How to Use Video to Reach More Diverse Audiences?

Video Translation

The power of video marketing has grown exponentially in recent years. They are more accessible than ever; they can easily and quickly be uploaded on the Internet, and they now integrate seamlessly into social media feeds, catching viewers’ attention far more effectively than still images or text.

Multinational companies can significantly increase the effectiveness of their videos by adapting the content and language of the video to localized audiences. The most effective way to do this would probably be to produce different videos for different audiences, but video production is very expensive, and it’s not always necessary.


You can avoid the need to produce a different video by ensuring that the content and imagery in the original video translates well across cultures. Note that some imagery may be received well in some cultures and very badly in others. Proctor & Gamble made this mistake when they recycled a US & European marketing strategy to appeal to a Japanese audience. The ad featured a woman bathing, and a man entering the room and touching her. European audiences found this sexy; Japanese audiences found it invasive and inappropriate.

If the imagery of your video translates well, you’ll need to decide how to translate the audio. One option is to have a separate audio track (a voiceover or dubbing); another is to add subtitles.

Voiceover vs. Dubbing

A voiceover is a production technique featuring a voice audio track that is not part of the narrative. If you already used voiceover for the original video, it’s very easy to swap out one language track for another. You’ll need to have the transcript translated, and hire a voice actor to record the track in the new language.

Dubbing is replacing the audio track of dialogue in the video with the same dialogue in another language. This is often used to localize children’s films, since children may not be able to read fast enough to follow subtitles (if at all). But in some cultures, adults also prefer dubbed videos over reading subtitles. It’s important to hire a local expert who knows what audiences in that area respond to best.

Subtitles vs. Captioning

Subtitles and captions are lines of text that appear onscreen to provide additional or interpretive information to the viewer. Subtitles are usually used for providing a translation of the dialogue in the video for viewers who don’t understand the spoken language.

Captions, on the other hand, are used to describe the sounds and speech in the video for people who can’t hear them. They were primarily used for the benefit of people with impaired hearing. These days, however, a particular quirk of social media has made captioning useful for hearing people as well: the “autoplay” function on social media feeds. Videos start playing automatically when they pop up on a Facebook or Twitter newsfeed. This means that people who may not have clicked on the video may be drawn in if it is visually engaging enough, but many of them may continue watching without sound. Adding captions makes it possible for the video to convey its message regardless of whether the viewer clicked on it or turned on the audio.

Remember: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

No matter how well you translate the content and text, a well-produced, visually appealing video will speak most clearly to your audience. Make sure you choose a production team that can make a beautiful and professional-looking video.

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