Video Translation: Subtitles or Voiceover Dubbing

First off what’s meant by the words “video translation“? At our company when a customer asks about video translation it usually means they have existing video content that contains English, it could be on-screen text, or audio such as a narrator speaking throughout the video.

In cases where there’s audio content in the form of spoken language there are essentially two choices for translating the spoken audio. One option is adding subtitles to the video, leaving in place the existing spoken language audio, placing written text in a designated target language at the bottom of the video. The other option is to record new audio content (voiceover) in the target language and then apply it to the video, replacing the original spoken audio.

Video Translation Using Subtitles

In the video example below note that the video’s English narration has Spanish subtitles applied.

To produce the above company overview video for our client we were provided only with the English language video and the instruction to add Spanish subtitles. The following steps then occurred:

  1. A transcript of the English narration was prepared by listening to the speaker and writing down what’s spoken.
  2. The written transcript was then assigned to a translator for translation.
  3. The translated script was proofread by a second translator, both linguists being native Spanish speaking.
  4. The subtitles were then applied to the video by a specialist video editor.

Video Translation Using Voiceover Dubbing and On-Screen Text Editing

In the example below note the video animation contains spoken instruction in English.

Below note  that the English narration is replaced with a Vietnamese voiceover. The on-screen text is also translated.

The steps to achieve the Vietnamese translation version of the video are similar to the ones listed above except that subtitling is omitted, and a professional voiceover was recorded and then placed into the video animation. On-screen text was edited in the original application, in this case Adobe After Effects.