Approaches to Localize Your Video Content

Approaches to Localize Your Video Content

In the last post, we talked about the localization of videos, what it is, and how it can help you business. Localizing your videos means adapting them for the different markets you serve. Enhancing mere translation, the process of localization factors in cultural nuances such as language, references, and even visual signals. This is extremely helpful for companies, as it makes the different audiences feel addressed individually. Thus, it makes it easier to create an emotional connection between your brand and your audience. But how can you localize your video content? Which options are there and which one is the best for your business? Let’s take a look at three common approaches.

Captioning and Subtitling

Captioning and subtitling are both approaches in which you display the content of the video as text on the screen. In most cases, they are displayed on the bottom of the screen. While they are similar, however, they are not the same. Subtitling typically refers to putting the spoken part in text, typically because the video audio is in another language. Captioning goes beyond that and also includes a visual description of other sounds (for example when a phone rings and the text shows “Phone Ringing”). This is because captioning is designed to make the content accessible to people who cannot hear the video. So basically, captioning is more of an enhanced form of subtitling that further improves accessibility. 

Using subtitling or captioning to localize your video content is perhaps the easiest approach to use with the lowest cost in comparison to the other approaches. You only need to localize the script and take the cultural nuances of the target market into account. Thus, this approach is a great way to save resources. However, there are some disadvantages. Since you don’t change any of the audio in this way of localizing your content, the audio is not adapted to the new market. One of the key advantages of video content is that it is extremely easy and comfortable to consume. However, if you have to constantly read the text, then you might not be using this advantage to its full potential. Also, focusing your attention on the subtitles might take away from the visual experience the video offers.

Be careful in the creation of captions and subtitles

Also, you want to be careful about how you create the captions/subtitles. While several services, such as YouTube have the option to create automatic captioning, this might not be the optimal way to do it. It is typically recommended to let an expert in the target market review the captions to make sure there are no linguistic mishaps or overlooked cultural nuances.


Dubbing goes a step further than subtitling. In the dubbing process, you create a new audio for the target market. This includes getting fluent or native speakers of the target language to recreate the audio part of the videos. The visuals, however, are usually not changed in a major way. Dubbing is generally very popular. Especially when it comes to TV shows and movies, this is a very common approach to make the content available in different markets.

While this way of video localization requires more resources than captioning or subtitling, it does have many benefits. The viewer gets to enjoy the video experience in their own language without having to read the text. This also allows you to keep nuances in tonality and emphases in the video, which will help you in captivating and really forming a connection with your different audiences. 


If you have the desire to go beyond dubbing to adapt your video content to a new market, then recreating the video or parts of it to better fit the other culture might be the way to go. This gives you the option to also change some of the visual signals included in the video. While this approach is not as common as dubbing for example, it is used in some cases. In addition to being the most adapted to the target culture, it is an amazing way to subtly show that you are willing to go the extra mile for your audience. This creates an even more personable relationship with your customers and ensures they feel approached and appreciated.

Mind the Culture

These are the main options there are for the localization of video content. Choosing the right one is an important decision which will largely depend on available resources, the desired impact that you want the video to have, and of course – the target culture.

In some cultures, such as Germany or France, dubbing is very widespread. You will notice that for example on German television, pretty much all content from other countries is dubbed with barely any exceptions. Thus, the people in this market are used to having the comfort of an adapted audio for most content. This might make it harder to reach them on an emotional basis through subtitles.

Other markets, however, might have more of an affinity for subtitling. This is especially the case in many Eastern European countries. There, it might not be necessary to go through the dubbing process as these markets are used to – and often even prefer – the subtitling and the resulting authenticity of the original audio. Thus, when localizing your video, you want to make sure that the approach you use also considers cultural differences.

Conclusion - Localize Your Video for Maximum Impact

Video Content allows for different localization approaches. They vary in the resources they require, the impact they will likely have, and their effects in different cultures. Thus, these approaches all have their own benefits and disadvantages. When choosing one over the other, it is important to consider the different factors mentioned. This will ensure a fruitful localization to the different target markets and help you in creating meaningful relationships with customers from various countries. 



Want to find out more about how you can create and localize a video to address different markets with it? Get in touch now!

Want to find out more about the world of videos? Check out this post on the many types of video and discover the great variety of ways in which businesses can use videos to boost success!