Note: This blog post was originally written in Japanese for our Japanese website. We used our machine translation platform Translation Designer to translate it and post-edit the content in English. The original Japanese post can be found here.

Video-based marketing activities have expanded rapidly since around 2020. Nowadays, not a day goes by without seeing video ads on video sharing platforms such as YouTube and company websites. In fact, these are the ones that we often receive requests for video localization — short marketing videos of 3 to 10 minutes.

Did you know that you can save costs and achieve high-quality subtitles, just by paying attention to a few points when making your request? You'll be surprised at how it is effective even for videos that are only a few minutes long. In our blog, we share tips on how to work with translation companies like us to answer questions like this.

In this post, we'd like to discuss about how to make a translation request for marketing videos.

Do you have a script?

When translating audio, the translation is based on the audio script (i.e., a transcription of the audio). In marketing videos, a script is often prepared in advance for the narrator to read. If the video was created at your overseas headquarters, just simply ask for a script. Asking won't hurt, and it might be easier to obtain than you think. If you don't have a script, you can create one yourself, or the translation company can do it for you.

Translation companies like us usually charge engineering fees for creating a script. So make sure to check whether there is a script or whether you can create one yourself first. If you can prepare a script in advance, it will cut down on the costs for that amount.

Any specific product and service names you want to use?

Many marketing videos often repeat specific product names. If you can specify these proper nouns at the time of making your translation request, it will reduce the time translators spend on the translation and your time for revising it as well. This will ultimately lead to an overall improvement in translation quality.

By the way, English product names often tend to be long when translated into Japanese or have very long official names. Since subtitles have a limitation to length on the screen, long product names can be very difficult to read. In such a case, it's better to specify the translated product names when requesting your translation project.

For example, suppose there is a machine translation platform called Kawamura International NMT Single Platform. (This is an imaginary product and doesn't really exist). Let's say the official translated Japanese product name is 川村インターナショナルNMTシングルプラットフォーム. If you use this official name in subtitles, it will look like the following.

Original EnglishComplete your translation at Kawamura International NMT single platform
Translated Japanese subtitles川村インターナショナルNMTシングル

As you can see, it's pretty long and hard to read. So, what if we specify that the product name should be translated as KI NMTプラットフォーム for subtitles?

Original EnglishComplete your translation at Kawamura International NMT single platform
Translated Japanese subtitlesKI NMTプラットフォームで翻訳を完結しましょう

It's self-explanatory, right? Much easier to read.

You can see that specifying these translations is directly linked to quality. But of course, if it is necessary to use the official name for reasons such as trademark registration, we can always stick to the official name.

Compared to subtitle translations for movies, the rules of sentence length and limitations are not as strict for marketing videos. Translation companies including us will flexibly respond to your request and adjust the subtitles even with lengthy translations.

How to maintain the company brand in video subtitles

Marketing videos are something that catches the eye of customers and appeals to the senses with music and voice. They greatly contribute to the company's image. Some of you might have the experience working with subtitle translations and feeling that the subtitles are too casual or that it doesn't match the company image.

Due to the limited display space for subtitles, the translations sometimes need adjustments to fit the space. This might include omitting some details or abbreviating the translation. During these adjustments, the tone of the translation may become casual. On the other hand, a translation that is too faithful to the original text may lack fluency in the translated language.

If you have that kind of experience, we suggest that you provide a sample video or something your company has already localized with subtitles when making the request to a translation company. By having a reference, it is possible to match the tone of the translation to some extent while translating the new video.

This kind of tone is subjective and depends on the translator, but it certainly has the effect of preventing getting something completely different from what you've expected.

Are there narrative captions?

Some videos contain narrative captions that are not spoken by the voice and just appear on the screen. Let's take a look at the example below. You might want the translated version of the slogan on the left side (翻訳を必要とするすべての人に変革) in your video.

You'll be surprised by how everyone tends to forget to include these text in their request for video translation. Don't forget to let the translation company know if you want to translate the narrative captions. We can edit the video and replace the text with translations.

However, depending on where its placed in the screen (in relation to the subtitles) and the background color of the video, it might be difficult to replace it exactly the same. You should discuss the details with translation companies at the time of requesting a quote.


If you're going to localize a marketing video and spend money on it, you'd want a subtitled video that conveys your message and reaches the local customers. At the same time, it doesn't mean that you always have abundant marketing budget. We have to keep in mind to stay within a limited budget.

If you pay attention to the points we covered in this post, you'll be able to create subtitled marketing videos that meet your needs while reducing costs and effort of translation. We would be happy to support you with localizing your marketing videos.

Kawamura's localization services

At Kawamura International, we help our customers create video subtitles in any stage of the process. Feel free to contact us for any kind of questions, from where to start with the provided video by your headquarters to what file format you can use. We will find the right solution and provide the support you need.