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How to Best Translate Videos Into Foreign Languages

Andrew Russo
Andrew Russo
Posted in Zoom Mar 5 · 6 Mar, 2022
How to Best Translate Videos Into Foreign Languages

The modern world is more connected than ever, which makes creating content for a global audience a must. Video content accounts for 82% of all internet traffic today. However, the top 10 regions with the most YouTube viewers are actually non-English speaking countries. Engaging with these people is impossible without translating videos into foreign languages.

Translating Video Content the Right Way

Since we're bombarded with automated captions on YouTube and similar websites, one would think it's easy to translate videos. If you've ever used AI to produce your content, you'll know it doesn't deliver the kind of accuracy you're hoping for. This shouldn't surprise anyone because translation is a complex process. We'll go through the process to help you understand how to translate videos the right way.

The Benefits of Translating Your Videos

One of the most apparent advantages of video translation is allowing viewers who speak different languages to access, understand, and enjoy your content. If you have an international audience or you're thinking of expanding, video translation is a must.

It's important to note that adding captions or subtitles in any language other than the original isn't only beneficial for people who speak a different language. It's just as useful for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers. Making your content more accessible helps expand your audience, and it's even required by law in certain countries.

Most people access video content on their smartphones during commutes to and from work. Others can simply be in a noisy environment. In both scenarios, people prefer to watch videos without sound with subtitles or captions turned on. A recent Verizon media study showed that 80% of viewers are more likely to watch a video to the end if captions are available.

Choose the Right Format

Before starting the translation process, you need to select the format - subtitles, captions, voice-overs, or a combination. Subtitles work great for movies and TV shows because they don't get in the way of content. However, they still distract the viewer to an extent. On the other hand, a voice-over translation allows the viewer to focus on the footage, so it's the best option if your videos are visually-oriented.

Video Translation Process

There are several ways to translate videos, but best practices are worth keeping in mind to get a usable result. Here is the optimal process to ensure a flawless translation.

  • Transcribe

Transcribing all dialogue and on-screen text in your video is the first step in the process. This transcription will be used to produce your subtitles, captions, or voice-overs, so it's essential to make it as accurate as possible.

  • Translate

Once your transcription is finished, you need to translate it. This step is even more important, so you need to ensure it's performed accurately and with adequate attention to detail. You want to ensure the message of your original content doesn't get "lost in translation."

  • Add timestamps

After you're done with the translation, it's time to add timestamps to your footage. This step ensures your newly translated captions, subtitles, or voice-overs stay in sync with the video itself.

  • Edit the video

At this point, your translated files get integrated into the video. Depending on your needs, you can create a different video for each target language or have a language selection option like the ones you see in Blu-ray movies.

While this process is severely oversimplified, it should give you an idea of what it entails. It's also important to note the importance of quality checks, which should ideally happen at the end of every step. A multi-step quality check is the only way to ensure you get a high-quality video translation that retains the original meaning and the desired impact on the viewer.

Creating DIY Video Translations

This option might seem attractive, especially since there are countless automated video translation solutions out there. We'll use YouTube's automatic captioning as an example.

  1. Create the captions in your original language on your own or via YouTube's automatic captioning.

  2. Open YouTube's Creator Studio, select Video Manager, then click Edit under the video you wish to translate.

  3. Navigate to the Subtitles/CC tab and click Add New Subtitles or CC.

  4. Once a search bar appears, find the language you want to translate to.

  5. Click Create New Subtitles or CC in the menu.

  6. YouTube's editing interface will open - click on Autotranslate above the transcript.

  7. Your new translation will show up under the transcript so you can edit it.

  8. Once you're done, click on Publish.

While creating translations this way is free, you'll end up with a literal word-for-word translation which is often wildly inaccurate. You will certainly save some money, but you'll sacrifice time spent on editing. More importantly, if your translation is inaccurate, it will distract the audience from the content itself and fail to deliver its intended message.

Creating Translations With a Professional Service

Leaving the translation process to professionals can help you avoid all the issues mentioned above. Using a human-based translation service that can also produce subtitles and captions like GoTranscript ensures you get an accurate translation that sounds natural and is easy to understand. From transcription, translation, timestamping, to creating subtitles or captions, each step ends with a rigorous editing process to ensure the end result is ready for prime time.