“Winning” in Emerging Markets: Localization of Multimedia Content

Pharmaceutical companies continue to expand their presence in emerging markets outside of the U.S. and Western Europe. However, penetrating and succeeding in emerging markets is often difficult. As indicated in this article in PharmExec, many factors account for this difficulty, including government protectionism of local drugmakers (mostly, in generics) and a lack of IP protection, since many emerging economies do not recognize international patent law. But the opportunity is there. A survey by Strategy& of 12 of the top 15 global pharmaceutical companies revealed that 52% expect more than 30% of their global sales to originate in emerging markets by 2018.

To reach new patients and consumers in these markets, global brands are using on screen text (OST) in the localization of their multimedia content to drive advertising campaigns and training programs in multiple languages. Global advertisements of drugs, for example, often include images of the product, taglines and sample text content to highlight certain features. Use of OST can also reduce any ambiguity and display legal or disclaimer content to meet local advertising standards.

The “winners” in emerging markets, according to Strategy&, will be those companies that know how to best balance their global competences with tailored approaches for local markets. To roll out advertising campaigns at a local level, content can be culturally adapted using OST localization techniques to recreate original effects and animations. OST localization can sometimes be more cost-effective and quicker than voice-over work.

Properly adapting and localization a multimedia campaign requires technical skill, creativity, local market knowledge and subject matter expertise. Michael Anderson, Senior Multimedia Engineer at Welocalize Life Sciences’ parent company Welocalize, explains how the OST localization process works:

Obtain video. Simple analysis of the original footage identifies what text requires translation and re-integration into the local language version, including all content, text and animation. Ideally, multimedia localization providers would have access to the original design files and artwork; however, quite often the original content is not available.

Create in baseline. Extract and transcribe the relevant text to generate translation and cultural adaptation. This could involve straight translation or linguistic copy writing. For more technical content, the translation will stay close to the source; however, for marketing content like taglines, this content requires recreating to suit the needs of the target demographic. Any local version of video footage, which will appear on broadcast media or for web advertising purposes, must look as if it has been created in that language.

Integrate new content. If the original design files are not available, then the new content can be “overlaid” and recreated onto the original text to display in local versions. Whether you have access to the original design files or not, most localized content can be seamlessly integrated to generate high quality localized versions of video footage.

Adapt special effects and music. Video footage, whether for global pharmaceutical advertising or employee training programs, often contain certain special effects that must be emulated in each local version. For example, the text fonts must be consistent, along with text shadowing and line breaks and synchronization to music. Quite often, the music track may be changed to suit the local audience and new content must be adapted to the new music. Working with localizing OST also involves a creative process, especially if the original design files and artwork are not available. Specialist teams work with large, high resolution files and must apply localization techniques and creative skills to generate high quality video output in multiple languages.

Content for medical and life sciences, as well as for pharmaceutical companies, is often highly detailed and lengthy, totaling thousands of words to document regulatory compliance in one project. The need for accuracy in translation is obvious, with consequences to health and safety at stake. For more information about Welocalize Life Sciences’ multimedia localization programs and industry expertise, contact us.