It’s an exciting and challenging time to be a localization manager. The streaming and content wars are well underway, and demand for translated content is up: Slator estimates the language industry grew by 11.75% in 2021.
For localization professionals, such rapid growth unlocks numerous opportunities for influence and recognition. However, this comes with a corresponding increase in responsibility. Strategies for engaging local audiences have become more sophisticated: projects are now more likely to contain video components. Set yourself up for success in 2022 and beyond by considering these five key areas of video localization.
1) Prepare for more responsibilities and challenges.
With companies realizing they need to localize content rapidly to maintain and grow market share, the role of localization manager has only gained importance. With the stakes high, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do everything yourself. Consider if this is the best use of your time. More responsibilities might necessitate a shift from focussing on your performance to empowering a team. If your company is looking to dedicate more time and money to localization, your input on strategy and ideas for innovation is where you can make the best impact.
Instead of sweating the small stuff, consider where you can delegate. Where can tasks be outsourced to colleagues or technology? Start by maximizing your efficiency and impact, and you’ll be in a good position to scale your efforts while keeping your workload manageable.
2) Establish a bold, well-communicated strategy.
It’s best if localization efforts come off the back of a go-to-market strategy for each new region. A plan can help you decide what markets to enter, what goals to set for that market, and how to measure success.
In an increasingly complex arena, it’s easy for projects to slip and budget to creep. Think about how to align efforts across your company - both when deciding on initial strategy and during execution.
Plus, keeping your finger on your project’s pulse could lead to opportunities for optimization. Noting the results of localization experiments allows you to tweak your strategy for optimum impact. In an oversaturated market, this can pull you ahead of the competition.
3) Pick the right translation method.
Different projects will have disparate aims, timelines, and cost considerations. No single strategy will work for all content or all audiences. To optimize your results, you need to select the best method at the right time.
Consider, for instance, whether subtitles, dubbing, or both are best for your needs. If you pick dubbing, you then have to choose from several types. Studio dubbing is expensive but best for the highly emotive expressions needed in big-budget movies. Machine translation is fast, efficient, and inexpensive but can flatten emotion and introduce speech errors. Hybrid solutions are great for content that needs the best of both worlds, like news updates, documentaries, or instructional videos. Papercup’s software, for example, uses machine translation with synthetic AI voices to add nuances of expression and tone, combined with assessment by human translators in post-edits to ensure dubbing quality.
4) Proactively plan for the coming translator shortage.
If all that’s not enough, there’s a storm on the horizon: bottlenecks in the supply chain and increased demand from streaming services like Netflix and Disney are likely to cause significant translator shortages over the next few years. As Mark Hjerpe, VP of Revenue at Intento, explains:
Translators can handle only 5% of content needs; therefore, localization managers are projected to be using smart machines to handle the other 95% in the near future. (Source).
Companies that plan for the upcoming shortage will be in an enviable position. If you’re using subtitles, having AI generate the text and a translator edit the results reduces the amount of human input needed. When using dubbing, solutions like Papercup provide AI synthetic voices with similar post-translation assessments.
5) Be willing to innovate.
You don’t need to be a technology expert to be a great localization manager. However, it’s good to keep up with the latest developments to avoid missing opportunities to innovate.
With the rise of automation technologies, now is an ideal time to look at your localization process. Are there things you’re only doing because you’ve always done them? Are manual areas now redundant? Are you only catching errors in post-edits, and could you address these at the source?
Focusing on adaptability rather than settling into a rigid groove will keep your translation efforts effective. It’s also a good attitude to take towards your role overall: there’s really no limit on where localization can take you.
With localization more necessary than ever, those responsible for the process of adapting content are critical to the success of globalized companies. Brushing up on technology, being savvy with strategy, and planning for emerging challenges can elevate your results and separate you from your competition.