It’s time to look at the trends we expect to shape foreign-language voice-over, video dubbing and subtitling in the year ahead. 2018 was a year of rapid growth and tumultuous change in multimedia localization. This coming year we expect similarly robust growth, but also the solidification of a few long-term trends in the industry, particularly around online video streaming.
This post lists the three trends we believe will impact multimedia localization in 2019.
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Video localization, the main driver of foreign-language multimedia growth
It’s been true for several years now – video is the big story in online media, and consequently in multimedia localization. You’ve probably already read Cisco’s prediction that video will be 80% of web content by 2019. It’s on pace to come true this year. So naturally, the main trends for 2019 revolve around online video localization.
Let’s jump right in.
1. Captioning & subtitling ubiquitous in online video.
It feels like both services are already everywhere on the web. There are several factors for the ubiquity of captioning and subtitling, including the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the relative cost-effectiveness of these services and the emergence of automated technologies.
On top of that, captions and subtitles are also ideal for watching social media videos, particularly on platforms like Facebook, on which the majority of video is consumed with the sound turned off. This mode is so prevalent, in fact, that it has affected video production standards – there’s been a major shift towards on-screen titling and automatic captioning for voice-over. Naturally, subtitling is the go-to video localization option for these clips since it can also work in a soundless environment. As viewers become more familiar with both services, they’ll become a general expectation for all content, not just for accessibility requirements.
2. Virtual reality content challenges dubbing localization.
Virtual reality has been big news the last couple years. VR content has been prevalent in news feeds and YouTube channels. We’re seeing the first narrative 360-degree shorts. And a captioning standard has even been implemented on various online streaming platforms, including YouTube.
So what’s next? Subtitling is expected to mirror the current captioning model for localization, and this will work well for videos with a presenter or off-screen narrator. However, the new narrative VR content, which often features multiple speakers, will require lip-sync dubbing. This will be tricky. For starters, VR videos have complex audio streams, which are manipulated in real time according to where a user positions their viewing area. And talent separation will be critical since users often move through content via audio cues. Expect voice-over production challenges from this content in 2019.
3. Moves to implement agile localization in multimedia.
Agile localization has been an industry target for almost a decade. Initially from the realm software development, the basic purpose is to make the localization process more flexible and to shorten timelines to market. In linguistic translation, this has been achieved mainly by taking translation management systems (TMS) online, implementing pass-through vendor sourcing, and rolling out beta and alpha deliveries. We’re starting to see attempts in multimedia localization as well.
Voice-over and dubbing, however, challenge the agile localization model. Rolling deliveries for small amounts of content aren’t really cost-effective since sessions require a professional studio setup with foreign-language voice-over and dubbing talents, studio engineer, native-speaker director, QA reviewer and post-production engineer. However, content like integrated voice recordings (IVR), public prompts and app audio benefit greatly from reduced production timelines. And of course, they require continuous content updates. So there’s a real incentive to innovate workflows and incorporate new technologies to reduce timelines. Expect to see moves toward agile multimedia localization in 2019 and beyond.
Voice-over, dubbing & subtitling expansion in 2019
Of course, we’ll see many other significant developments in 2019. While the continued expansion of online video will impact subtitling the most, expect dubbing demand to rise as well. Likewise, get ready for changes in e-Learning localization, as course authoring platforms continue to go online to allow for real-time collaboration between teams. Finally, we’ll see more localization into Southeast Asian languages, especially into the native languages of India. Overall, 2019 will see a continued rise in demand for multimedia localization, as more online content reaches audiences around the globe. We welcome this challenge and the exciting year ahead.