Ultimate Guide to Video Translation

What was once simply regarded as a source of entertainment, has turned into one of the most popular mediums for education, training, marketing and more across the globe. With over 5 billion clips viewed per day, worldwide, video has quickly become an integral method of communication for major corporations, small businesses, and everyone in-between.

Although it is a visual medium, video almost always has an audio component, whether it’s  dialogue between people on screen, narrative voice-overs, or informative graphics. So if your company isn’t translating their videos, they are missing out on a major opportunity: the ability to effectively reach target audiences on a global scale.

Why should companies translate their video content?

Statistics show that 54% of consumers want to see more video content from businesses and brands that they support. Not only is it what people want to see, but it is effective at converting customers. Nearly 88% of marketers are satisfied with the return on investment of their video marketing efforts, making it one of the most successful forms of marketing.

On the other hand, if the content is presented in a language unfamiliar to the audience, the impact is lessened significantly. For companies looking to cement their global presence and increase brand awareness, accurately translating video content is key.

Common Sense Advisory surveyed web consumers and found that 72.4% of consumers are more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. Similarly, over half of the polled group said that the ability to obtain information in their own language was more important than price. Another survey showed that 42% of consumers say that they will never purchase products or services in a language they do not understand.

When it comes to selling your goods and services, the language in which you communicate with your audience is crucial. Limiting languages limits your earning potential.

Videos for Internal Use

Not only can video be used for outreach and marketing, but it is a beneficial tool for organizations internally. Employee on-boarding, company news and updates, and training can all be done effectively through video presentations.

Since video has been proven to increase retention, learning, and engagement, it is the perfect medium for delivering complex instructions and training. It’s also easily scalable, meaning you can share vital information with one team as easily as you can share it with the entire company.

It’s imperative for international companies and organizations to put effort into making this material accessible to all employees. By providing welcoming and training materials in their native language, you create an inclusive environment where everyone is set up to succeed. Promoting language equity through accurate localization of videos enhances employee morale and knowledge retention in the short and long term.

What is video translation?

You may be wondering what video translation will look like for your content. There are actually several different types of video translation services available to companies who wish to reach a larger audience.

Subtitle Translation

We’ve all watched clips containing translated subtitles at one point or another. This is where the video and audio play as-is in the source language with a translated text overlay.

In some cases, subtitling is a perfectly suitable method of translation. In other instances, subtitles can distract audiences who are trying to pay attention to visual instruction and read concurrently. This often makes other options like voice-over translation a better choice, but a video’s exact needs vary from project to project. There are also numerous avenues to execute subtitle translation. A popular method is to utilize time-coded SRT or VTT files, which enable a user to turn subtitles on or off as needed. This can also be helpful for English captioning, which will assist with ADA compliance.

A more permanent solution is to burn subtitles into the video. This does not allow for on/off capabilities; however it is a video subtitling method that can be beneficial if your organization knows that the localized video will be viewed by a specific demographic. This is oftentimes referred to as ‘Open Captions.’

Voice-over Translation

With this approach, translation companies go above and beyond simply translating the material onscreen. Voice-over translation gives your audience the opportunity to hear videos in their native language. This is regarded by many as the most optimal solution for video translation projects for a variety of reasons, when budgets allow for it.

Unlike subtitled video translation, linguists and directors can ensure that important factors, such as tone and pace, are successfully communicated with voice-over. Deploying professionally-recorded native-speaking talent, the voice-over technique stands out over other methods by creating an authentic final product that feels as if it were created specifically for the target audience.


Beyond basic video translation services, it is also important to consider localization for your videos. Localization ensures that everything from on-screen text, graphics and logos, to colors and numbers, translate appropriately across borders, and that cultural nuances are taken into consideration.

How does video translation work?

Done correctly, video translation is much more complex than copying lines into an online translator, and pasting the results onto an existing video. Professional translation services go through a multi-step process to ensure accuracy, clarity, and authenticity, so that the target audience feels as if the video was made specifically for them.

To give you an idea of the process, we’ve broken down voice-over translation into 7 steps:

  1. Script transcription: The process begins by transcribing the entire video narrative into a written document.
  2. Translation, editing, and proofreading: Once a video is transcribed, it is ready to be translated. Subject-matter experts will translate the material, meaning that no matter the topic, you can expect the highest degree of accuracy. After the source material is translated, it will be proofread and edited.
  3. Translated script approval: The translated script is sent back to the client for review, notes, and approval. Having a subject matter expert involved is advisable during every phase of a localization process.
  4. Script recording: After the translated script has been approved, it is then recorded in a studio setting with professional native-speaking voice talent. A director will help ensure that the speaker accurately conveys tone and other cues to match the source video.
  5. Sync audio and text with video: Once the audio has been recorded, it’s time to sync it up to the images within the video. This step is important, as mismatched audio and visuals can create a confusing experience for the viewer. Languages will always change in length after translation from English, and timing is critical to ensure an accurate deliverable.
  6. Translated video validation: Other aspects of video, such as on-screen graphics and text will also be translated into the target language. After all translation is complete, it will be reviewed once more for accuracy, clarity, and format alignment. This final validation should be done by a professional linguist.
  7. Deliver target language video: The final video is delivered to the client, ready to be viewed by new audiences across the globe.

Professional translation companies have the capability of utilizing a variety of authoring and editing tools to provide consistency and quality across your video library.


It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words; however, a video is worth at least 1.8 million according to one marketing study. With each minute of video being worth so much, you want to be sure that the information is accurately and authentically conveyed to your audience. Video translation is just one of the many ways your business can achieve success in the international marketplace.