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Q: I’m suprised it costs so much to produce foreign language versions of videos.

We have a number of health safety videos we’d like to produce in Arabic and Indian languages, but the cost seems higher than the original cost of producing the video in English.

Why does it cost so much? Can’t I use subtitles instead to keep the cost down?

Corporate Communications Manager
International Construction Group
Middle East & North Africa Region

A: In part 1 we saw how to decide what style of foreign language video production.

In Part 2 we’ll look at the foreignspeak production process and the costs.

Production method

To ensure accurate translation, something like the following production method should be employed:

> Prepare the English script for translation, inc speech and captions

> Arrange translation English script to the different foreignspeak, such as Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Tagalog

> Arrange for the translated script to be checked and approved by you, the client

> Arrange to record professional voiceover of each language, with a director and voiceover artist

> This will be followed by an edited video version for each language with dubbed foreignspeak

> Dub any additional foreignspeak captions and titles

> Develop a corporately styled menu-driven DVD

Additionally .wmv video files need to be produced for playing on non-DVD capable laptops, suitable for inclusion in ppt presentations or toolbox talks.

Information on foreign language production methodology

Guide Costs

Everybody always asks “how much?”. So here are some guide costs.

Actual costs will vary, depending on your production company, the length of your video, the languages you require, the recording studio, the quality of the service, etc.

6 languages can cost anywhere from £9,000 GBP up to £13,000 GBP, more than the original English cost

You might also allow for additional costs for interactive DVD programming. For example, the menu for all the languages, the corporate look and feel of the DVD, etc

Obviously you can reduce your costs by arranging translation with your own local people. This can save 25%.

And shorter videos cost less. The costs are proportionate.




I hope this short guide has been useful.

It covered:

> Getting an accurate translation

> Voiceover versus sub titles and captions

> The production process

> Example costs

Producing foreign language versions of English videos is a skill all of its own.

© Studio Rossiter 2008

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