Video translation: what you need to know

Leading brands are successfully using videos as part of their international marketing strategies. Not only in product or service advertising, but also in content marketing.

According to a recent study by Wyzowl – a video production company – 86% of businesses use video as part of their marketing strategy. This is growing each year and is predicted to continue. Another study by Social Media Week found that 72% of consumers prefer learning about a product or service through video. YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google and as it is localised in more than 100 countries and available in 80 languages, it shows how video can have a truly global reach. Video is clearly a growing and key channel for engaging global audiences. It’s estimated that by 2022, 82 percent of the global internet traffic will come from video streaming and downloads (Cisco, 2019).

Video translation is a powerful tool to reach new markets. If you’re looking to localise your videos, here are some of the options:


If your video contains a small proportion of spoken content or specific instructions such as a ‘how-to’ video, you might opt for subtitles alone. Kantar Worldpanel use subtitles for their Chinese audience in this video:


This can be more effective for speaking to your target audience in their language and demonstrates that you value their business by going the extra step. Voiceover also allows you to personalise your content – specifically with the voice of a native speaker and further localisation with regards to tone. Again, looking at the same Kantar Worldpanel video translation, we can see that for their French audience they have opted for a voiceover instead of subtitles.

Mix of both:

Using both makes videos easier for audiences to watch, wherever they are, and whatever they’re doing. If they’re on public transport without earphones, if they are deaf or if they simply want to read along, captions help people engage easily.

Take a look at Lego’s global ad campaign with a whole host of languages:

Considerations for choosing video content to translate

Of course, not all video content will work effectively in all areas of the world. So before embarking on a localisation project, you must assess whether your video assets are relevant for your overseas audience.

Local teams can help identify video content that is suitable for voiceover or subtitling, and flag up content that needs further localisation or may need to be completely recreated/rewritten. Their local knowledge is also invaluable in deciding on the specification for the voiceover artist for the content, i.e. the appropriate age, gender, regional accent etc. for the voice.

There may also be opportunities to localise further elements of your video content to make it more engaging and culturally appropriate. For example, graphics and animations can be localised, and most importantly, the end screen in your video with contact information or a call to action.

If you want to speak to our team to find out more about video translation or other translation services, please get in touch. You may also be interested in our free guide which covers the 6 Steps to translate and localise your website.

Guide download

Pin It on Pinterest