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Top Video Localization Secrets
December 11, 2013 - By: - In: Localization - Comments Off on Top Video Localization Secrets

Okay.  So they’re not exactly secrets. More of a best practice kind of thing.  But the TranslationGuy Blog spell-checker automatically replaces “best practice” with “Shock!!”  But that won’t do in this post, because “Shock!!” Is exactly what we’re trying to avoid when we translate localize videos and other audio for non-English speaking audiences.

It’s a cheap trick when done right and a great low-cost way to reach all the non-English surfers on the Internet,  the other 90% content to surf in their own language, which is not English, thank you very much. Reaching these guys is no secret, either. Internationalize it.

“Internationalize” is what you do to your production to make it easier to localize and translate down the line.

Handy checklist follows:

  1. Provide your localization team with original files used to build your video.
  2. Do you plan to Sub or Dub? Subtitles/captions or audio recording?
  3. Will you embed close captions or integrate with the video player for on/off capability?
  4. Spec your player software, how it exports the captions and preferred file format.
  5. Recording for UN-Style, lip-sync  or voice-over narration?
  6. Start localization only after your script is finalized!
  7. Approved script and pronunciation guide prepared before each recording session.


Video translation must be done by video pros. Sentence-by-sentence translators don’t know the rules of pacing and timing required for scripts.

Subtitles are an art form all their own, poetry in motion. Same for the spoken word. Capturing the voice of the narrator or a voice-over is hard enough when matching timing. But for dubbing, the translator has to match translation word choice to on-screen lip movements in another language.

Because that’s so expensive, producers usually go for what’s called “UN-style.” Original language audio is muted and a translated track is laid over at a higher volume, avoiding any lip-sync issues altogether.

The other non-secret, and the most important one of all, is that this process is becoming a lot more economical. I’ve been looking at ways to further automate this process for our customers. When I return to this topic, we’ll be examining how automated systems and crowd sourcing are bringing video localization into a new age of ubiquity.

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