The rising trend and availability of streaming media and Video-on-Demand (VOD) services has opened new and far-reaching opportunities for content owners. Crossing borders with your content has never been easier, provided it doesn’t get lost in translation. Not surprisingly, the demand for media localisation services has escalated these past years, as has the number of service providers.
Whether you’re a buyer of international content or a production or distribution company looking to sell your content internationally, a good and trustworthy localisation service provider will help you reach your destination.
We have been servicing the international localisation industry since our foundation in 2008 and have adapted many titles across multiple languages. Through our hands-on experience and close collaboration with our customers, we have identified four fundamental factors that are essential when choosing the right localisation partner. These factors will guarantee a successful foreign language adaptation and avoid any unnecessary surprises and obstacles down the line.
1. Local Experience & Local Resources
For your content to connect with your audience on a deep level, it is critical that your localisation partner is not only familiar with the specific region you are targeting, but holds a profound knowledge of the local customs, phrases, accents and dialects. Think of it in this sense – if the authenticity of your story is lost in the translation and adaptation process, your title will never succeed outside of its local market.
Consequently, no matter the localisation tactic employed (be it dubbing or subtitling), your foreign language versioning partner must remain loyal to the original storyline and message, to the characters and to the portrayal of their personality traits while at the same time having the creative freedom to tell the story. Make sure that the translators it employs have experience in art and literary translation and are native to the country in which your content will be released. This will ensure that translations are of the highest quality, mirroring the use of language, slang and dialects of your target viewers.
2. Awareness of Market Dynamics & Viewer Preferences
No two regions are the same, differing in their possibilities and their traditional viewing preferences. The choice of subtitling or dubbing should not come down to cost, rather what the viewer preferences are in your target territory. In general, Latin American viewers much prefer watching a dubbed title rather than one with subtitles. When ordering dubbing ask if you could get the subtitles as well for a small surcharge. Providing a choice to your audience might be a key differentiator. If you’re looking to bring your content to an international audience, viewers across Europe and the US prefer to watch foreign content in its original form and with subtitles. Some exceptions can be seen in several European countries such as Italy, France, Russian and Spain where audiences are accustomed to dubbed content.
Ask your localisation partner about its local presence in the region you wish to penetrate, if they don’t have a local office maybe they have valuable in-country partnerships in place? Whatever the case may be, it’s important that your chosen partner fully understands the market and the people to guide you in making the right choices.
3. Content Protection
Your most valuable asset is your content and it needs to be protected at all times. Ask your localisation partner about the technology it uses and how your content is received, accessed, processed and stored. Find out what security protocols it employs and what security measures are taken so that only the people working on your project have access to that content. It is also worth asking how the adapted version is transferred to you and what measures are taken within the organisation to remove all files upon project close.
4. Knowledge of Legal obligations
In practice, the responsibility for the provision of closed captioning and subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) lies with the broadcaster or SVOD platform. However, it is important that content owners and distributors are fully aware of the obligatory legal requirements in each territory. As time goes by and as governments across the world implement stricter access services, it might be a case that buyers will want to purchase content with closed captioning already implemented.
To ensure your content is compliant everywhere it is distributed, it is a good idea to find a localisation partner that is familiar with the legalities in the region you are targeting and is involved with an organisation such as the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), for example. In any case, they should be aware of the legal requirements for closed captioning in each country and region, fully able to advise you on the necessary steps to take.
In summary, good high-quality localisation is not a simple task of language translation. It involves many factors that all vary per country and per region. For those who are looking to distribute their content successfully, reach wider audiences and increase revenues, find a reliable and professional foreign language versioning partner who has experience in your target region. Better still, find a partner who knows your audience and who can guide you and accompany you on your global journey.