By: Emilio L. Zapata, Founder
Content owners have increasingly turned to localization to populate international streaming catalogs or to maximize the return on investment (ROI) of their content. But it’s also a critical part of making content accessible to diverse audiences, to the point that many now consider localization to be a subset of accessibility services. Localization therefore drives both revenue and accessibility, as reflected in a recent DPP report*.
When approached from a conceptual standpoint, localization is relatively straightforward to grasp. It refers to the process of making necessary adjustments to content in order to render it suitable for audiences in different locations. However, when examined practically, localization encompasses a wide range of intricate processes.
Localization holds significant importance in terms of granting access to content. It entails numerous highly creative aspects that involve delicately crafting the content while honoring the intended message of the original creator.
While the most apparent aspects of localization pertain to the translation of spoken language through the use of subtitles or dubbing, it extends beyond mere “subs and dubs.” It also encompasses compliance editing, graphics translation and, additionally, there are several other processes involved.
The video content itself may undergo recutting or other adaptations to suit different regions, including cultural modifications. Edits conducted for compliance reasons, aiming to meet legal and regulatory requirements in different territories, are considerably more common. These edits may involve the removal of nudity, violence, smoking, or other content deemed unsuitable for specific audiences. In some countries, such as the UK and Japan, all television programs must be tested using photosensitive epilepsy (PSE) algorithms to ensure that they comply with ITU Recommendation BT.1702.
In certain instances, graphics or other on-screen textual elements, such as street signs, necessitate translation. This is particularly prevalent in major theatrical releases, although subtitles are generally relied upon to provide translations for critical text.
Distinct content types also entail their own unique requirements. For instance, in genres such as news, video content is frequently recut to align with the rhythm of off-screen speech and reduce the risk of discrepancies between narration and visuals. The same information conveyed in different languages can result in variations in length, necessitating adjustments to the video to accommodate these differences. Other example is sports content which often undergoes video edits to address the diverse needs of audiences.
Additionally, the realm of accessibility should be recognized as an integral part of the localization process, despite its potential to be overlooked. Accessibility services encompass audio description, sign language, closed captions (CC), and other related provisions. Closed captions or subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) can significantly differ from subtitles created exclusively for language translation. They often incorporate supplementary audio cues, speaker differentiation, and other elements to enhance comprehension for individuals with hearing impairments.
However, localization encompasses more than the content itself. In the case of most shows and movies, marketing materials such as trailers, ad insertion, artwork, and metadata must also undergo localization. In many cases, these assets are significantly tailored to suit the business, the preferences and cultural nuances of different regions.
In the complex world of media supply chain management, efficient localization and packaging of content is a critical element. An increasingly important component of localization is skill in creating comprehensive content packages that encompass video content, pre-roll and post-roll components such as logos or intros, and seamless timeline ad insertions for AVOD solutions.
There is a palpable sense that the localization industry is at the beginning of an exciting time for technological development. There is great potential for efficiency and automation in the localization supply chain using generative AI, which will become an important enabler as models are developed and improved.
In summary, localization entails a comprehensive range of processes and considerations that extend well beyond mere translation. It plays a crucial role in ensuring content resonates with and reaches diverse audiences worldwide.
Localization and IMF
We can understand that localization poses a serious logistical problem for content production companies. Localization management requires a truly flexible solution that manages the large number of outsourced services required and customer needs. An integration and collaboration platform, along with a planning and monitoring system, is the best approach to solving such a complex problem. Last but not least, localization automation requires a content exchange format between providers, owners and customers, allowing interoperability between systems.
The IMF standard facilitates collaboration and incremental deliveries associated with localization, improves operational efficiency and significantly reduces operating costs. The key advantages of adopting IMF as a basis for localization automation and delivery are clear:
- During localization. For incremental shipments using supplementary packages, either for the first localized version or for subsequent adjustments and corrections until reaching the final version. This reduces transfer and operation times by not having to do a complete QC of everything, only the new part.
- In delivery. To send localized versions as a supplementary package, reducing transfer times and storage costs.
- In general. It facilitates interoperability because the format and ‘flavor’ that will be received is known in advance.
Localization Automation Platform
Localization is a process that requires the collaboration of service providers and content owners, along with the use of AI tools and many other applications. The orchestration of localization automation processes requires an application integration platform (iPaaS for Media), which connects people (human activities) and systems in an agile workflow that facilitates collaboration between providers and owners (“easily share footage”), along with a planning and monitoring system for the different localization orders.
At Tedial we have defined and designed a smartPack that comprehensively addresses all the problems associated with content localization. The result is a package of functionality and workflows that is available in the Tedial store (Artifactory) for immediate deployment using smartWork, our no-code iPaaS for media which includes a planning and monitoring system (Scheduler). smartPacks are a suite of Package Business Capabilities (PBCs) capable of streamlining the processes associated with the different media business services.
In the constantly changing landscape of media supply chain management, efficient and precise localization and packaging of content are crucial. Tedial smartWork emerges as a dynamic and adaptable solution, revolutionizing the approach to content localization and packaging. It allows customers to choose the best tools, avoiding vendor lock-in and ensuring future-proofing.
The future of localization will undoubtedly require more automation, being the only practical way to do more, faster and without higher costs. However, automation will combine with human expertise and creativity and companies will continue to take a cautious approach, testing new AI technologies and involving people in processes to ensure the quality of automated localization results.