Maintaining the quality and user value of the original content requires a solid localisation strategy.
Within the localisation process, there are a vast number of elements that must be carefully considered, so it’s worth taking a deep breath and accepting the fact that you’ll need a checklist:
- Immediate Value
- Know your Audience
- Translation vs Adaption
- Orality vs Grammar
Some projects like eLearning, manuals, and purely informative content seem easier to localise, while business and corporate videos are more complex.
Be it for internal use, within teams and financial boards, external use, social media, or on your website – Corporate videos must provide an immediate value, not just information.
Projects With the Perception of Value
Generally, corporate projects will include video content ranging from hundreds to thousands of words. A solid localisation strategy will usually target the most spoken languages worldwide, depending on the desired markets for that project.
The video’s audience will not always have the predisposition to consume and interact with the content in front of them.
Suppose the project is a presentation for an investor, a webinar for users, or a promoted product presentation on a landing page. In that case, you must immediately suggest value to your audience to engage the prospect or lead. Otherwise, your audience will stop the video, leave, get distracted, or say no.
Continental or Local?
Knowing your audience is the key to making the right localisation choices.
Connecting Widely with Localised Content
If the audience is widely spread or you are targeting a large country or area, prioritise this audience’s most common aspects and emotions. Look for that thing that connects them as one group or find the largest group within them without polarising your audience.
For a project like this, cater to the masses.
Another tactic is to use fluid or blurred accents. Hiring a professional voice actor that can represent many slightly varying accents and incorporate the region’s spirit without sounding like they are from a particular area is an effective trick. This is why the transatlantic accent is one of the most popular for projects simultaneously aimed at both the US and the UK markets.
Connecting Locally with Transcreation
If the audience is narrow, limited to a small location, speaks a specific dialect, or even has an extremely contrasting culture, it’s essential to make this audience feel seen – They will appreciate it.
Transcreation, rather than translation, is how you represent their culture accurately. This is when a word-for-word translation won’t do; creatively translating the content to best retain the original message and tone is necessary. Some words and phrases are untranslatable in other languages.
This may polarise those outside your target audience, but It’s a choice you will be confronted by: do you want to engage deeply with that local audience, or do you want to please a larger market with a more general translation?
Translation or Adaption?
Some projects only require translation, while others deserve a more creative approach.
Usually, a local native translator will spot mistakes in automated translation and any other issues that can compromise the branding and the communication of value within their culture, and they will adapt the translation until it becomes Transcreation.
In other words: they’ll create a version where the message is clearer in their language than a word-for-word translation would be. However, synchronisation and oral fluidness are challenging to spot when the translator isn’t specifically considering the voiceover medium.
It’s not just about what is said; it’s also about how it sounds.
The original script in its initial language can create problems for the clarity of a localised project. The reason for this is that the brand and its values are usually very clear and habitual to the brand and its usual audience, and it’s difficult to put themselves in the position of a new market that doesn’t know the company. This audience will therefore require a bigger hook and some scriptwriting services, not just translation.
Other issues that can appear are lengthy phrases, oversized scripts and words that don’t sound good.
These problems are expected of written translation because oral fluidity, synchronisation and sound perception are only considered when the translator specialises in voiceover translation. This is the key to localised content sounding good.
AI & Translation Mistakes
It’s comprehensible if you decide to use AI to create a draft. Even human translators use CAT tools to speed up the process. However, AI traits can be evident and destroy the perception of value in projects such as corporate videos, product explainers, promos, and branding content. A human translator and proofreader must also work on the copy to give it the human touch.
Choosing an open and resourceful translation service and clearly communicating the value proposition and brand guidelines is usually enough. For more demanding projects, you’ll also benefit from adding a second layer of revision by relying on the voice actors’ judgment to spot a mistake or improve the orality of the copy – Who better than a native speaker with no biased view to share a perspective from outside the company’s internal context?
Orality or Grammar?
The project’s medium will guide whether grammar or sound is the priority.
Your message might be decreasing in value, stage by stage, without you noticing unless a translator or proofreader is hired to work further on the copy and make it sound pleasurable, comfortable, and natural.
It’s challenging to find a freelance translator who understands the context of the copy and is willing to go the extra mile. This is why Voquent pair translators with projects based on more than just language. Medium and style should also be considered, as this will retain the value and quality of the project for its audience.
Translators not considering the voiceover medium will prioritise grammar over what sounds good.
Of course, grammar and punctuation have a reason to exist on the paper/screen, but it’s not helpful if it works against the oral message. Most punctuation will make sense while recording, but it should not constrain the oratory.
Tip: Give specific or general guidelines for reading acronyms, foreign words, and industry-specific terminology whenever possible.
The discussed projects must always show immediate value for those receiving the message and keep infusing value throughout. It’s a matter of nurturing the perception of value and over-delivering whenever possible.
Remember: nobody consumes information detached from value, so make your presence remarkable and unique for those you want to engage with.
Find more helpful tips from Amanda at Amandadeandrade.com
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