Making a Translated Explainer Video

Translating your explainer video into different languages is a great way to reach new markets and to get more out of your investment into video. In this article we’ll describe some of the factors to consider when making a translated explainer video.



The business benefits of making translated videos can be substantial. It can open up new markets for you and help you better convert existing traffic by speaking to people in their own language.


Translated Explainer Video
A translated video can help you reach a bigger audience.

Our clients typically use these videos in the following ways:

  1. Homepages in different languages.
  2. Single landing pages.
  3. Sales campaigns with supporting marketing material in the foreign language.


What’s Involved?

The process is actually quite tricky. It’s not as simple as just recording a new voiceover read in the foreign language and slapping it on the video. You see, it’s all about the sync. The animation and the voice need to line up exactly. Your editor/animator won’t be speaking the foreign language, making this tricky. Bummer! Different languages record at different lengths and may have different word order. For example, your script may say “introducing our timesheet solution” and then an image of a timesheet needs to appear exactly when the voiceover says “timesheet”. Without understanding the language this is difficult to do. Asian languages are particularly tough for Western ears. And to make it worse, if you fix one timing problem then you pretty much certainly create more down the line as you’ve just shifted the timing of the whole video.
The key to success here is to have a solid process.


It’s easy to find translation services online. And they’re surprisingly affordable. A little too affordable! We have found that the quality varies a lot even among reputable firms. There’s pressure on companies to provide the cheapest quote and with no way for you to check the final quality there’s a natural incentive to skimping on quality. Many translation services do however have a second review service, and this is money well spent. A totally separate third party can also be hired to check. Some companies who do translation are Straker Translation and Rev.
When making a translated explainer video it’s important to do the translation with synchronization in mind, otherwise parts of the video will simply be too long and mess up the animation. Here at Piehole we have a structured process and we work with trusted suppliers and voiceovers to make sure it goes smoothly.


Any text appearing on your video will need to be translated. Different languages have different alphabets. There may also be cultural or country-specific references that need to be replaced with local equivalents, for example if your video talks about say the IRS (“Internal Revenue Service”).

Translation video visuals
Any writing in the visuals will need to be translated too.


Voiceover Recording

An experienced voiceover can attempt to sync the read to the video visuals. This is not always possible if the translated text is a lot longer than the original. That’s why e.g. maybe the translator didn’t think about this or it was impossible to keep at same length. Whatever the case the voiceover may charge more for a sync job than a regular read. The accent of your voiceover artist is important, e.g. Spanish for South American market or Spain?

Sound Design

If your translated voiceover read is longer than the original video then you are likely to incur costs in sound design, because the positioning of the sound effects will have moved. Your video production company will have factored this in if they are experienced.


Sub-titles in your Translated Explainer Video

Putting foreign language subtitles on your video can be a good idea. Subtitles can easily be included in say Youtube, using the closed captioning functionality. You could also encode it directly onto your video source files, depending on your intended purpose. You still have the sync to consider but this can be a simpler solution than a fully translated video. However the user experience is not the same as for example a French viewer coming to your website and watching a French video with French visuals. With Youtube the user may also need to click on the “cc” button to show the captions. It’s not an absolute hard choice between using subtitles or doing a fully translated video, as you can do both. You’ll have the translation anyway so it is easier.

Example of Subtitle Explainer Video
Video subtitles can be a helpful addition.



We hope this article has given some insight into what goes into making a translated explainer video. If you want one, you know who to talk to!