When almost everything we see and hear is in both French and English, we often forget how complicated it can actually be to create certain types of media in multiple languages. Creating multi-language videos offers a particularly unique set of challenges if you’ve never done it before. However, if you implement the following tips in your video design, integrating multiple languages will be a whole lot easier.
Translate Before Creating the Video
Some phrases simply don’t translate well to other languages. This can create a significant problem if you discover that voice over or subtitled text simply won’t be able to match the action on the screen. The easiest solution to this problem is to perform all translations in advance. If any prove troublesome, you have time to rewrite the script before recording video.
Pad Your Run Time
Video creators will tell you that dead space and silence are usually bad things. While this is true in the general case, these things are actually valuable when creating multi-language videos. Every single language takes a different amount of words and syllables to express a concept.
For both voice over work and subtitles, this means that you want to leave longer than normal pauses between sequences. The extra time allows the more verbose language to fully express the same content as the less verbose language, or allows the viewer more time to read the subtitles. This principle also applies to subtitles in regards to filling screen space. With the language that has shorter words, it is better to leave unused space at the edge of the screen or graphic than to need to use a smaller font for the other language.
The difference in length won’t always be consistent, which means you should be conservative in both script design and graphical design.
Plan for Dubbing As Well
Assuming you are using a professional voice over artist (and we highly recommend you use a professional voice over artist), bridging the gap between different language lengths shouldn’t be inordinately difficult if you save a copy of the original audio files. If given the original audio file, a professional voice over artist can usually match lengths. However, this will be a lot easier if you can bring in the performer before any tape is recorded.
Choose Setting and Costuming Carefully
When creating a multi-language video, you want to avoid having any visible words or logos on the screen. People watching the video generally don’t want to see any other language visible than the language they are watching it in. This is easy to avoid if you are careful to make sure your performers wear clothing without logos and that you pick a location where no signs are visible in the background (or cover any visible signs during recording).
The easiest way to successfully create a multi-language video is to hire the services of a video production company that has experience making these types of videos. However, if you are making the video yourself, the previous tips will help ensure the highest possible quality for your creation.