One major reason that text is no longer a challenge to translate is due to the way that we consume text content differently than we did in the past. Back when content was primarily print-based, space and layout played a huge part. Translating the words would usually require you to change the layout of the content too, which added to the cost and complexity.

This is no longer the case.

These days, space is not an issue in most digital content. Your sales copy, training materials, and marketing content have an almost unlimited amount of space available to accommodate the differences between languages. Plus, there are plenty of ways to automatically replace the source content with the translated content.

This is not the case with translated video.

The restrictions imposed by video — in terms of space, duration, visual impact, etc — add a whole extra set of challenges when you’re creating translated content.

Sure, the words themselves are often easier to translate than with text-only content because there are fewer words to translate. But, the added engineering work and the required sophistication of the translation means that you have to follow a different set of rules than if you were just translating, say, a blog post like this one.

The 10 Rules of Video Content Creation for Translation

Here are 10 rules for creating video content that it is more compatible with translation:

1. Have a localization strategy that includes video

Your localization strategy is what will set you and your company apart from others in your market who are operating internationally. Instead of employing “ad-hoc” translations, your localization will be clear and targeted.

Ensure that video is part of your localization strategy from the start.

2. Ask yourself “Do I need translated audio?”

Some people believe that they always need to translate the audio in their videos or they won’t be high quality. However, translated audio (i.e. overdubbing) isn’t always the right solution and can add significantly to the complexity of the video production.

Be clear on the strategic value of translated audio.

3. Optimize the source content first

Too often, we see companies that are wasting a huge amount of their budget unnecessarily because they view translation as an add-on cost at the end of their video creation process. With a few tweaks to their source content, they can often save a lot on the translations and the post-translation engineering.

When you optimize the source content, the translation will be much easier to manage.

4. Keep on-screen text to a minimum

The more text content in the video, the more engineering work you will need to do to integrate the translations into the video. Whilst you will probably need at least some on-screen text, try to keep it to a minimum.

Every step that reduces translation-related engineering can save you money.

5. Leave enough space for longer languages

Many languages occupy more space when communicating a sentiment than is needed in English to communicate the same sentiment. As a result, you should leave more space in the video for written content and longer gaps in the audio content to accommodate these differences.

It’s a good idea to add extra whitespace whenever you will translate a piece of content.

6. Be aware of all cultural differences

Words are only part of the translation process. If you want to properly localize your video content for your international markets, you also need to pay attention to cultural differences that affect other aspects of the video. These might include images, iconography, music, cultural norms, etc.

A good translation provider should be able to help you navigate these other aspects of localization.

7. Be smart about how you use graphics

Graphics are a core part of any video. How you use graphics within your videos can strongly affect the translation process. For example, if you feature software screenshots within the video, using a technique like Simplified User Interfaces can drastically reduce the amount of text that needs to be translated.

Be smart about how you use graphics in your videos.

8. Use localization-friendly tools

There are a plethora of tools that you could use to improve your content workflow. Video creation tools, CRMs, team communication tools,… the list goes on and on. Only some of these will be compatible with translation. The others may require complex workarounds.

Try to pick tools that are easy to integrate with the translation process.

9. Fit translation into your existing workflow

Companies often view translation as an extra, separate step after their own content workflow. This mindset can lead them to miss out on opportunities to improve efficiency further upstream. For example, it may be possible to start the video translation earlier in your workflow, saving you time and effort later on in the process.

Look at translation as a core part of your content creation process, not just an add-on at the end.

10. Have a translation supplier that can do the engineering

With video, most of the work involved in translation is the associated engineering. Examples include extracting the source content to be translated from the videos you have created and later integrating the translations back into the video. To make your life significantly easier, find a translation provider that offers the associated engineering as part of their service.

Unlike many other translation providers, here at Rubric we specialize in streamlining the engineering that surrounds video production. We’re able to take a lot of that work off your plate.

Learn more about video localization best practices

Want to learn more about video localization and see some specific examples of how these rules work in practice?

In our guide Best Practices for Video Localization you will learn actionable tips to reduce the cost of video localization. Download the guide

August 8, 2020

As a manufacturer operating in the digital world, there are many videos you could create for your business. Training videos, product videos, marketing videos, onboarding videos… the list goes on and on. 

And videos are increasingly required across the industry. According to one survey, 81% of manufacturers already incorporate video into their marketing strategy. Within a few years, it is predicted that the majority of internet traffic will be video. 

The problem comes when you need to serve that video to international markets. 

How do you translate so many videos in a cost-effective way?

How can you ensure they remain on-brand in your other languages?

How will you know that the translated videos actually work?

In our experience, manufacturers often get burned when they try to translate their video content. Their translations arrive late and over budget, using far more of their internal resources than they had initially anticipated. To make matters worse, the videos never seem to work as well as they should in their international markets.

Why is it apparently so difficult to translate video content!?

Why most manufacturers misunderstand video translation 

Many manufacturers misunderstand what is required to produce quality translations that truly meet the needs of their business. This is understandable — after all, we can’t all be experts at everything — but it can have far-ranging effects on your business.   

The misunderstanding is that localization only happens after you create your English content. 

People assume that they first need to create the videos, then send those videos to the translators, and then the job is done. They view translation as an add-on cost to the content creation itself. 

In reality, most of the work that goes into creating a great translated video happens before the video is even created. The way you create your English videos hugely affects the translation process. If you don’t recognize this, you will end up paying exorbitant prices for the translations and your team will have to do a lot of extra video engineering work themselves. 

Most translation companies won’t tell you this. They just translate whatever video content you send them and bill you for it later. 

You end up with more work, less budget, and a nagging feeling that it’s just not worth it to translate your videos.

This is not how video translation should be, but it is unfortunately what often happens. 

A better way to understand video translation

At Rubric, we look at video translation as an entire process. 

And I encourage you to do the same. 

This process starts before you have even made your English videos. 

It starts when you first make a decision about what type of video you will make and how you would like to make it. Each decision you make about the video creation will determine how easy or difficult it will be to translate the content — and thus affect the cost and complexity of the translation. 

Most of the work involved in video translation is engineering (e.g. video editing, adding or changing images and icons, audio recording). The translation of the words themselves does not usually require much work. However, the engineering required to fit the translated content (both words and other content) to the video can become astronomical if the source content isn’t prepared properly. 

When you understand how the process of content creation affects translation, you can make choices that will ensure an efficient, smooth, and pain-free video translation process. 

As an added bonus, your translated video content will work much more effectively in your international markets. 

3 tips to get the most from your translated video

How do you ensure that you are being smart about your video translation process?

There are various ways to improve how you approach video translation, some of which can learn about in our whitepaper Video Localization Best Practices.

Here are 3 fundamental tips that you can use to take control of your video translation process: 

  1. Translate only the right types of videos

If you wanted to (and you had the capacity) you could create hundreds of videos a day for your manufacturing business. 

There are just so many different types of videos that can add value to your company. Training videos can improve your employee engagement. Marketing videos can increase sales in your international markets. Testimonial videos can improve trust in your brand. 

It only makes sense to translate those videos that align with your global content strategy. 

If you haven’t decided on your global content strategy yet, this is a good opportunity to start thinking about it.

  1. Use the correct type of translation

Most people don’t realize that there are different types of translation. Some translation jobs are more complex than others and, as a result, require a more complex, labor-intensive form of translation. 

One type of translation is “transcreation,” where the translator has to be creative and recreate the content from scratch based on the intended meaning of the original author. As a result, it is more costly and time-consuming. 

Transcreation is sometimes required in videos that don’t need it, simply because the source content hasn’t been created properly. 

When you look at video translation as a process, you can make better choices about the type of translation you might require.

  1. Ensure your translation partners can handle the engineering 

As I mentioned above, a lot of the work involved in creating videos for an international market comes during the video engineering steps. 

This can be a problem with many translation providers who either don’t have the capacity to deal with such engineering or would only provide it at a ridiculous cost. For example, some of our clients have told us that their previous providers would only send them the translated text, requiring their team to do all of the engineering work to fit it to the videos.

Make sure that your translation partners can handle the engineering required for video production. 

At Rubric, we can provide whatever engineering our clients need for their projects and we pride ourselves in being able to interface with all their existing technology.


So, think about your current videos.

How could you improve your video translation process?


In our guide Best Practices for Video Localization you will learn actionable tips to reduce the cost of video localization.

Download the guide

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