2016 is coming to a close, so today we’ll look at the voice-over, dubbing and subtitles trends we can expect in 2017. The year ahead will mark a shift in marketing and video distribution, as more content migrates online, and streaming – which is particularly localization-friendly – outperforms traditional distribution channels.
This post lists the three main multimedia localization trends we expect to see in 2017.
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Trends in 2016
2016 itself was an exciting year for multimedia localization – here are just some of the highlights.
- The release of Storyline 360, while short on translation-specific features, included review interfaces that are incredibly useful to e-Learning translation.
- Text-to-speech had incredible advancements, including the new Google Assistant.
- Increased captioning and subtitling for online platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
- Machine translation quality increased to the point where it’s a viable tool for personal translation – though it’s still can’t replace professional linguists.
These trends will continue to have an influence on 2017 – for example, Storyline 360 will continue to impact localization workflows, especially quality assurance.
What’s next for 2017?
In order of impact to the following year, here is our list of what to expect.
1. Online videos will dominate marketing localization
Marketing is moving online. Social media platforms and online video streaming not only compete with print, radio and TV, but are on the edge of overtaking them in terms of viewers and marketing investment. According to Forrester Research’s US Digital Marketing Forecast, 2014 to 2019, agency digital spend is expected to grow to 35% of total by the end of the decade. Traditional media – again, print, radio and TV – are expected to see the inverse, a net decrease. This shift will affect voice-over pricing for online content as well, as these videos start to get more “eyeballs” than traditional media spots.
2. Increase in multilingual audio because of ease of delivery
Online video streaming revolutionized subtitle and caption accessibility in the last few years. It’s going to do the same for multiple audio streams for video. You can already see this on Netflix, which offers multiple audio channels for many of its content offers, as well as an audio description track. Expect dubbing tracks to become de rigueur in a few years’ time.
3. More usage of – and better – text-to-speech services
The Google Assistant was a huge step forward in this field, even more so than Siri. Its voice will set the standard for the next generation of text-to-speech voice fonts. Expect them to sound fuller, have more seamless vocal transitions, and to interpret content better. This improvement will be hard to pin-point, since text-to-speech voices already sound really good, but there will be one key difference – the ear strain associated with listening to TTS will go down dramatically. This means that TTS will be an even more viable option for e-Learning and corporate applications, including video – along with IVR and public announcements, for which it is already heavily favored.
An exciting year ahead for multimedia localization
There will be other developments. Subtitles and captions usage will increase, especially as more of the transcription process gets automated as speech-to-text. Storyline 360 will continue to have an impact on how we localize e-Learning courses. And virtual reality will soon hit a critical point in which it becomes part of the mainstream media landscape – and will require mass-market localization. All in all, 2017 is poised to be an exciting year for audio, video and e-Learning translation.