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Video Strategies for Connecting with Multicultural Communities

Did you know that 95% of messaging is retained through watching a video as opposed to reading? (Insiva)

When done correctly, multilingual videos can be used to reach and educate multicultural audiences about complex ideas in a more direct and engaging way than other multilingual materials, such as print.

And, with over 17% of humanitarian migrants to Australia being illiterate in their own language (National Centre for Longitudinal Data, 2013-2014), in many cases, video is a more appropriate way to communicate with culturally and linguistically diverse Australians.

Ethnolink’s CEO and Founder, Costa Vasili, together with Anthony Lam, the Founder and Managing Director of Punchy Digital Media, recently hosted a webinar where they shared their tips and strategies for producing high-quality multicultural videos.

Here are the top 3 strategies they recommend when planning your next multicultural video campaign.

#1 – Videos with both multilingual subtitles and in-language voice over

The first strategy is the most highly recommended by both Costa and Anthony, as it gives the viewer the best of both worlds — subtitles and dubbing.

Subtitles are the most straightforward and budget-friendly way of making videos accessible for multicultural audiences.

Multilingual subtitles are created by translating video scripts into other languages and then aligning the timing of the on-screen captions with the video audio and are rapidly becoming more common on streaming services such as Netflix, and YouTube.

Meanwhile, in-language voice over, also known as dubbing, is the replacement of a video’s audio with audio recorded in a different language.

Dubbing has become more popular in recent years, as it is easy to consume and allows the audience to have a more comprehensive viewing experience.

The main advantage of creating videos with both multilingual subtitles and in-language voice over is that multilingual audiences can choose their preferred way to watch a video in their language.

Check out a video we produced for Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) with Arabic subtitles and voice over.

Discover the full production process of this multilingual video in our CPRC case study.

This strategy is best practice when creating multilingual videos as it is the most accessible and provides your audience with options, whilst offering the best viewing experience.

However, this approach is not always possible, as it requires a fair amount of financial and time investment. In that case, you may wish to consider one of the following options.

#2 – Videos with multilingual subtitles

I’m sure you’ve noticed captions displayed at the bottom of videos that you’ve watched on Youtube, Netflix or even TV.

Due to globalisation and the increased amount awareness of accessibility, there is an increased demand for subtitling services, both in English and other languages.

This process is rather straightforward for multilingual audiovisual experts, who have the relevant experience and expertise in accurately timing multilingual subtitles and creating SubRip Subtitle (SRT) files.

SRT files can be uploaded to any video hosting site, allowing the viewer to choose the language in which they would like to view the subtitles.

Alternatively, subtitles can be “hardcoded”, which means the subtitles are burnt in to the video, and will always appear on screen.

Here is an example of a video we produced with Vietnamese subtitles that can be turned on or off, depending on the preferences of the viewer.

Subtitled videos can also help viewers to improve their foreign language skills, as they can listen to a video in another language, and the script in their native language, or vice versa.

This strategy is therefore a good option if you have a low budget but still want to make your videos accessible to multilingual audiences.

However, it is important to remember that subtitles are only accessible to people who are literate in the language that they speak.

#3 – Videos with in-language voice over (dubbing)

The final video strategy to consider is in-language voice over on its own.

Some people prefer to watch a dubbed video rather than a video with subtitles, as it requires less effort from the viewer to engage with the content.

Meanwhile, others find that subtitles distract them from the video content, and prefer dubbing for this reason.

Here’s an example of a video we produced a Mandarin voice over for.

Find out more about the creation of this video with our partner, Punchy Digital Media in our case study.

The production costs involved in creating in-language voice overs are higher than subtitling because the video script must be translated and recorded by a native-speaking voice actors in order to dub the video in other languages.

This new audio must then be implemented by language professionals so that the voiceover is correctly timed and synced with what is happening on screen in the video.

Whilst this approach does involve a greater investment of time and money than videos with subtitles only, dubbed videos are generally more accessible and in many cases, more suitable for multicultural audiences.

However, videos with in-language voice over only are not appropriate for audiences who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

So, what is the best approach for your video project?

As you have seen, the answer to this question will change depending on your budget and target audience.

Depending on the language that your audience speaks, their education and their literacy levels in their native language, dubbing may be more appropriate than subtitling, or vice versa.

That’s why, the best strategy is to incorporate both in your videos, to produce the most accessible videos as possible for your audience.

Our Translation Strategists can help advise you on this, and find a solution that suits your budget.

Contact our team now for complimentary cultural and language advice, and an obligation-free quote!

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