Social Media Targeting Video

Lights, Camera, Transaction: Why Tech Marketers Need to Translate Their YouTube Videos

Posted by Ian Henderson on May 2nd, 2014 at 1:12 pm

YouTube has become a go-to destination to learn the ins-and-outs of new technology, whether you’re trying to build a website on WordPress or learn Ruby on Rails. A lot of people who have bought a new tech product have ended up on the video-sharing site when looking for tutorials. There are thousands and thousands of these kinds of lessons to be found on YouTube, but there’s one problem – many of these educational tech videos are recorded in English and, of YouTube’s one billion unique monthly visitors, 80 percent come from outside the U.S.

While some may speak English, many YouTube visitors don’t speak it as their first language. Considering that three-quarters of customers prefer to purchase a product in their native language, that means an English-only YouTube presence could be costing tech companies business.

A Global Influence

Videos have already become central to decision-making. In an interview, Mike Miller, Google’s director of business and industrial marketing, explained that executives index very high on using video. “So if you’re a B2B marketer and you’re trying to reach the C-suite, video is a great way to go,” he commented.

Miller specifically cited “how-to” videos as being prevalent on YouTube. That’s the kind of multimedia experience that can help win over customers as they research different options. CIOs want to know what the inner workings of a product look like, and prospects may want a video to share with the rest of their teams. No matter what, having a steady library of helpful video content – especially when it breaks down the benefits of complex technology – can be extremely appealing for prospects.

In a lot of cases, tech companies already know the power of video. Google has 2.7 million YouTube subscribers. Microsoft almost has 200,000, and even smaller companies like TechSmith have accrued substantial followings – the software provider has nearly 8,000 subscribers.

But if those businesses are targeting YouTube’s huge international audience, do they have videos specifically for those viewers? And would it be worth it to create localized material to cater to that audience?

YouTube makes it easy to find out. If your business has a channel, just click “Analytics” when you’re managing the channel, and you’ll see a granular summary of countries from which people are viewing your content. This is a great way to decide what country you should target with a new video marketing push – the Philippines? Russia? Mexico?

YouTube will tell you exactly how many viewers from each country have seen your videos, as well as which ones are being watched in what region. After narrowing down which market to test with new videos, companies should think carefully about the best way to implement localized content.

Translating in Motion

Translating a video isn’t as easy as translating a technical document. Even if companies ask a translator to translate a script, that doesn’t mean the new script is easy to bring to life on the screen. Many phrases in English turn out to be significantly longer when they’re translated, which means subtitles for quick how-to videos and brief concept films aren’t really an option – by the time someone’s done reading the subtitle, the scene has already skipped ahead.

That’s why dubbing the video is usually a better option than relying on subtitles. That can mean roping in experienced voice actors and editing the source files for the video to better match the new narrative. For this kind of project, companies should may want to consider looking into different global language service providers that can provide these services. Many LSPs can source local talent that is fluent in the language and familiar with video software, so editing and localizing content to make it culturally relevant is a seamless process. The video can be dubbed by professional voice actors and subsequently edited for clarity.

Translators can also provide other recommendations when it comes to changing colors, phrases or other nuances that help the video better fit within the region’s context.

When to Translate

There are two ways to know when it’s time to translate a video. First, monitor your YouTube analytics to see exactly where visitors live. If enough of your audience is coming from non-English speaking regions, it may be time to experiment with localized video.

Want to know if you’re getting traction from that video? This can be an easy test – simply link to the translated video from the original and see if viewers decide to watch the film in their native language, instead.

The ultimate way to know whether or not it’s time to translate something is, of course, whether you have a localized website. A website should be translated before anything else, because that’s the foundation for all of your online marketing. Once web copy and design have been finalized, it will be much easier to create other collateral, too, because you will already have an established tone and brand.

A multinational video marketing campaign can leave a big impact in a new market, but only if the videos are translated smoothly and professionally, so that the local content and messaging fully resonates.

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