Voice over or subtitles for small businesses – What you need to know

Can foreign language voice overs and subtitles be used to boost the effectiveness of small business videos.

Every small business in our increasingly digital world knows that video is a great way to reach a client base. Videos can give a true taste of the company ethos and values and a better insight into their products and services that just words on a page. But to be truly effective in extending a business’s reach beyond their home country borders videos have to be accessible to as many different people as possible. One size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to business videos so if you want your communications to be received well by potential clients worldwide, you have to deliver the information in multiple languages and with other layers of clarity with a voice over or subtitles.

Voice over or subtitlesVoice overs and subtitles are an ideal way to ensure your communications can target audiences regardless of their native language.

Voice over or subtitles – what’s best?

If you have already made the decision to boost the reach of your video content you then need to make the decision between voice overs or subtitles. Which is likely to be more effective in your industry? There is no hard and fast rule because it all depends on what type of content you produce.

For instance, video content with real people speaking English may look strange when dubbed into another language and lip-sync issues may make it difficult to watch. In this case subtitling is the perfect option. Subtitling has the added benefit of making your content accessible to those people with hearing difficulties or simply English-speakers who wish to watch videos with the sound off – an increasing trend right now.

However, animated videos may work better with a voice over, especially is there is already English text on screen. To help you make a decision, we take a closer look at the differences between the two. Just remember that for a professional solution to accessing non-English speaking markets make sure you use a professional voice over agency or subtitling service.

What’s the difference?

An audio soundtrack doesn’t just include voice – it can also include music or sound effects so is good for setting a certain atmosphere. The music and sound effects can be changed to be more familiar to those for whom English is not their native tongue. That is a major benefit to using voice overs to communicate effectively.

With the addition of subtitles, the content is translated and display as text at the bottom of the screen. Viewers are able to hear the original audio, but they can see the translation too, which promotes better understanding, especially for those who speak English as a second language.

Are voice overs or subtitles best for your business?

Voice overs tend to be the most popular choice for businesses so that they can retain overall tone of the video – upbeat, serious, professional etc. There is also no visual interference on screen and the foreign language video will look exactly the same as the native language video.

With subtitling, some of the visuals may be obscured by the words and screen space may be limited so the text version may not be a full translation of the original spoken words. But subtitles, on the other hand, are the least expensive option so may be a better choice for those companies on a budget.

Talk to a professional voice over agency to see some real-life versions of both options and for an idea of costs. That way you can make an informed decision on the best choice for your company.