4 Video Localization Tips for Great Corporate Year-End Messages

November 15, 2017

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Corporate year-end video messages – in which a company’s CEO or other high-ranking official discusses a year’s accomplishments and the organization’s plans going forward – establish rapport with employees, and give large organizations direction and vision. They also have to be accessible to large, multilingual workforces – and that of course requires video localization, in particular dubbing and subtitling. But what else can you do to make sure your video reaches out to every single one of your employees?

This post will list 4 tips for great localized corporate year-end-videos.

[Average read time: 3 minutes]

Reconciling video localization options & budgets

The following tips are geared towards improving quality and accessibility, as cost-effectively as possible. With that in mind, let’s jump right in.

1. Use UN-Style for the voice-over.

You may be tempted to choose lip-sync dubbing for your year-end video. And it makes sense – this video features your CEO, after all, so why wouldn’t you choose the Cadillac of video dubbing options? Because it may not be the best fit for your content.

UN-Style Voice-Over, which is commonly used for documentaries, news footage and corporate videos, may be a better fit. It offers three unique advantages over lip-sync. First, it allows for better localization accuracy, since translations don’t have to be edited to match lip-sync. Second, it keeps the voice of your CEO (or other corporate officers) speaking in the video, allowing international employees a personal connection with them. And third, it’s almost always more cost-effective than lip-sync dubbing.

2. Plan on localizing the on-screen titles.

Don’t forget this during the development and shooting for your video. On-screen titles replacement is absolutely crucial for full localization. It’s also relatively labor-intensive, since each title has to be replaced manually in most video editing programs (including Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere/After Effects and AVID). For this reason alone, try to keep titles at a minimum in your year-end video. There are also a few steps you can take to make on-screen title replacement more cost-effective, like keeping all source files (including any graphics editables), reducing timeline incidences, and avoiding text animation.

For more information, see our previous blog post, 3 Editors’ Tips to Lower On-screen Title Costs.

3. Subtitling? Use SDH to reach more of your employees.

Subtitling is also a good option for these kinds of videos, especially for workforces in the information, financial, and other white-collar sectors, in which many employees have some English-language fluency. They’re also cost-effective and relatively quick to produce, in part because you can leverage your existing closed captions file to create subtitles (with some tweaks).

But you should actually take them one step further, and produce subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, or SDH. Why? Because SDH contain both the linguistic information in subtitles, and the audible information in captions – all in one comprehensive localized deliverable. By switching to SDH, you effectively make your videos much more accessible.

4. Multilingual CEO? Consider a multilingual shoot.

Your CEO may be proficient, or even fluent, in multiple languages. Bilingualism, or even multilingualism, is a huge advantage in business, after all. If this is the case, you really should consider a multilingual video production.

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For example, if your CEO speaks both English and Spanish, consider shooting your video message in both languages, one right after the other. Depending on your setup, length of video, and the overall editing required, this may even be as cost-effective as recording localized Spanish voice-over, or close enough to make it worthwhile. Keep in mind that this will require translating the video script before shooting (especially so your CEO can rehearse). You should also make sure your CEO is comfortable doing this – otherwise your video shoot may be disastrous. But if you can pull it off, it’ll increase engagement dramatically for those locales.

You may not even have to re-shoot an entire video. Even just a short localized phrase can go a long way – anything like “Happy New Year,” or another local greeting. You’ll need to engage transcreation services, and make sure that each phrase integrates fully into the final video. You’ll also have to get a pronunciation reference for your CEO, or whoever speaks in your video. But this is the sort of gesture that really engages employees, and it may be worth the extra work.

Engage your in-country employees

Finally, there’s one group of people you should always engage for any corporate video localization – your in-country employees, especially your local human resources managers and marketing leads. They’ll have feedback on which localization options will “play” well, or are even necessary, for their specific locale. They may have great ideas for small content tweaks that will raise employee engagement. Or they may surprise you altogether with insights that define and improve your entire localization scope. And it makes sense, of course, since they’re part of your intended audience – your international, multilingual and multicultural workforce.

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