More and more, the world is choosing to engage digitally. But what of your foreign audiences? How do you make sure they enjoy the same user experience as their native-English-speaking counterparts? The answer lies in voiceover and subtitles.
There are many different occasions when you might want to attract or engage with an international audience. It could be that you want to impart knowledge about a particular subject, and have chosen e-learning as your channel. Perhaps you want to attract interest in your business, either as a promotional video for your website or social presence, as a factory tour or product showcase. Or you may wish to enhance the visitor experience through an audio tour for a tourist or heritage attraction.
Here at Peak Translations, we have significant time-served expertise on all things translation and interpreting.
We’d like to share our best advice on how to use subtitles and voiceovers to best effect.
Adding subtitles to your video content makes your content more digestible and relatable for a foreign-language audience. Subtitles are also particularly suited where your audience might wish to engage with your content silently, e.g. whilst scrolling through social media during a commute.
In essence, subtitles are a shortened version of what is being said. So how do you decide what to subtitle?
At Peak, our understanding of the technical aspects of subtitles is as important as the translation itself. Appropriate subtitles are those which fulfil the following:
When working with a client on subtitles, the team at Peak takes the original script, creates shorter subtitles in English, and gets client approval on them, before embarking on the translation. It means we can make sure we have not inadvertently omitted an important element of the content.
Voiceovers feature as an audio aid. They are often used for audio tours, but can also be used alongside, or in place of, subtitles, across:
When assessing a requirement for a voiceover, we start with the original script.
We work with our client to adopt the best approach for the voiceover recordings which often means splitting the script into appropriate chunks. The reason for breaking the whole down into independent parts – supplied as individual .wav files – is that it allows changes to be made to certain elements of the voiceover without the need to re-record it in its entirety.
The disruption caused by Covid has brought into sharp focus the importance of this segmented approach. It is one we have put to good use when creating audio tours for tourist attractions, where we have created a separate .wav file on those elements that are subject to change (specifically on social distancing and the use of hand gel). The script is amended before the voiceover recording to create these standalone sentences.
Once we’ve determined the script, we offer the client a selection of different voices. It is important here to consider whether your foreign-language audience shares the same characteristics as your UK audience. For example, a tourist attraction in the UK may attract an overseas audience different to the British audience. The ideal British customer profile may be local families, in which case a voiceover of a parent or child may be most appropriate, possibly also with the dialect of that area. The ideal Far East customer, on the other hand, might be those who have the disposable income to travel to the UK, and may be travelling as couples or friendship groups, not families.
Whether to opt for subtitles or voiceover, or both, to support your foreign audience experience, will be determined by what the content is, who you are targeting, when they will be digesting that content, how, and where. Chosen well, subtitles and voiceover are highly effective in getting your message across to foreign audiences.
FOR ALL YOUR LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS CONTACT THE PEAK TEAM FOR ADVICE
01663 732 074
WE’RE ALWAYS HERE TO HELP WITH ANY QUERIES