The digital age has brought with it an explosion of media productions of audiovisual multimedia assets. While in the past advertising and training options where limited to the school rooms, books, newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio and TV, nowadays, a very large portion of media budgets have moved to digital mediums, like websites and social media. Translation of these assets is inevitable if your target market crosses local borders.
Media translation often requires the translation of audio tracks which will involve dialects and may require extra attention to the locale’s needs. For instance, English to Italian audio translation may not be as demanding as English to French audio translation. Italian is only officially spoken in 2 countries, Italy and Switzerland. You don’t typically translate a media clip into Italian to target people in other regions of the world. French however is much different. French is an official language in 29 countries and spoken in many more. It can vary widely in the way it is spoken and its accents!
There are even more difficult languages to translate. Media assets that need translation from English to Chinese not only have to deal with the fact that Chinese is the official language in 3 countries, but it is offered in two character sets, Traditional and Simplified, and over 200 dialects, where Mandarin and Cantonese are the 2 major ones! Handling the translation and localization of media assets requires a proven translation process.
In all media translation work that involves audio, one has to translate before audio recording takes place. Most importantly, one has to determine the geography and locales that the translated assets will target. Once the translation is done, it needs to be thoroughly reviewed by locals to ensure the accuracy of the translation rendering and possibly perform transcreation where needed to make the translated result natural for locals. If for instance you hire a USA translator that is a native of Italy to do the translation for you, involve a reviewer that lives in Italy in the region that the media piece is targeting. There is no such thing as one global translation solution. All projects involving international translation require local expertise! As they say, think global but act local.
At this point, a language voice translator is not required. Instead, a proper voice talent should get involved now that your local marketing reps are absolutely content with the translated text. Selecting the right voice recording talent is of paramount importance as dialects, local accents, annunciation, tone, tempo, gender and many other variables play a significant role in the acceptance of the localized media piece. Sometimes you need actors to perform the audio recording, particularly if a video output is needed of the voice talent. You want to work with a voice recording service that can not only give you a wide choice of voice talents, but that will also provide the needed resources to help complete the job.
With advances in microphone and computer technology, good quality VO recording or voice over dubbing may take place practically anywhere. However, to maintain a consistent quality and result across media assets and languages, the use of professional studios and consistent equipment is desirable, along with a recording manager and qualified technicians overseeing the process. A recording manager can coach a group of voice talents to create the complete voice assets and recording technicians will ensure proper fidelity and quality of the audio tracks to be used.
Audio synchronization and final processing of localized multimedia assets are essential to the release of quality end result. Simply adding the translated audio tracks to the source language asset will not ensure properly timed finished output. Verbiage always shrinks or expands with translation requiring tuning the timing of when the audio track needs to be started or ended. Audiovisual publishing technicians that are proficient with the use of synchronization software such as iSpring Suite, Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline will be able to take on this task and ensure flawless output that you will be thrilled to use.
At times, subtitles are used instead of voiceover to speed up the localization process and minimize costs. But subtitles are not much less costly and the end-result may not be as appealing as voiceover result. Yes, with subtitles, you don’t have to worry about identifying the ideal voice talent or paying them or a studio the cost of recording the needed audio track, but you lose a lot in the delivery of the translated content with only text! Consider subtitling only when budgets are really tight or when a good majority of your audience comprehends or prefers to hear the original language audio track of the media asset, but can benefit from reading the subtitles when needed.
Audiovisual Translation and Localization
The benefits of audiovisual translation are numerous and obvious. The real cost of any media or eLearning asset is in its initial development cost. Translation and localization costs that follow, particularly if executed correctly, are minuscule compared to production costs. Yet, translation and localization of media and eLearning assets open up the potential for the whole world to benefit from them, instead of just limiting their benefits to the geography or country they were developed for.
At GlobalVision, we have tremendous experience localizing multimedia audiovisual assets in all commercial languages. Our team understands the nuances involved and how to avoid costly mistakes. Incorrect translations can lead to rampant production costs if not caught and corrected early. A translation mistake detected after voice and production steps can be a very costly mistake!
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