22 Oct /21

Checklist: 5 key questions to cover when preparing to translate video content

Checklist: 5 key questions to cover when preparing to translate video content
Checklist: 5 key questions to cover when preparing to translate video content

Video content is a powerful way to engage audiences and producing it will continue to be a priority for many marketing and communications departments. Recreating this content into the languages strategic to your business also ensures international reach and a better content experience for international viewers. We call this process ‘Video localization’. Done well, it can make the difference between global viewers clicking ‘stop’ or ‘learn more’ on your content.

There are several factors which can slow down this process, however. To get your team to launch date celebrations, here are 5 key questions to consider as you prepare to publish multilingual video content.

#1 Will the subtitles have any character length restrictions?

Some TV and movie standards fall into a 37-43 characters per line range, while others have 70. It’s important for the customer to state their preference from the beginning of the project, to save having to rework it later.

Recently, a marketing agency came to us for a large video localization project. The team used their own media player, which had a default setting of only one line per subtitle, so we adapted our settings accordingly. We conducted some tests in the media player and discussed the results with the client.

Subtitle length restrictions – especially when using a specific media player – is an important topic to cover before the transcription process begins.


#2 Do you require open captions or closed captions for your subtitles?

This is essentially asking whether we are to ‘burn in’ the subtitles or deliver the subtitle file separately.

‘Open captions’ means we’re burning the subtitles into the video.


#3 Automatic (AI) vs professional linguist (human) transcriptions.

Automatically (AI) transcribed subtitles might seem like a faster and cheaper way of producing a video transcript. Unfortunately, this is often not the case and if anything, adds more time due to mistakes in the machine transcription. It’s important for us to know from the start whether a client has sent us a human or a machine (AI) transcription, so we know how much QA time to build into the job.

A regular Word file (with straight text and no time codes) will undergo a lengthy process to become a subtitle file.

It’s a smoother workflow and therefore more cost effective for the client to have us handle all procedures from transcription to translation and voiceover. AI-translated subtitle files typically need to undergo post-editing or proof reading and be reworked into to the character limit in the target language. The latter can be quite time-consuming in cases where the language expands during translation.


#4 Does your on-screen text (OST) need to be translated?

Would translating any of the original OST aid the viewing experience for your audience?

We have three ways of approaching OST translation:

1. If the client is inserting the translations themselves, we can deliver a ‘bilingual legend’ (a 2-column table with the source content on one side and translated content on the other).

2. If the client sends us the full video project files, we can insert the OST.

3. If the client wants us to insert the OST but does not have the video files, we can try to insert the OST into the subtitles themselves. This can be tricky, though, depending on the amount of OST and whether there is speech happening concurrently.


#5 Can you send us your full video project files (e.g. Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro, etc.)?

We need the original project files when doing OST and voiceover (if the original video has background music, for example), but not if we are just doing subtitles.


If any of this is confusing, speak with us today. We can talk you through the video localization process and help you get prepared.

EVS Translations works with global brands across TV commercials, product videos, and e-learning. We have the expertise, software tools and knowledge to help your business engage its international audience.

Contact EVS Translations today:

EVS Translations UK
+44 (0)115 964 4288

EVS Translations USA
+1 404-523-5560

Follow us on LinkedIn for more actionable advice and insight on translation.