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How to produce multilingual videos for YouTube

If you are thinking of creating YouTube videos for multiple markets, then you need to ask yourself two questions: firstly, is the video relevant for your target market, and secondly, how are you going to localise the video’s language?

The first question is based on the fact that content is not necessarily relevant or appropriate for all markets. If it is irrelevant or inappropriate for a particular market, then you will either have to edit the video or simply not use it in that market. If you deem the video relevant and appropriate, then you can ask yourself the second question: how are you going to localise its language?

There are two ways you can do this: voice-overs or subtitles. Both processes start by transcribing the original audio and then timecoding it. You should then translate this content into your target language. From this point onwards, the processes for voice-over and subtitling differ.


The process for voice-over is as follows:

  • Select your voice-over artist.
  • Book a studio. You will need an engineer to do the actual recording.
  • If you want your voice-over artist to be directed, then you need to hire a linguistic director (this is usually used for films and TV programmes).
  • If the video will be used for promotional purposes, then you need to bear in mind usage fees. Usage fees are a hidden fee used by many voice-over artists, where you have to pay them for permission to use their voice in your promotional content.
  • After you have recorded the voice-over, you need to edit and mix it.
  • Synchronise it with your video.
  • Master the video.

We offer a multilingual voice-over service. Learn more here.


The process for subtitling is as follows:

  • You can either burn the subtitles into the video file or create subtitle documents.
  • With burnt-in subtitles, you will get a separate video for each of your languages. These subtitles are embedded within the video and cannot be removed. We offer a burnt-in subtitling service. Learn more here.
  • Alternatively, subtitle documents are very useful if you are hosting your video on YouTube. You get a separate subtitle document per language. When you upload the video to YouTube, you can upload the subtitle documents along with it. The subtitles will then show up when a user selects to view closed captions in their desired language. We offer a subtitle document creation service. Learn more here.

I hope this has given you a useful introduction to how to produce multilingual videos for YouTube. For more information, read my free, full-length guide here. The guide covers:

  • production design
  • shot composition
  • lighting and sound
  • technical details you need to be aware of
  • how to produce multilingual videos using voice-over or subtitling
  • how to upload your finished video to YouTube
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Elin Box

Content Marketing Manager at Webcertain
Elin is a Content Marketing Manager at Webcertain. She is responsible for Webcertain’s Self-learning platform, producing in-depth guides on a range of international digital marketing topics. She also helps run the Webcertain blog and is the writer of the Webcertain search and social report, an annual report summarising digital marketing best practices in over 50 countries. She is passionate about educating and empowering people to make the best decisions for their business and is proud to help share Webcertain’s wealth of digital marketing knowledge with the world. Elin is from the UK.

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