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5月 13, 2021 | Uncategorized

Translation for the Communications Sector – From Subtitles to Dubbing

The translation industry is constantly growing, worth more than $56 billion globally in 2021. This brings about constant opportunities for language service providers, translators, localization experts, and other qualified professionals in this burgeoning space. One area in particular that always shows high demand is translation for the communications sector. 

From series subtitling to dubbing movies and voice-overs on marketing videos, there’s plenty of work to be done! Let’s take a closer look at each activity, what it involves, and the best ways to ensure high-quality work.


Subtitling, just like dubbing, has its pros and cons. While originally designed for the hard of hearing, research by Ofcom found that many more people watch subtitled videos, for various different reasons. 

Among the benefits of subtitles (sometimes referred to as ‘closed captions’) are that viewers who know the language in question as their second language can follow what they’re watching more easily accompanying it by text.

Subtitles are also very useful for people who may be watching short videos in quiet (or noisy!) spaces. For example, an office worker may be multi-tasking and watching a video on a social media platform. Thanks to subtitles, he or she doesn’t have to draw attention to the fact that a video is playing. When it comes to crowded spaces like a subway, the viewer can read the text if they cannot hear the words.

Moreover, videos using subtitles gain the most engagement on social media, and a staggering 85% of people watch videos without sound on Facebook. This means that if you are creating a marketing video for your product, the message will likely be lost if you don’t provide closed captions as well as audio.

Marketing videos that mention brand names and full names provide additional clarity for the viewers as well, and subtitles can also provide a better experience for viewers with other disabilities, such as attention deficits, or autism.

Subtitling also allows you to keep the original voices of the actors with the right tone and intent. So consider how important this is, depending on what type of content you’re getting translated. Finally, subtitling is cheaper than dubbing in most cases, so if you’re on a shoestring budget, it may be your best bet.

As with all things when it comes to translation for the communications sector, subtitling also has its downside as well. When it comes to personal preferences, in some countries, there is a long history of dubbing and, especially with longer format content such as series or movies, people are used to watching a dubbed version. They may simply skip your content altogether if there is only a subtitled version available. 

Depending on what platform your content is destined for and where your target audience is, you’ll need to put in the research first. If your content is aimed at people in Italy, France, or Spain, you’ll need to use dubbing. If your target public lives in the UK, Portugal, or Sweden, for example, subtitling is widely accepted.


Probably the hardest challenge to overcome when it comes to using dubbing or voice-overs is getting the lip-synching right. This means that the on-screen speaker and the off-screen speaker must appear to be in step and the spoken words are synchronized as the speaker’s lips move. If you fail to achieve this, watching the content can be annoying and cause the viewer to switch off.

When done right, however, dubbing can create the perfect final product for the right audience. Viewers can focus undistracted and don’t have to worry about reading text as they watch. If you choose voices that resonate well with your target audience, your content has a much greater chance of success. 

It’s important that you work with a professional language services provider for this as they will be able to provide the right voices that match the original tone and style. It could be a disaster if you simply found a person who spoke French for your movie but did so in a style or accent completely different from your character. 

It’s essential that you choose a professional for your voice-over as well. When it comes to your content, especially marketing videos and sales messages, you need an engaging voice that draws your audience in. If the speaker has a flat voice or the wrong intonation, your audience will quickly disengage. 

Professionals will also understand the technical terminology and how to use the right equipment to keep background noise to a minimum––and how to speak at the right cadence for your video. 

If you choose the wrong voice, you risk the audience getting lost and listening to the sound of the voice rather than what it’s actually saying. They’ll walk away at the end of the video forgetting what they’ve seen. 

Which Should You Use?

When it comes to translating your content for local audiences, you will need to consider multiple factors. What type of content are you looking to translate? Is it an animation that requires the right voice, a marketing video that would be better received in a local language, or a movie destined for a subtitling-literate audience that must preserve the original voices of the movie?

What’s your budget and where does your target audience reside? Does it make sense to use both options? All these questions should be considered before you start and you can consult a professional to give you the right guidance and advice. 

Looking for an excellent translation for the communications sector? Contact us today, we can help you deliver content that will resonate with your audience, generate engagement, and provide you with a greater return on your investment.