To localize the audio component of any e-learning course there are several considerations. Should you choose voiceover recording or subtitling or both?

While localizing, the voice over can engage the learners and subtitles or Closed Captioning (CC) localization can ensure better retention and recall as written text creates better cognitive inputs. Eventually, they compliment each other.

Let us understand the difference between the voiceover and closed captioning in context to localization along with their benefits and limitations.

Voiceover means re-recording the audio files into your target language.

Subtitling or closed captioning involves adding subtitles to the narration of the course and then replacing these subtitles with another language.

Benefits and limitations of Voice Over recording

  • A localized course looks professional by adding multilingual voiceovers.
  • A voiceover is a great option when your course has a lot of on-screen text or multiple speakers in your audio files.

On the other hand, voiceover recording is more expensive than subtitling as you need to translate the script before recording. Moreover finding native voice artists can sometimes be challenging due to limited availability and the time and cost factor involved.

Depending on the translated text, length of the recording also expands. It may affect the audio syncing and timing if not done properly.

Benefits and limitations of Subtitling  

  • Subtitling is comparatively less costly  than the voiceover and also does not affect the original audio track of your  course
  • Subtitling helps the learners who are able to understand the original audio but may not be able to read it.

While subtitling ensures that the quality of original audio does not get affected, it affects the visuals of the course in terms of screen space. Content, when translated into other languages from English, many times it gets expanded which might not be equally effective.

While choosing an option between voiceover and subtitling you need to be very clear on the expectations, budget, and quality of the output. If your budget is lower, then you may choose subtitling. If there is a lot of on-screen text, voiceover might be a better option.

If the budget and timelines are not a major issue, select both the options as subtitling with properly localized voiceover will help in delivering a professional and engaging e-learning course to meet the learning needs of the learner.