If you have a video, movie, cartoon or YouTube short, what’s the best way to get it out there? You should, of course, be thinking about reaching the broadest possible audience. Have you given any thought to how a translated video may allow you to reach your goals fast and efficiently? Then you need to read on to get in on the action!

Every content creator our there dreams of achieving global stardom. At the very least, they aim to produce work that engrosses, captivates, teaches and entertains. But think about how much of this material can be hobbled by being available to one audience! That’s not the way we roll in 2020, no siree!

You see, the internet has democratized access to content in ways that were unachievable ten, fifteen years ago. And sure, while English is the lingua franca, and audiences are becoming more bilingual, that’s not something you should rely on definitively. There’s nothing better than speaking to audiences on their own terms and respecting their own idiosyncracies in a language that they can understand.

There are two efficient ways towards that goal when we’re talking about shooting for a translated video:

  1. The first step is the actual translation part. That’s best left to a professional with a deep knowledge of the target culture.
  2. The second is deciding how you will want to portray your translated content. Are you going to subtitle or dub your video?
  3. Depending on your choice, here’s where you execute that step in your gameplan.

In this article, I’m going to throw my hat in the ring to convince you that subtitling is the best, most cost-effective way to go. Care to join me?

But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:

This post was updated in June 2021

Translated Video Step #1: Getting Into Translation

So, you’ve probably watched a couple of subtitled movies in your time. Maybe (hopefully!) you’ve read a novel by an acclaimed foreign author. If you haven’t ever read anything by Argentine genius Jorge Luis Borges, you should definitely give that a try. Whatever your penchant for foreign literature and media, you’ve probably run across a few noteworthy page-turners. And that’s because translation, invisible as it is, is very prevalent in our culture.

It’s easier than ever to access art and information from all walks of life, and that includes all continents and island nations. Gone are the days of art being confined to its country of origin, and our languages confounding communication. The Tower of Babel is a nice biblical metaphor, but we’re living in an age of increased communication, which breeds the possibility of unity and understanding. That wouldn’t be possible if translation wasn’t around.

Translation, as it is, aims to take content written in one language and preserving as much of its meaning and structure while converting it into another. The translator follows these simple (but quite deep) processes to get the job done:

  • They read and analyze the text in the source language.
  • They convert it into the target language, preserving as much of the original identity as possible. If the text calls for it, the translator may make small aesthetic changes for language to flow more naturally in the new language. This means paying special attention to colloquialisms, slang words, and fixed expressions.
  • They proceed to proofread and edit the text until it’s polished to perfection. In agencies or big companies, a specialized proofreader can also take care of this part.

Step #2: Brokering communication

That’s the real talent of the translator. They don’t blindly string words together as an AI translator would. We’ve been pretty condemnatory of machine translation here in the past. That’s not us being unfair, though; I believe we’ve offered an accurate assessment of what automatic translators are, and what they’re not. Hype aside, they’re simply not ready for standalone professional application, and the jury’s still out on when (or IF!) this will happen. What’s sure is that at some point these powerful software solutions will be a valuable addition to translators’ arsenals.

translated video and how to do it

And why is that? Because to make a long story short — that’s been covered in this article — AI systems and bad translators attempt to translate literally. That leads to wonky, awkward, unusable translations at worst. At best, a literal translation will produce something that’s effective, but not efficient. It’s the type of translation that’s always calling attention to itself, whether it wants to or not.

Have you ever seen a translated video, book, or translated bit of content that feels off? Where it seems like the characters are speaking in a stilted language that is grammatically correct, but doesn’t sound natural? That’s because someone hasn’t been doing their job properly!

A good translator should endeavor to be invisible. Their aesthetic embellishments are not attempts at co-authoring a text. They’re there to make the target-language output sound and read more naturally to the intended audience. A bad translation may not be immediately noticeable, but things can get harrowing for the attentive and discerning reader if bad examples pile up.

Why subtitling?

Simply put, unless you’re a multinational or have a seven-figure budget, subtitling is the most effective solution to achieving a translated video. Also, it’s probably the easiest way to easily and cheaply localize your content to have it ready for consumption.

Mind you, dubbing might also be a solution if you’ve got the cash and the talent. But not everyone is ready for lengthy auditions, managing a multi-actor cast, and studio and budgeting logistics. And it doesn’t have to be either! Even huge companies with proprietary content like Netflix are banking on foreign-language content.

This bid is not made blindly, for sure. Even though Americans mostly prefer watching content in just their language, a widespread push towards subtitling could change that. Let’s go over some of the advantages of subtitling as the translated video solution.

  • It’s cheaper. Chances are, the rates for translating your entire script could be a fraction of what it would take to hire just one voice actor.
  • It’s faster. The turnaround time will depend on the length of the material, sure, but again, it will be but a tiny bit of what it would take to record one character’s lines. Depending on the length of the script, having the translated version in your hands may take mere days. If we’re talking about a whole season or series of movies/videos, it’ll be more, though.
  • It’s easier to apply. For example, you don’t even need to reupload your videos on YouTube to add captions for new languages. Are you salivating at the thought of the hit counter on your video increasing dramatically? You should!
  • It maintains the original flavor and your original voice. However much you like dubbing, it’s still a reinterpretation of the original. That’s not always a bad thing, of course, but many factors will start to slip away from your grasp. Subtitling preserves your original vision, and thus your creative control and intent.

getting video translated

So, who do I hand over my translated video duties to?

Fortunately, we’re at the most favorable point in history to make that question! There’s a wealth of subtitling services and companies to choose from. Many of these could handle translated video duties efficiently, and some wouldn’t. In our article about subtitling services, we go over these in more detail. For now, I’ll provide Cliff’s Notes. After all, this journey is all about the destination: which ones offer the best bang for your buck?

The only option is our very own Bunny Studio

Subtitling is actually part of our bread n’ butter here, so you’d be in really good hands. The rates, when compared to Rev, can be quite competitive as well, and there’s a multitude of languages and dialects to choose from. The best part about our service is that we’ve got pretty stringent standards; while the entry process is democratic, a vast majority of entrants do not pass muster. That’s because we believe in providing a system of curated, experienced professionals that have been proven to deliver time and time again.

Another big asset is that our platform acts as a buffer between the client and the translator. Our QA team makes sure that only those translations that meet the client’s exact criteria are delivered. That way, you don’t waste time with the frustration of unnecessary revisions.

Hire the perfect translator now!

And hey, if you change your mind and decide that you also fully want to voice your content, it wouldn’t hurt to look at our pool of over 28,000 voiceover professionals. Just sayin’. We’ve got plenty of creative solutions to help solve whatever you need. If you’ve got outsourcing needs, we can help supply the perfect talent at reasonable rates, and with blistering turnaround times. No fluff, great content with nothin’ but net!

Summing up

Getting a localized translated video on your hands and audience-ready is faster and easier than ever. You can chalk that up to both subtitling services being in high demand by audiences who want to experience the OG content, and these companies stepping in to fill that void efficiently.

Right now, getting your video subbed and seen in record numbers is just a few clicks and credit card swipes away. And we’re not even talking about breaking the bank here! For just a small investment you could have a multi-language video operation up and running in no time. These reduced operative costs are a big, big factor in helping you gain success and reach that would’ve been unheard of before the 2000s.

Simply put: are you ready to start winning? We’ll be here when you say ‘yes!’