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Preparing for Audio and Video Translation Projects

Part of your global marketing strategy may include audio and video translation services. Whether it is an advertisement for your YouTube channel or a training video for your product, it is essential that the messages resonate with each of your target audiences, which means delivering the content in their language.

Approximately 25% of worldwide internet users speak English, therefore approximately 75% of internet users speak a language other than English. Audio and video translation is complex, time-consuming and can be costly, but it is necessary for successful global campaigns.

Preparing for Audio and Video Translation

Audio and Video Translation Projects

Source Files

It is essential to share your content in its native format, e.g. WAV for videos or timed scripts in MS Word for audio files, with your translation teams. This allows the localization engineering teams to analyze the time stamps for voice-over and subtitles. Something important to keep in mind when creating the script is to avoid colloquialisms, slang and other regional references that will likely be lost in translation.

Narration Instructions and Engineering Specifications

Voice narrations can be complex so you will want to be prepared to brief your language services provider on several items, such as: tone of voice (formal vs. informal address and any specific accent), required speed range, pronunciation guidelines, etc. For engineering specifications, you will need to convey to the localization engineering teams the file format, hard limit, wave range, etc., before they start the productions.

Auditioning Voice Talent

When planning your audio and video translation project, you need to decide on the following details with regards to voice talents: how many voices you will need, their gender, age range, dynamic of voices, languages, and whether you want union or non-union talent. You can request voice samples or have the talent audition with your actual script.


In summary, it is important to complete detailed project preparation for audio and video translations prior to engaging with your LSP. Be sure to keep the communication open and clearly communicate your localization project goals.