As more and more content floods the internet, global companies find it increasingly difficult to reach their audiences. Accordingly, an increasing proportion of this content is multimedia. The most professional and engaging experiences are ones that combine text with visual and auditory elements across multiple platforms. In fact, in its ability to spark more interactivity among today’s experience-driven audiences, cross-platform multimedia is often the only way to combat noise and capture attention.
But can multimedia content be localized in the same way as textual website content? The short answer is no.
Multimedia localization—or the process of adapting various forms of digital media to the needs and preferences of different geographic regions—piles layers of complex technology on top of simple text translation. Internationalization of multimedia file structure, multilingual voiceover script translation, subtitling, animation production, and testing and quality assurance are all important considerations depending on the type of content you deliver.
Needless to say, there are more moving parts than the average organization can handle internally. For many, it makes better commercial sense to hand the project off to a language service provider (LSP) that offers all these services under one roof—but also a few specific capabilities.
For multinational companies, it’s important to be able to produce and localize customized video content that resonates with local cultures. Your partner must be aware of cultural nuances and advise you how to adapt your message so that it works well everywhere.
Look for a partner that can produce local-centric videos that will successfully communicate your message within specific locales, efficiently and cost-effectively—without a lot of re-editing, which can eat into your budget. An ideal partner will offer a full suite of global video production services and translation and localization services.
The mobile app marketplace is booming. Research indicates that the worldwide number of mobile users will reach 5.07 billion by 2019, and in a recent survey, we found that more than half of these consumers only buy products from apps that provide information in their own language. Developers who meet this need could experience as much as 148 percent more downloads per country.
Successful app localization requires two important skillsets. One is understanding the complexities of the languages you need to support. The other is a solid grounding in the technical issues involved. Look for a partner with a deep understanding of both the language and technical sides of app localization—one that can thoroughly identify and analyze your target audience and its cultural requirements, including languages. An ideal partner will be one that can not only localize, but also test apps on local devices.
Getting started with an LSP
Videos and apps are only the tip of the iceberg. Graphics and illustrations, eLearning courses and training materials, Flash-based presentations and demos, and any number of other multimedia content types may demand your attention once you sit down to map out the project. At this stage things get pretty daunting, even when hiring someone to do the work for you. Preparation will be key to a smooth process for both parties.
Ultimately, you want a responsive LSP that can coordinate all workflows, resources, software, hardware, and other technologies needed to complete the project on time and on budget. Communication and groundwork will be critical to success. For example, a good LSP will suggest a project kickoff meeting and regular updates going forward; on your part, in-depth style guides, glossaries, and brand guidelines can help the LSP preserve your unique brand identity.
But we may be getting a little ahead of ourselves. If outsourcing isn’t even on your radar yet, perhaps start by exploring the business benefits and how to gain C-level support for the project. Get more information on this, plus other capabilities a partner should offer, in our whitepaper.