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Helpful Suggestions for Editing in a Foreign Language

It’s no secret that corporate and marketing video production is becoming more and more multilingual, especially as employees and viewers become more international. This means that agency video editors can now expect clips in multiple languages, including Japanese, Arabic, and Spanish—for example, hours of customer feedback and interviews. How do editors and director producers handle this content?
Whatever you use to add and sync, you must first generate the text. For most professionals, manual transcription can be very time-consuming. Some programs can be posted automatically, but they require expertise and time and are prone to errors. Many editors are asked to edit a language they may not be fluent in. What tools and techniques can you use for multilingual editing? And how can technology help? Let’s learn.
What Are the Benefits of Translating Videos?
There are numerous advantages to translating videos into foreign languages, including increased accessibility, searchability, and engagement. For starters, we wouldn’t be able to binge-watch some of our favorite foreign films and television shows. Dark, a mind-boggling mystery-drama set in Germany, and Money Heist, a genuinely gripping Spanish drama about a mastermind planning the biggest heist in history, are two of my personal favorite foreign language shows on Netflix.
Translations, as previously stated, allow your content to reach a wider audience, increasing your viewership to loyal viewers eager for the next binge-worthy episode (including myself). People all across the world create and consume content, but videos aren’t always translated into foreign languages. Content creators are passing up an opportunity to get their videos in front of billions of people who want to see them.
Furthermore, videos in foreign languages boost SEO and video views. The text file for translations, like captions, assists search engine bots in crawling for relevant keywords, allowing your video to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) in those languages. If your information is not translated into a foreign language, it will not appear in the targeted country’s search results. Likely, your competitors’ content isn’t being translated, so get ahead of the game!
How to Translate Video Content
Now comes the exciting part. Once you’ve completed the first step, translating your video into a foreign language is simple. The most common and simplest method for creating translations is to first generate captions in the original language.
Captions and subtitles are not interchangeable. Captions are a visual depiction of audio in a video that assumes the audience is deaf. Subtitles, on the other hand, are based on the assumption that the spectator can hear but not understand the language. It is considerably easier to do translations after you have created a caption file. Make sure to double-check your final transcript for correctness before publishing. If you’re working with a vendor, make sure to inquire about subtitles. You can also get help from an online translator.
Audio Waveform Tool
There are some Full Clip Audio Waveform tools that allow you to examine the audio waveform on your source monitor alongside your video clip before cutting it into your timeline. This program simplifies the process of learning waveform patterns for individual words and phrases. Here is one video editor’s experience: “A Mandarin speaker came to examine my work after I believed I had an accurate audio bed lined up. He said he didn’t think I was a Mandarin speaker, but most of the parts I cut were correct and coherent.”
Transcribing Tools
Adobe Premiere Pro is my preferred NLE. Similarly, a transcription tool called Trint has been invaluable to me as both an editor and an assistant editor. I can get the timecoded transcripts and lay them directly into Premiere when the material has been transcribed and translated. I was able to use Premiere’s caption feature to import translations as subtitles, which edited in Arabic a little easier.
Before laying in the translations, I usually create different sequences for each translated scene based on the subject, scene number, and camera viewpoint. To keep everything organized, I also like to utilize color-coded labeling. I can’t underscore how crucial it is to stay organized. Being organized is crucial as an editor and assistant editor, even if you speak the language, but even more so if you don’t. You must manage your assets and keep your sequences in place. It is unquestionably the key to your success.
Strategies Used to Cut Together Coherent and Correct Sentences
You must thoroughly examine the footage while adhering to the script. I discovered that after hours and hours of listening to the footage, you start to become familiar with particular words. It is beneficial to become acquainted with basic terminology as they apply to the universe of your screenplay. I had no understanding of what “hal ‘ukalat Lahm alkhinzira?” meant, but I trained my ears to listen for the sound of “zira” in a specific setting. I realized the phrase had concluded, and it was time to cut in the next line from the other character.
That’s extremely cool; you notice patterns of speech and look for sounds that appear at the same time in a sentence or phrase. When you don’t speak the language, you lose a lot of the syntax; in some respects, you’re relying on trust until it gets into the hands of the translator that what you’ve pieced together makes sense in English and a foreign language.
How to Choose Takes
Surprisingly, Ninja’s director wrote the script in English and had the performers translate it to Arabic in their delivery, so he had a clear vision of how he wanted the performances to look.
When I edit English storylines, I am quite particular about the actors I use. I compare how someone says a word in one take to another, even if it’s just a little shift in inflection or pitch in the voice. When editing a foreign language, this is not always practicable.
Artificial intelligence (AI) – Video translation apps and translation software
Mankind has spent less than a century attempting to create a machine-based translation tool. Governments, organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, technological corporations such as IBM, and the world’s largest search engines have all spent vast amounts of time and money researching and developing the technology that may (potentially) render human translators obsolete in the future.
A simple web search today yields dozens of translation apps and software solutions that provide automated language services, and there is no doubt that these systems are already making it easier, faster, and less expensive to translate everything from website copy to emails and even complex business information.
Human translators, however, remained better than AI translators until recently. In a 2017 human vs. AI translation duel in South Korea, three translation engines competed against five professional translators, and while the robots were significantly faster than their human counterparts, the human translators prevailed on quality. However, experts believe that automated technology is rapidly developing and that it is on the verge of approaching human-level accuracy.
Final Words
I cannot emphasize enough the necessity of order in all editing, but especially in foreign language editing. As an editor, make use of your labels, sequences, timecode, and instincts.

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