So, you want to make a video and create different versions for your international audience?  What’s the best way to go about it?

If you haven’t yet made your video consider how you’ll film it, will you use live action (interviews, location shots, demonstrations etc.) or animation.

Live Action

If your video is going to have a voice over you want to avoid too many shots of people talking to camera. Seeing someone speak and then hearing another voice dubbed over in a different language or sub-titles, can be quite demanding.  So get rid of the talking heads by using plenty of cut-aways of the action with a voice over to tell the story.


Animation is an international language of story-telling and you can factor in how to make the characters and symbols appealing to your global audience from the start.

Motion Graphics

Alternatively you could create a motion graphics presentation, where moving blocks of text tell your story. It is in fact a lot less expensive to translate your text into different languages on screen than it is to get a voice over recorded for a foreign version of your video. Here’s an example of a safety training video for Imperial Tobacco that we’ve translated into 5 different languages,

Voice Over

If you’re using live action, a voice over in a foreign language can seem like the simplest option, however it does have its problems. The main one being that an English sentence can be shorter to say than say German or Portuguese. So when translating to other languages you need to leave your pictures long enough to allow for a longer voice over.

The other is is that this is often the most expensive option. Your English voice over needs to be transcribed, then translated, then voiced by a professional, native speaking, voice over artist. This requires the skills of a specialist voice over agency.

Sub Titles

Text on screen is a cheaper way of doing things. The voice-over only needs to be translated and then written on screen as an additional layer of video.

On the down side it requires more effort on the part of your audience to read the text, which may also detract from your images.

So, as you can see there’s lots of ways to create foreign language versions. Our advice is to plan carefully from the start.