SimulTrans Localization Blog: SimulTips

Video Localization Typical Cost Model

[fa icon="calendar"] November 2, 2017 / by Margarita Núñez

 Video_Localization_Cost.jpgWith the rise of video localization, you might find yourself tasked with localizing your marketing videos (perhaps falling under a comprehensive website translation effort). If you are not familiar with video localization, then the jargon can be a bit challenging!

You probably ask yourself, what does it all really mean? Continue reading for a full explanation of what each cost means and what is involved in each step.

Different companies might have slightly different line items in a quote for video localization, but more or less it falls into these main categories for the basic tasks.


  • Project Set-up: During this step the files you have sent are downloaded, saved, opened and watched/listened. This is to ensure that all the assets we mentioned are present, the files play, etc.
  • Book voice talent for audio recording: This is where we work really hard to find the right voice for your video, matching tone, voice, and ensuring it is available at the correct time for recording.
  • Transcribe the English script:  Here we listen to the English recording, type what is spoken to a Word document and then we will have it reviewed by an audio QA engineer to ensure that we have not missed anything.
  • Time code the English script: This step simply means inserting times into the script so the voice talent and engineer know when to move to the next slide. Easier said than done...
  • Extract text from OST for translation: If your videos have text on some graphics, they would need to be extracted (copied and pasted) into a file which subsequently is sent for translation. 

Expect to be charged an hourly rate for any of these tasks!


  • Transcreate script and OST:  This part is done by experienced creative translators (or transcreators) ensuring that not only is the text translated but that it also fits with the voice, tone and brand of your company.
  • Audio record selected voice talent: This is the critical part, recording the translated script using the selected talent in the recording studio; ensuring that the voice is good, it sounds well, and matches your requirements. I say it is critical because if something goes wrong or you do not like the result then we need to re record the session or part of it...which is not great for a project in terms of cost and deadlines!
  • Engineering of recording: this is where our audio engineers prepare the final VO - removing breaths and pops, removing any incorrect takes, and ensuring the volume is consistent throughout the audio. 
Expect to be charged an hourly rate (instead of a per word) for this transcreation as it will take longer than a simple translation to get it right. Hourly rates will apply for the other tasks.

Post Production

  • Integrate the localized voiceover into the video: Once we have the VO then it is a matter of inserting the recorded VO into the English video by the audio engineers.
  • Integrate the localized subtitles into the video: Similar to the above, if you asked for subtitles, then this is where the engineers  insert (drop) the localized subtitles into the English video.
  • Integrate the localized OST into the video: Different from the above in that the translation has to be pasted into the correct place in the video (substituting English OST with translation).
  • Final video quality assurance:  At the end we play the localized video and compare against the English source to ensure it is fully localized and perfect for delivery to you. 
Hourly rates will apply for these tasks and the amount of hours you will pay will depend on the length of the video, the complexity of the OST and whether you request only voiceover or subtitling or both.

Project Management 

All of the above takes an incredible amount of project management, including scheduling, budgeting, client reviews (these can go on and on), and issue resolution.

While typically there is a 10% charge for project management, do not be surprised to find that this amount will not cover the project's real effort. Hours and hours are spent chasing assets, reviewers, corrections, etc.


Read SimulTrans' new Case Study about Video Localization and learn how we could help your own organization overcome challenges by offering a customized solution.

Download Video Localization Case Study

Editor's note: This post was first published on April 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Topics: Marketing Translation, International Business Strategy, Translation Services

Margarita Núñez

Written by Margarita Núñez

Margarita is SimulTrans' Director, Global Marketing. She spearheads SimulTrans' Digital Marketing Strategy by creating, managing, and publishing content for inbound and outbound campaigns across multiple channels. Margarita has more than 25 years of experience in sales and management for the localization industry. She has been involved in many localization organizations, currently serving as a Program Director for Membership for Women in Localization, a non-profit global organization.