Translating Explainer Videos into Foreign Languages

More than ever before, business is a global endeavor.

Even small companies can offer their services and and attract new customers all around the world. But communicating effectively across cultural barriers is still very challenging. The good news is that making a serious effort to do so can really make you stand out from your competition. That is why we have developed a workflow to help our clients translate their video marketing content into different languages. How does the process work? 

If we are creating a video from scratch, our first step is to craft the script in English so that we can perfect the messaging and story before we do anything else. But even at this initial step, it is important to plan for an international audience. For example, avoid humor, slang, or common phrases that wouldn’t make sense when translated literally into another language. In English we often say things like, “it is raining cats and dogs out there”, but this would be utter nonsense to a non english speaker. (It is the equivalent of a frenchman saying, “It is raining ropes out there”.)

Once the script is complete, we move on to planning the visuals. Similar to the script, we spend a good deal of time making sure that nothing can be misinterpreted by someone viewing things from a different cultural perspective. It obviously wouldn't be a great idea to show a hamburger if your video is intended for India, but a lot of issues are more subtle than that. For example showing a man and woman shaking hands could be very problematic for many cultures. The point is, try very hard to step out of your skin and view everything from a foreign perspective. 

Once a solid English version of the multiculturalized video is complete, it is time to begin the translations into different languages.

We typically search for a well rated narrator who is a native of the country we are targeting.

Someone who also has a good enough understanding of English to be able to translate the intended meaning of the script into their own language. 

Because every language has a different structure, the amount of time it takes to communicate the same concept can vary widely. To compensate for this, we give our translators leeway to change the script enough to keep the runtime of the video approximately the same. This makes it so we don’t have to re-time large portions of the animation to fit the narration for each language.

Once the narration is complete we make any minor changes that are needed to customize the visuals for that particular region, such as updating contact information. Then we test the video for several other native viewers, and make sure we didn’t miss anything important. If they give the thumbs up, the new version of the video is all ready to go! 

Translating videos can be a significant amount of work, but allowing international audiences to watch your marketing material in their own language can be a powerful tool for your company. So next time you decide to produce a video, consider going for a multicultural masterpiece!

Here is an example of an Explainer video we recently translated into Castilian Spanish:

And also French: