Multimedia Localization Matters (And How to Do It)
Global audiences have come to expect multimedia content tailored to their needs. That includes culturally relevant experiences that never feel like translations. To achieve this, you’ll need to localize your multimedia project—be it a marketing campaign, video series, or an e-learning course.
Yet multimedia localization goes well beyond language translation and software modifications. It can include everything from images and design to audio, video, and beyond. In this article, we explore five major elements of the localization process and how to adapt each of them successfully.
Images are often considered a universal language. They can invoke emotions, illustrate a point, or simply catch someone’s eye. However, not all images have connotations in every culture. What may enhance the message in one language may be nonsensical or even offensive in another. That’s why image localization is such an important part of adapting marketing materials, websites, e-learning courses, and other multimedia experiences.
Image localization may include depicting different:
- Pop culture references
- Religious symbols
- Standards of body modesty
- Visual metaphors
- National icons
- Local conventions
Determining which images will connect with your audience takes a mix of research and creativity, but it does pay off in brand loyalty.
Believe it or not, audio is as important as video. Why? Because studies have shown that marginal to medium audio quality negatively impacts how viewers perceive a video, even when the picture is clear. That means an investment in high-quality audio localization is essential for a project’s success.
While it may seem as simple as re-recording in the target language, audio localization requires multiple steps to ensure quality and accuracy. This includes:
- Transcribing the original script for the translators.
- Translating and adapting the script for the target audience.
- Developing a pronunciation guide for the voice actors.
- Choosing the right actors for the project.
Once the audio has been recorded, it must:
- Undergo post-production to edit the voice-over, clean up background noise, and match the source tempo.
- Undergo a quality assurance (QA) review to catch any errors.
- Be formatted to meet the file specifications before delivery.
By taking the time to produce high-quality audio, you’ll enhance the audience’s experience and improve perceptions of the brand.
Video is one of the most powerful elements in any multimedia project. A few minutes of video can help an audience understand the message while keeping them engaged. It’s so powerful that the average person spends 100 minutes a day watching online videos.
Video localization allows you to reach an even wider audience by translating the audio and visual elements to make the content accessible in other languages. In most cases, the original video is kept the same while the audio and text are translated in one or more of the following ways:
- Voice over
- Video editing
The process may include:
- Recording an off-screen narrator’s voice.
- Recording the voices of presenters or characters.
- Translating on-screen texts or animations.
- Adding subtitles in the target language.
The method(s) you choose will depend on the purpose of the video and your budget. There are no definitive rules about which you should choose, but there are some common practices.
For example, subtitling works well for e-learning and training videos because the content matters more than the mood. It’s also a more affordable way to localize video.
On the other hand, voiceovers often work better for marketing videos or any type of content that focuses on emotion. This method is more costly due to the need for voice actors and the recording process it involves.
E-Learning has grown exponentially in schools, universities, and businesses worldwide. And it shows no signs of slowing down. Estimations are that the global corporate e-learning market alone will be worth $50 billion by 2026. Yet, to reach those new markets, you need to localize your e-learning content.
The e-learning localization process involves converting the original course into one or more languages. It can be as simple as translating written content and adding subtitles to videos. Or it can be as complex as creating new, regional-specific audio, video, images, and other elements.
It may even include regional-specific assessments or training modules. For example, a global HR training course may need country-specific modules on employment laws and workplace norms.
Like all multimedia localization projects, the scope of work will depend on the project’s purpose and budget. No two e-learning courses will be exactly alike.
Desktop Publishing (DTP) Localization
Desktop publishing makes it easier than ever to design, format, and publish materials for print or electronic use. However, it takes more than translation to adapt this content for another market.
The DTP localization process involves combining content design, formatting, images, typography, and layout. This process allows you to re-create the piece as if initially designed for this new audience.
Although this the final stage of localization, product information and marketing pieces are often the first things your audience sees. Failure to ensure everything you publish is perfect can lower confidence in the brand. Worse, it can have a direct impact on regulatory approval and usage.
Taking the time to polish DTP pieces will help ensure your launch is a success.
We have been helping some of the world’s most iconic brands to optimize their global commercial potential since 1997. Vistatec is one of the world’s leading global content solutions providers. HQ in Dublin, Ireland, with offices in Mountain View, California, USA.
How Vistatec Can Help
Multimedia localization, with its numerous requirements, may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, the correct language services provider will offer the expert advice you need as it guides you through each step of the process.
At Vistatec, we not only specialize in all aspects of multimedia localization, but we also take a partnership approach to fully optimizing your potential.
Want to learn more about how we can help? Contact us today!