The power of video to communicate, to teach, to market has long been known. But it is only with the mobile phone revolution that we have truly realized its potential. Anyone who has a smartphone and data connectivity today has access to video content. It opens up opportunities to anyone who wants to reach a wide base of viewers with a strong message.
Why do we watch videos?
Video is widely used in education and training or the e-learning sector, entertainment, online events, broadcast, marketing and advertisement, and security. This is because our brains are hardwired for visual content. We have always watched and learned. Humans follow visual directions better by more than 300% when compared to text instructions. Video improves retention by up to 65%. Most of the information that reaches the brain is visual, and the brain processes it 60,000 times faster than it would process textual data.
Many people use video to learn something or know more about a product. On YouTube, “How to” videos are among the top four content categories. Nearly 70% of YouTube users have used it to make a purchase decision. According to Wirebuzz, utilizing video increases revenue 49% faster than not using video marketing at all.
Why translate video content?
With the increase of viewers worldwide, there is a huge demand for multilingual video content. Non-English speakers of the top 10 languages online easily outnumber the English speakers. But they do not enjoy as much content in their languages as English speakers do. And this is true about video content, too.
Here lie many opportunities for companies who want to tap into international markets: all they have to do is translate their marketing videos and enjoy instant access to new potential customer bases. Even in the same country, you can drill down by city and state to understand more about your target demographic’s linguistic preferences. You can then translate the video content without having to re-shoot it. This is often a much cheaper and quicker way of increasing the reach of video content.
In many countries, you are required by law to transcribe videos to ensure accessibility for the hearing impaired. But captions are not just for the disabled. They are helpful in noisy outdoor settings and speakers of other languages, who may not quickly catch what’s being said.
On Facebook, 85% of the video is watched on mute. If you don’t provide captions, you are sure to miss a huge engagement opportunity with your audience.
Transcripts and subtitles also have high SEO value. They help search engines parse your video and index them so that you can attract relevant traffic to your website.
When CCTV footage needs to be submitted as legal evidence, it must have transcripts. This can be especially challenging as audio quality may not be good all the time in such content.
How to create a high quality translated video?
The quality of the video will create perceptions about the quality of the product as well. And the translation quality is part of this user experience. So, it’s critical to get it right.
There are five options to translate videos:
- Closed captions
- Open captions
Closed captions (CC) are not part of the video file. So, they are easily editable. The viewer can switch them on or off. They are usually included in streaming video files.
Open captions, on the other hand, are burned into the video file. They cannot be edited separately once they become part of the video file. These are usually used in movies, broadcast programs, and the like. Open captions are part of accessibility features for the hearing impaired.
Subtitles are translated captions. They may be closed or open, depending on the audience’s requirements and other considerations.
Dubbing is an audio translation that is layered on top of the original audio. The lines are lip-synced so that the viewer does not notice any difference. It is usually used in the media and entertainment industry and may be preferred in some markets.
Voice over is like dubbing, but it is not of that high quality. Lip-syncing is not done in voice-overs, as mere translation is enough. It is used in media, animation, and gaming sectors, to name a few.
We list below some best practices to translate video content:
Adapt copy. Some mannerisms, jokes, or body language which are perfectly okay in one culture may be highly offensive or simply ridiculous in another. At the translation stage, the linguist cannot undo such content. However, the linguist can avoid literal translations of such content and instead adapt it to suit the target culture. This can often head off embarrassing situations. Also, local holidays, festivals, practices will be irrelevant elsewhere. These too have to be adapted.
Use native linguists and speakers. Make no compromises here. Adapting copy and delivering high-quality translations are best done by native video language translators. They are not only fluent in their language but also very familiar with their own culture.
Review translations. The best of linguists can always miss something. A review is a mandatory step to meet quality expectations. It can be done by a third-party agency or different linguists from the same agency.
Beta test with a small chunk of text. If you have the time and resources to do an actual test with end-consumers of the text, go for it. You don’t have to review all of the text or go for mass testing: small text sections with select users will do.
Which video translation automation tools to use?
Braahmam’s Paris-based partner Mediawen is a one-stop shop for automated cloud-based video translations. Much of the manual work like inserting time codes is easily taken care of, so you can focus your resources on improving the translation quality.
Audio and video localization in multiple languages is created in real-time at the back end through machine translation (MT). While this is acceptable for most video content, if there is something that’s very quality-sensitive, it’s advisable to add a layer of professional editing for MT output from Braahmam.
The Mediawen hub provides cloud storage for all your video assets. You can simply upload multimedia files in any format and leverage Mediawen’s end-to-end audio and video translation services. The multilingual subtitles and transcripts are created instantaneously and delivered in the desired format.
It is a highly secure platform, where files cannot be downloaded but can be viewed or edited depending on the rights granted. You can decide specific rights for each person who has access. Linguists, client, reviewers can all have separate access rights.
The cloud-based workflow has several advantages over traditional workflows. See table below:
What to keep in mind for video SEO?
Video marketing is highly effective but also very competitive. Follow these steps to make sure you are getting the maximum value for your investment:
- Make sure you have only one video per page. If you have more than one video on a page, you are not prioritising any of them. Search engines can then decide by themselves which video to show up in search results, and that may not be the video you want highlighted.
- Do not repeat the video on other pages. That is, let there be unique video content with no duplication elsewhere.
- The video content must be the central theme of the page. If the page is talking about one thing and the video has unrelated content, you may end up pulling in traffic that will not convert. Also, you are not giving Google a clear message on which keywords to rank you for.
- Video transcripts and subtitles enhance search engine optimization. Make sure you have translated transcripts and subtitles for the important languages of your target markets.
- Create catchy titles and good descriptions with relevant keywords. It will boost the chances of your video files getting indexed.
- Create thumbnails for each video, so they show up in search engine results. A human in the thumbnail improves play rate by a third.
There can be no doubt about it: by translating and localizing your audio and video files, you increase your reach several fold. It provides the much-needed edge in the highly competitive world of e-learning and video marketing.