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Video translation do’s and don’ts


Video translation is a smart way to repurpose a marketing video. Needless to say, when your business is crossing over to other territories, your sales message must land as you intended. 

Here’s the deal: An excellent multicultural video always resonates with the viewer. Unfortunately, most translations are word-by-word repetitions that mean nothing in a different language. 

Here are a few things to ensure your sales pitch remains intact in a video translation:


Interpretation before video translation

A good video translation maintains the exact nuances of your original script. It’s not about words; it’s about perception. 

Things like slang and jargon may be great for achieving a conversational tone in your language. However, delivering an expression in English that doesn’t exist in Spanish is tricky if you don’t find the right nuance. A good video translation requires creative skill and pop culture knowledge –in both languages. Therefore, always lean on an expert that can help you tweak your copy.


PRO-TIP: Confirm your translated technical terms

If your business vertical is within the technology and legal sectors, choosing the correct terms is of the essence for a video translation. Verify terminology by hiring a professional consultant that can help you choose the right words. Even small things like “click” or “tap” vary from country to country.


Subtitling your content for a video translation

Subtitles are an effective way to get your video translation ready for different markets. In the old days, adding subtitles was a cumbersome and costly task. It required sending your video into postproduction to burn in the captions. But things have changed. Today, you can add subtitles without having to send them to a video editor. 

For instance, there’s this German-based startup called Typestudio. Their app offers a cutting-edge tool to edit your video by text easily, add subtitles and translate your video in no time. And if you’re video is short enough, you can even do it for free. I would suggest having the video reviewed by a native speaker before posting it to ensure you got the nuances right.


Embedding captions vs. burned in subtitles

If you need your video translation in a single language, then burning in subtitles is a good option. It means that you re-export a version of your video with the subtitles rendered into the picture. 

Conversely, if you’re looking to promote a single video in multiple languages, then embedded captions or CC are the way to go. You can use various .SRT caption files to upload to LinkedIn or YouTube. With the click of a button, the viewer can choose to display their preferred language, making this option extremely versatile. 

Captions make your video content inclusive for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. In fact, according to the NAD (National Association of the Deaf), you may be required to offer captioning to make audiovisual information accessible.


Keep an eye on licensing and territories for each video translation

When you create video content, clear usage rights across all territories, as you may find yourself in hot water for things such as voice-over, music, or video. Across publishing platforms, bots are constantly screening video content. To avoid having your video taken down, make sure your video translation complies with usage and local laws. The last thing you need is to deal with copyright or licensing infringement.

About Alejandra Copeland
Hello! I’m Alejandra Copeland, and I cut my teeth as a visual communication expert by producing and editing video content for MTV Networks, NBC Universal, and Viacom. Since 2004, I have pushed Andromeda Productions as a premier marketing video production agency. Throughout the years, I’ve created enduring client relationships with multiple Fortune 500 companies, such as MasterCard and Sony Music US Latin.
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