Video is hugely popular around the globe. You can easily expand your global reach by creating a video for your home market and then localizing it. Here’s an overview of the content, technical, and SEO considerations to include in your video localization strategy.

It’s predicted that for the first time, people will spend more time on the internet (170.6 minutes per day) than watching TV (170.3 minutes) in 2019. Video will claim over 80% of the traffic, and 54% of consumers prefer video to other types of brand content. This means more engagement and more conversions, so it’s no wonder 81% of businesses used video in their marketing in 2018. If video isn’t already featured in your marketing strategy, it may be time to consider it.

Crafting a video that goes viral in your home market is one thing. But getting your message across in other markets presents a whole different challenge.

That’s where video localization can help. Here are our top tips for success.

CREATING THE ORIGINAL VIDEO: LOCALIZATION CONSIDERATIONS

A picture can tell a thousand words. But the message viewers receive depends on their language, culture, and location. To keep control of your story while making it locally relevant, consider the visuals in your source content.

It’s best to avoid images that tie your message to a specific location – like architecture, road signs, and public facilities. Is the location relevant to your message, or could it be a distraction for viewers in other countries?

Think about imagery in your video, too. For example, a video of someone relaxing barefoot may not work for an Arabic audience, where it’s rude to show the soles of your feet. Hand gestures are also culturally specific. A thumbs up is a cheerful sign in the US, but not necessarily in parts of Greece, Italy, Western Africa, and Latin America.

Expectations of video also vary per country. For example, according to Hubspot, Latin American audiences are 23% more likely to engage with inspirational content than German audiences. And while cultures generally trend toward entertaining content, the definition of what’s funny could vary considerably across markets.

Lastly, if you’re offering localized subtitles as a cost-effective alternative to in-language voiceover, pay careful attention to reading speed. Many languages expand when they’re translated from English. If your subtitles move too fast, you will likely need to adapt the in-language content to offer a better experience.

Depending on the nature of your video content, it’s worth considering localization when creating new home-market videos. Internationalizing original video content can save budget and time when it comes to localizing for each target market.

DUBBING, VOICEOVER, AND SUBTITLING: AN OVERVIEW

There are three options for audiovisual localization: dubbing, voiceover, and subtitling. The one you choose is largely about balancing your budget with the experience you want to deliver to your international viewers.

DUBBING

In dubbed content, the original speech being delivered by animated characters, filmed presenters, or actors is completely replaced with native-speaking voice artists in the translated language. This requires careful attention to timing and adapting translated content to make sure lip movements are in sync. While the experience can be more authentic, studio recording time, technical cost, and turnaround is a consideration.

VOICEOVER

Voiceovers preserve the original audio, adding a new voice that delivers the translation on top. Sometimes referred to as UN style, this is the format often used in TV news programs. It is also widely popular for narrated content where onscreen visuals are accompanied by voice.

SUBTITLING

Subtitles present translations as on-screen captions alongside the original audio. Subtitling can present timing issues, as we mentioned above, but is often the most cost-effective way to produce localized video.

Many countries have clear preferences for localized video. France and Germany, for example, tend to prefer dubbing, whereas Belgium and Norway prefer subtitles.

These preferences have a strong link to English proficiency. Countries that feel more comfortable speaking English tend to prefer subtitles. For example, 87% of the Dutch population is confident holding a conversation in English, compared to 53% in Austria. As a result, subtitling is more common in the Netherlands, whereas Austrians prefer dubbed content.

The platform you publish on also has a role to play. For example, 85% of Facebook viewers watch video without sound, which is a growing trend in social media. Creating videos that get your message across without audio – which means subtitling – is a good approach and, in turn, they’re likely to be localization-friendly.

Whichever method you choose, work with your localization partner to discuss what your goals are and understand how your international target audiences prefer to engage with video content, and on which platforms.

BOOST YOUR VISIBILITY

SEO applies just as much to video as to other content. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. And since Google owns it, YouTube video content will rank well there, too.

As with other content, it’s best practice to incorporate relevant keywords to help consumers find your video – in every market. This includes meta descriptions and titles. For long-form video, provide a transcript as an easy way to engage users and boost rankings.

Search isn’t the only factor, though. On YouTube, searches account for only 15-25% of views. The rest come through the site’s suggestions. Rank higher in search by factoring in total watch time, audience retention, and engagement when creating your video.

And don’t forget to promote your video to boost visibility, whether that’s on your website, blog, social channels, or email.

FINAL THOUGHT

Video is here to stay because people everywhere respond to visual content. Replacing static landing page imagery with video increases conversions by 12.6%. And 90% of viewers say that product videos help them make purchase decisions.

Since video is a global phenomenon, don’t restrict it to your home market. Instead, allow video localization to widen your global appeal and engagement with international consumers.