This page is intended mostly for translation agency project managers, aka PMs.
Anyway, if you are not one of them, be my guest to read it.
Every now and then I get contacted by a translation project manager with a video localization project.
If you are thinking about feature films or TV series, don't. These projects are handled by specialized firms that don't handle any other kind of translation work. Such firms are heavily equipped and staffed to provide turn-key large-video dubbing or subtitling services. Translation there is just one step - no matter how important - in a larger process. These projects should never reach a translation agency.
The typical video localization project that a PM in a translation agency gets is from a client whose core business does NOT include video production or distribution. It may be a regular client using other services, or a newcomer who saw your firm offering video translation services.
A few of the most typical features usually found in these projects, which I group under "corporate video" are:
However a video localization project involves a number of options and diversified technical decisions to be made. As we've seen above, the typical corporate video client doesn't know much - if anything - about them. They usually have one or more videos in one language, which they want to show to an audience in another language, quite often in a different setting, using different media, and for a different purpose from the one for which they were originally produced.
While such a client is pretty knowledgeable on the desired outcomes of plain translation projects, such as an agreement to be signed, a printed or electronic newsletter, catalog, spec sheet, proposal, instruction manual, presentation, etc., they don't know the countless options that are available to video, nor each of such option's advantages and potential setbacks. For these, good customer service should include guidance on what would be the most adequate and cost-effective possibilities.
I have been deeply involved the most varied types of corporate video localization projects since 1987. I can handle/manage any part of such projects, over a much long path, the most extreme case being from VHS tapes + PPT slides to a fully interactive DVD including dubbed or subtitled video and varied navigation based on choices made on-the-fly by the spectator/operator.
This experience enabled me to offer my clients complete guidance regarding video localization projects, mostly on how they can get the most bang for the buck by making the right choices. As a safety net, I know exactly what, where, and how to reliably outsource anything I can't do myself, to offer you the complete package, or tips where it would be advisable for you to hire such services.
I tried to pack all that "video localization intel" for translation agency PMs. First into an e-learning course, then an online video, later an e-book... and every time I tried, the amount of information began to stack up so high, that I couldn't see the finish line any more. It suddenly dawned upon me that I shouldn't expect a translation PM to absorb all that information, which took me almost three decades to discover in practice, and over a thousand projects to accrue... if they would be handling such jobs only now and then.
So I decided to reverse the game... I'd offer this guidance as a service.
I have been offering the very same service for free to my clients on each and every video job they assign to me. Every time they make me a specific request for a video job, if I have reason to believe that their client's interests will be better served otherwise, either in cost or effectiveness, I state my case, and challenge them to think it over under the light of the information I provide them.
I uphold a policy of charging for everything I do, while striving to spare my clients from spending on anything they really don't - or won't - need. Some colleagues may think otherwise, but I don't see a point in taking advantage of my clients' possibly limited knowledge of the options available, just in order to beef up my invoice. I think my clients have needs to be fulfilled as cost-effectively as possible, as opposed to merely a budget to spend.
However my coverage is limited. I only translate either way between English (US as target) and Portuguese (BR as target). I offer subtitling services involving French, Spanish, and Italian - languages that I speak but don't translate professionally - under partnership with a few carefully selected colleagues who serve these languages. However my partners only translate, which involves a relatively predictable cost, and where effectiveness is limited to ensuring translation quality. I do the rest.
Depending on the projects you get from your clients, you may hire a do-it-all like me, or maybe a team of translators, spotters, subtitle burners, etc. However none of them is likely to have a vested interest in checking options beyond whatever was expressly written on the order.
My role here would be to give you the tools to justify rewriting the order to best serve your clients' interests. If there is any catch, after I'm done, it will be yours: you won't be buying services your client doesn't really need.