The ABCs of Global Video Localization

Digital video is one of the most effective online marketing tool When compared to other marketing methods, studies show that videos produce 66% more qualified leads per year and a 54% increase in brand awareness. Therefore, global video localization should be considered for improving your international sales. However, just as with your other content, your global videos need to be localized for maximum effectiveness.

The Global Reach of You Tube Videos

You Tube’s statistics are impressive. Over 2 billion people worldwide log in to YouTube every month, and each day users watch a billion plus hours of video. A big percentage of these video watchers reside outside the U.S. This means a lot of global consumers are spending time browsing among available videos for products, music, etc.

Video Localization Terminology

If you have marketing videos such as product demos that you would like to localize, the first step is to become familiar with the vocabulary pertaining to video translation and localization. The basic concept to understand is that the visual aspect of the video doesn’t change as long as it doesn’t contain anything that clashes with the local culture; it’s the audio that gets localized. Here’s a handy list of basic global video localization terminology to get you started.

Audio Voiceover Recording

The translated script is recorded using a person with an authentic native voice and then integrated back into the video. You have several options for Audio Voiceover Recording depending on your budget and the way you want the video to work:

  • Dubbing – This is the most widely used option. The original English in the video is replaced by a speaker’s voice in the targeted language. This method means that it’s impossible for the speaker’s voice to match up with the lip movements of the English speaker. However, the voiceover is time-coded so that the speaker begins and ends at the same point as the original speaker.
  • Lip Synching – This is a method for matching lip movements. It is similar to dubbing, but the words are lip-synched to the original speaker’s mouth movements. Lip synchronization is very complex and time-consuming and, therefore, expensive.
  • UN Style Voiceover – This method involves turning down the volume when English is being spoken and replacing it with the target language at a much higher volume. With this style of voiceover, the original speaker can still be heard in the background, making it clear that the voiceover is a translation of what is being said. This method is commonly used for interviews and programs.


If you are working within a tight budget, you can opt not to do voiceovers and go for subtitling instead. Basically, the original English script gets transcribed into easily readable subtitles. There are a couple of ways of doing this.

  • Translated Subtitles – The original script of the English video is translated and then shortened if necessary. The translated subtitles are displayed at the bottom of each screen. They are time-coded so that each subtitle matches what is taking place on the screen. With this option, the user cannot turn off the subtitles.
  • Closed Captioning – The subtitles are hidden until the viewer selects them. Closed captioning can include non-speech components like sounds or music. The user can choose to turn the subtitles on or off.

Audio Voiceovers and Subtitles

You can opt for a combination of both. Combining voiceovers and subtitles is especially applicable to marketing videos where it’s useful for people to be able to see and hear at the same time. It’s also eminently suitable for the hearing impaired.

Why choose Localize?

Localize can help you translate and localize your digital content into your target audience’s language. Localize provides top-quality translation and localization services through our LSP’s for your chosen languages and has enabled many businesses to provide high-quality content to their global customers. Contact us today for more information.

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