How to utilize Video Translation to improve Traffic?

It is no understatement to say that video content has claimed the title of “King of Online Content”. App analytics company App Annie projects that by the end of 2020, the world’s consumers would have spent 674 billion hours using video apps like Netflix and YouTube—and this doesn’t include streaming in other devices. This spike in video consumption is not limited to select countries but is an ongoing global phenomenon: Hootsuite found that a whopping 90 percent of Internet users aged 16 to 64 watch online videos while 51 percent watch vlogs.

As the digital experience becomes more globalized particularly with video streaming and content as a whole, there is a growing demand for videos available in multiple languages. An overwhelming majority of websites and online content are published in English, but there are only roughly 527 million native English speakers compared to the more than 4.5 billion that use the Internet. Ofer Tirosh, owner and CEO of Tomedes notes that there’s a huge opportunity for brands and content creators to utilize video translation to create multilingual videos and capitalize on the growingly video-hungry Internet population. Not only can video translation increase traffic but it can also boost engagement and even lead to better conversion rates for businesses.

Fitting video translation into your Content Strategy

Younger audiences, particularly Millennials and Gen-Z, are the largest consumers of video and are more likely to patronize video on demand or streaming services. And due to their continuing exposure to technology and the Internet, younger generations are also more likely to be immersed in and be influenced by other cultures. According to an article released by Hubspot, Millennials and Gen-Z rely on video for relaxation, education, entertainment and even getting information on and being engaged by brands. As such, these age brackets are more keen on watching longer form content.

The Internet has made it possible to share experiences to different parts of the world but at the same time has led to creating hyper-specific niches. A quick browse through a young person’s Twitter feed would show you the prevalence of multicultural and multilingual influences from Japanese anime to Korean pop music which have grown popular even through non-native speakers thanks to video translation. And this everyday cultural exchange across borders is made possible largely by the Internet.

So what does this mean for your content strategy? This increase in video consumption and the growing demand for cross-cultural content creates an opportunity for almost all brands and content creators to reach a broader audience base, get better engagement, rank better on search engines, and build consumer trust and loyalty through video translation. Even YouTube agrees that video translation and using captions and subtitles on videos are good practices to increase visibility and boost traffic.

Video translation and content for a global Audience

When creating a video content strategy for a global audience, the key is empathy. One of the main lessons in communication is to “know your audience.” By understanding and being sensitive to the behavior, customs, culture and preferences of a specific audience or audiences, you are able to more accurately read what kind of content would resonate better with them. So before even thinking about translating your videos or finding someone to make subtitles for them, you have to start with the concept: create a video strategy that has global appeal.

According to YouTube’s Creator Academy, there are three common video formats that resonate well with international audiences:

  • Universally-relatable content which feature topics that are popular worldwide.
  • Culturally-specific content which focuses on more niche topics, regionally trending content and videos that offer a quick look into a specific aspect of a particular culture.
  • Content that features “language-agnostic” topics or those that don’t rely on words and can be explained visually.

When thinking about the concept of your video, you have to consider your audience – what types of subject matter would they find value in? If you are going for a more generalist approach, perhaps feature music trends, discuss sports or talk about internationally trending topics. Or if you want to share your culture or a specific culture to a wider audience, perhaps a “slice of life” video or a reaction video would be the best way to go; but always remember to try and make your culturally-relevant video in a way that does not alienate your audience.

After you have decided on your video content strategy, it is time to bring it to life. And when shooting and editing your videos, always be aware of your choice of dialogue and visuals. Perhaps some of the words and imagery that you use might be considered offensive to certain cultures and languages.

By building from the ground up a video content strategy that is geared towards an international audience, the task of video translation would run more smoothly and would have less risk of getting lost in translation.

Implementation – The basics

When you decide to implement your video translation initiative, the first question to ask yourself is “how will I implement it?” There are several ways you can go about translating your video with the three main categories being dubbing, subtitling and closed captioning.

Dubbing is generally the most laborious and costly video translation strategy. It requires you to work with translators and rewrite your script in your target language(s). Voice actors would then have to be hired to record the translated script usually in a studio setting where they are able to watch the video as they record so that they could synchronize their delivery.

Subtitling and closed captioning as terms are usually used by people interchangeably but actually has a specific and important difference. However, the general process is similar: transcribers convert the video’s audio track into text which then would be translated from the source language to the target language by translators. The translated text would then be laid over the video, syncing with the dialogue.

The difference with subtitling and closed captioning is that subtitling pertains to translated dialogue placed as text over the video while closed captioning is an accessibility tool for the hearing impaired or for when audio is not available to the viewer. This is why closed captioning also identifies sound effects and music tracks to help give the viewer context. This means that closed captioning can be written in the source language but subtitles are almost exclusively used to translate dialogue from one language to another.

The second question to ask is: “Who will do the translation?” The fastest, cheapest way to go about video translation is using automated translation software. Some video streaming platforms like YouTube offer free audio translation and captioning tools as well. While these tools provide a cheap (sometimes even free) and easy option, their accuracy leaves a lot to be desired especially for dialogue that uses slang and figurative speech which could easily be mistranslated.

Going with human translators is still advisable when it comes to video translation. You could either go with a freelance translator which would be more cost-effective or go with a company that specializes in video translation. Freelancers are a great way of starting your video translation initiative, although if you require a larger volume of videos to be translated, perhaps going with a more established company would be ideal.

Companies that specialize in video translation would have the experience and infrastructure to scale to your needs, ensuring culturally-sensitive and linguistically accurate translations while maintaining the meaning of your original script.

Video translation is an excellent way of reaching international audiences and boosting traffic, but only if you do it right. When you build your content strategy for a global audience, you have to always consider striking a balance between maintaining the intent of your video while being sensitive to the cultural nuances and sensibilities of your target audience.

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