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How to translate sustainability videos

By September 23, 2014November 25th, 2020Translations

How to translate sustainability illustrated videos?

People often asked me about translating videos and how they could help do so. This is very exciting and I am very grateful for all the help and good will that you folks are showing to make these videos available to more people in more languages. There are mostly 3 ways to translate a video:

  1. Subtitles: This is the easiest option as I can send a subtitle file to translate and then upload it to Youtube quickly. If this is of interest to you, please send me an email with the videos of which you would like to translate the subtitles and I will send you the files. As an example you can look at the Ecological Footprint video that has subtitles available in English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese and Japanese. Just click on the “cc” icon below the video.
  2. Translate narration: This is more user-friendly while involving a limited amount of work. We replace the English narration with the new language without changing the on-screen texts. It is not the real deal yet but it’s quite nice.  Process: You send me an email to get started on the project; You get the script of the video you want to translate by clicking on the “script” button under the video (all script are available on this website, see example); You translate the script and record the narration into the new language and then send me the audio file (see tips about voice recording below); I synchronize the new narration with the drawings to create a new video that I post on the YouTube channel. This is what I typically do to make all my French videos (see “les 3 piliers du développement durable” for an example).
  3. Full translation: This is the real deal but can be more labour intensive (for some videos where texts are moving, it is a fair amount of work and needs to be funded). Process: As above, you can get the script file, translate it, record the narration and send me the audio file. You also need to translate the on-screen texts so I can replace them in the video before synchronizing it all to make a new video, fully translated. Please send me an email if you decide to go that route. For an example, see the Japanese version of the Ecological Footprint video: エコロジカル・フットプリント

Tips to record a good quality voice-over:

  • Use a good microphone: The Snowball by Blue Microphone is very good one and fairly inexpensive for the quality ($80). It is used by a lot of YouTubers including Justin Bieber 🙂 Make sure you don’t get the iCE one! It’s not nearly as good as is not worth saving $30
  • Improvise a small recording booth: I record in a small closet with lots of wool sweaters but you can also use a blanket or anything that helps avoid echo during recording. Many YouTube videos are available to help you do that: see for example or
  • Stay away from fans, loud computers, or other things that create humming noise.
  • You can use GarageBand or any other music/sound software to record, pause, save the best takes and edit your recording.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions and thanks for your help!

Alex Magnin

Alex Magnin is a sustainability consultant and illustrator, the founder of AM Creative Inc. and the creator of Sustainability Illustrated. He creates animation videos and cartoons to illustrate sustainable change using years of experience drawing and working as a sustainability consultant with businesses and communities.


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