The benefits of multimedia localization are hard to ignore

Business communication both internal and external today takes many forms. There is now less reliance on standard email and phone calls as organizations turn to social media, video conferencing, online messaging platforms, e-learning, podcasts, blogging and so on, to reach out to and engage with customers, employees and other stakeholders.
Multimedia Localization by t'works

Business communication both internal and external today takes many forms. There is now less reliance on standard email and phone calls as organizations turn to social media, video conferencing, online messaging platforms, e-learning, podcasts, blogging and so on, to reach out to and engage with customers, employees and other stakeholders.

To put it another way, communication takes place over many varied channels and in multiple formats. Businesses and organizations rely on the potency of multimedia to get their message across.

The video revolution

At the heart of this is the use of video. Video has permeated many aspects of our consumption of news and information and it is now the king of marketing content. According to Wyzowl’s annual report on the state of video marketing, the use of video as a marketing tool is higher than it’s ever been with 91% of companies stating that they use it compared to only 61% in 2016.

Capturing people’s attention is easier with video. Video speaks directly and clearly to its audience and it triggers a more immediate emotional response than just straightforward text or audio. Wyzowl’s report also shows how consumers increasingly rely on video to make informed decisions about purchases and expect brands to offer product information via video. Communicating with video is, quite simply, more impactful and very effective.

Although video now forms the pivotal element in any marketing strategy it is also commonly utilized across many business processes. Training, onboarding, screen casting, presentations, testimonials and more, are all made more engaging with video.

Don’t lose out!

Also significant in the Wyzowl research are the figures showing the high ROI for video marketing. According to their report 92% of marketers reported a positive ROI when video is in the mix and know that it increases both leads and sales.

The report shows that using video means better engagement along with increased brand awareness, more sustained website traffic and a reduction in support queries.

Research results like these are impossible to ignore and strongly confirm the powerful role of video in marketing and its enormous value to business.

But what happens when videos and other forms of multimedia need to be relayed to new audiences in different languages? Making sure the impact of these isn’t lost should be an important consideration for all organizations.

Localize it

If your content in all its forms is going to resonate in new international markets, adapting it to the cultural norms of that market is key. This is what is referred to as localization and means that all elements of the content such as text, images, design, user experience and cultural references are modified to be sure they fit well with the new audience’s expectations.

This in turn ensures that the message contained in the content doesn’t lose its effectiveness and can therefore be received by the intended audience in the intended way.

Production techniques

Localizing multimedia takes thought and planning and can be a complex undertaking so understanding the techniques involved is helpful. Let’s look at a few here and what they’re used for.

Subtitling. As we established in our last blog (read it here!), audiences are becoming steadily more receptive to watching video entertainment with subtitles. It is an increasingly acceptable way to convey the meaning of on-screen spoken dialogue in a new language.

Subtitling involves providing a text translation of what is being said in the video. It usually appears in the bottom third of the screen and adapting this text is a highly skilled and delicate process. Subtitling could be practical and cost-effective in a business setting where commercial videos require translating for new viewers.

Captioning, although similar to subtitling provides textual information to supplement the dialogue. It goes beyond what is being said and also describes what can be seen and heard. Captions also include speaker identification.

Captioning can be open or closed (meaning there is the option to turn it off) and gives accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Voice-over is another frequently used technique of bringing the message in a video to new languages. Voices have the power to carry emotion, authority or add atmosphere. Voice-over is often used in business videos for these reasons. Using a different voice actor in a different language is an effective means of reaching a new audience.

Voice-over can also be added over original speakers which subsequently fade as the new voice is heard and is an approach we often see in news videos or interviews. This is sometimes referred to as UN-style voice-over and can be another handy tool when business videos need a multilingual upgrade.

Dubbing is usually accompanied by lip-synching and is commonly seen in entertainment and marketing videos. In this instance the actor’s voice is replaced by a new actor in another language and is carefully coordinated to match the original actor and the timing of their speech. Doing this well requires a team of highly skilled professionals.

Always consider accessibility

An important consideration for any form of digital content is accessibility and your organization has most probably taken this into account in the original versions of its multimedia. Improving access for those who are deaf or hard of hearing or have visual, cognitive or physical impairments is of course, a top priority for everyone working in any field of communication.

In the multilingual realm accessibility is also in play. Assuming, as has been the case in the past, that ‘everyone speaks English’ is a gross oversight. English is spoken by nearly 1.5 billion people but it is crucial to remember that the majority of these speak it as a second language. Although speaking English gives great access to many content forms globally, if the intended message involves understanding cultural nuance, humor, idioms, social convention and so on, the message could be diluted if it’s received by someone who’s English is not advanced.

Providing a gateway to content in all the languages of the community you’re targeting is essential. As the world begins to recognize the enormous value of our linguistic heritage and the preservation of all languages becomes a mainstream concern, multilingualism has to be our collective goal. Ensuring your multimedia content can be accessed by your audience in the language they find most comfortable is quite simply, non-negotiable.

A recipe for success

When you deliver your organization’s message through multimedia in a culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate manner, the benefits can be huge. Whether it’s a new product campaign, a marketing video or an e-learning course, adapting the content to suit the intended audience means expanding your influence and selling power.

Using the best cultural symbolism or the catchiest tag line for your viewership could make all the difference to the message you’re trying to get across. Add to that the best choice of voice actor or audio track and polish it off with great production work and you’re sure to appeal to people’s senses on multiple levels creating a higher emotional impact.

t’works has all the ingredients to make your multimedia connect with and delight your international audiences. With over 15 years’ experience, in-house studios, bilingual directors and producers and a roster of professional native speaker voice talent, we have all the tools at our disposal to make sure your audio-visual content resonates globally.

Your personal contact

Nadine Kubinka

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