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What You Need To Know About Multimedia Localization


6 min read

Written by


Argos Multilingual

Published on

21 Feb 2019

Why is Multimedia a big deal?

According to the 2008 Forrester study “How Video will take over the world”1, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. Of course, this is an exaggeration, based on some questionable mathematics – the author used the adage “a picture is worth 1000 words”, multiplied that by 30 frames per second and then again by 60 seconds.

That said, video does provide businesses a valuable way of engaging with prospects and clients alike. YouTube reports that mobile video viewing rises consistently 100% each year2, while Forbes’s “Video in the C-Suite: Executives Embrace the Non-Text Web” reports that 75% of executives watch work-related videos with 65% visiting a vendor’s website after watching their video3.

Looks as though video really is taking over the world, even if most one-minute videos are not worth twice Shakespeare’s entire contribution to humanity.

What are your options?

Multimedia projects can be a complex undertaking, particularly when your business is new to this area.
There are up-front decisions which will impact a project’s cost. In addition to the translation of any visual elements in a video, your business should decide whether it wants to record accompanying audio or just subtitle content.

With audio projects, untimed recordings (called “cold” recordings) are the least complex and least expensive to produce, but there will be times that you might need to either synchronize what is happening on screen with a scene-synched recording or even lip-synching. One finished minute of audio is usually about 25% more expensive for scene-synched than for cold recording, because more time needs to be spent at each step of the process making sure audio fits what the viewer is seeing on screen.
What is needed to record audio?

Set-up costs can seem high with multimedia projects, but there are lots of stakeholders involved, and more tasks needed than you might think. For example, studio time includes audio engineers, voice talents, language directors and post-production tasks like cleaning the audio (removing bumps and clicks which happen naturally when people speak), splitting and naming files as well as linguistic QA and any resulting fixes. Because of these minimum set-up costs, audio can appear expensive when only a small amount of recording is necessary.

How can you contain the costs?

Our number one piece of advice is to #AvoidRework!

Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to help reduce costs. Avoiding rework is the biggest single factor in keeping costs in check.

  • You need to decide on your preferred style before translation begins – whether the audio should be friendly and informal or more formal.
  • Scripts need to be completely final before the studio work begins. Ideally you should have someone internal who “signs off” the translation before recording begins.
  • Decide upon your technical requirements for deliverables – which file formats, file naming conventions and required bit rates.

It is highly recommended to provide pronunciation guidelines, too. While a voice talent is a professional actor, they are not normally experts in a particular domain. Even commonly used words or names can be incorrectly pronounced. For example, the sports shoe manufacturer, “Nike”. Or is it “Nikee”? Pronunciation guidelines should include clear guidance on how to deal with any possibly unfamiliar words in the target language; including domain terminology, product names, acronyms or jargon. Argos can help clients to identify these once the script has been approved.

You should choose the voice your business would like for the recording in each language. Argos will send samples which you can choose from. Then once chosen, we need advanced notice or timeline expectations so that we can make sure that the chosen voice talent is available and send them the script along with useful reference materials ahead of time. That way they become familiar with your content before the big day arrives.

We developed a series of checklists which help us make sure everything is right the first time.

Finally, you can save on studio time by bundling projects together. This way you amortize the set-up and tear-down costs of the studio.

Argos’ Translation & Localization Solutions

At Argos our Multimedia and E-learning Translation Services include Voice Over Translations, Dubbing Services and more. Contact Us for more information on how we can support you on your next multimedia localization project. 



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