Multimedia Localization: How to and Helpful Hints

June 4, 2014

Businessman pressing modern social type of iconsFrom global promotional videos to an e-learning program for international training, localization is the key to effectively reaching a target audience. There are many factors that will determine how a multimedia localization project should be carried out and with numerous variables such as audio, video, timing, synchronization, and voice-over versus dubbing, the task can seem quite daunting. In order to help demystify this process, we’ve provided a list of how to localize your multimedia projects.

Step 1: Transcription

The first step in multimedia localization involves creating a written transcript of the original audio so that the content can then be localized. Time markers should be inserted into the script at regular intervals in order to facilitate later verification of the transcript. Time codes are also useful if videos will be subtitled, SEO optimized, or used in presentations. Time stamps can be included as often as you deem necessary, from every few seconds, to every few minutes. Even if the client provides the audio transcript for a multimedia localization, the script should be checked to make sure it matches the audio exactly.

Step 2: Translation

Once your audio transcript has been generated and verified the next step is to translate your content into the target language. A multimedia project which is only being used across different dialects of the same language should still be localized. Localization of media content to the specific cultural context of the target audience will ensure that your message is received as clearly as possible. Professional translators who are native to the target language will be your best resource for this step in the multimedia localization process. If voice-over or dubbing will be used, your translated script must first be arranged for the voice actors or announcers and aligned with the timing of the video.

Step 3: Voice-over or Subtitling

Professional voice-over actors should be used for audio dubbing. Voice-over talent is usually billed by the minute and there is often a minimum fee for each actor, making this option more costly. Subtitling can be carried out by a linguist and editor and may be done manually or with subtitling software. Although more expensive, voice-over is generally considered more effective for videos that express information through action.

Step 4: Edit and Sequence

If a video component is involved in your multimedia localization project the audio must be synchronized to match the video exactly. A multimedia project that includes visuals such as animation or slides offers more flexibility since the visual elements can be synced to the audio. Another factor to consider at this stage is whether your visual content will need to be localized as well. Certain symbols and colors may have different meanings across cultures and should be substituted with elements that are more appropriate for the target culture.

Step 5: Final Engineering

Lastly, the finished product should be reviewed by a localization engineer to be checked for quality and prepared for delivery in the desired format. If you use a translation memory or glossary, it should be updated with the newly generated content.

If you would like additional information on this topic or have questions on planning and executing your next translation or multilingual initiative, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation or call us at (800) 413-7838.

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