Localisation for video is becoming ever more important in the global economy. For a business, it allows them to explore previously untapped markets and expand their brand. For viewers, it gives them access to content that would otherwise be difficult to consume. There are two main ways in which a company can explore localisation for their video: dubbing and subtitling. But which is better?

What is dubbing?

Dubbing is the action of replacing the original recorded voices, in video content, with a translated version for the audience to hear. Dubbing allows the audience to concentrate more on the action taking place in the content, instead of having to fixate on the subtitles. This allows for a more immersive experience. Additionally, not everyone can read subtitles; dubbing offers a more inclusive alternative for those people. This can be particularly relevant in eLearning content. However, dubbing can become jarring for the viewer to watch, especially when mouths are not moving in synchronisation with the voice. Dubbing can also be expensive. A good dub can cost up to 10 times more than subtitling. This is due to the longer production process required to translate the content, plus the cost of voice overs.

There are some cases where only dubbing will do the job required, so it’s important to work with someone like Global Lingo to help you through this process and to complete the localisation in the most timely and cost efficient way.

What is subtitling?

Subtitles are a translated copy of the voices used in the video, placed on screen for the audience to read. These are essential for people who are deaf, or hard of hearing, yet, it can also offer advantages to all viewers. For eLearning content where users can pause the video, subtitles allow the viewer to further consider what has just been said in the video, or offer more time to understand the content without the need to rewind and rewatch.

Subtitles also let the audience hear the real voices and inflections, which can aid in making the audience feel more connected to the content, something that could be lost when the voice is dubbed. There is also potential to educate when using subtitles. Many people around the world learn new languages by watching content that is not in their native tongue. 

The most common downside to subtitles is that they can be hard to read whilst keeping up with the visual content. This can sometimes leave the audience a little bit overwhelmed. 

Which is best?

Subtitling is considered to be a more popular option, yet, this is conditional to who your audience is and where they come from. Knowing your audience is important before making this decision. Many European and Asian countries may expect a dubbed version of content. Whereas, English speaking countries would be more comfortable with subtitles. 

The content of the video is also a deciding factor. Some content works better using subtitles and others work better dubbed.  The final deciding factor could be budget. There is no doubt that dubbing is the more expensive option, especially if you have many different languages or different voices on screen. In conclusion there is not a ‘best’ option, rather the most apt for your audience or content.

How to decide?

Luckily you don’t have to decide, because we can help you do that. We are experts in video localisation and can advise you on the right choice for your content. Once a route is chosen, you can leave it all in our capable hands. To find out more about our video localisation services, get in touch.

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