Foreign language voice-overs make it far more likely that you’ll connect with and convert your target audience.

This is true whether that audience is your market, your new employees or the students studying your latest e-learning course.

It’s the reason why voice-over translation services are in such high demand in so many areas:

In advertising, of course. But also in the news and in documentaries – as well as video content and movies the world over.

The benefits of voice-over translation are there for anyone to see. But it’s only by understanding a little about the process itself that you’ll get the best results with your latest project.

In this article, we’ll learn how to properly prepare to localise your latest video audio content into other languages.The process of translating a voice-over There are certain well-defined steps in the process of translating a voice-over to think about when you have a project in front of you:1) Choose your method The first step is to select the type of voice-over translation you think you’re going to need:

  1. Lip-syncing or dubbing: this is perhaps the most recognisable option – it’s the most common way you’ll see voice-overs in movies. The method involves properly setting new vocal recording in amongst the other audio. The quality of dubbing can vary immensely. But when it’s done correctly – with a properly localised and synced script and the right vocal talent – it can be the most effective option available. However, it is extremely difficult to do and requires a great deal of skill as well as certain costs.
  2. Voice replacement: this can be thought of as a slightly simpler version of lip-syncing. In voice replacement, the original vocal recording is set to zero volume. The new native-speaking cast performs over the top. They do often attempt to build in syncing at key points, but not usually to the extent as lip-syncing.
  3. Full actor replacement: this potentially costly but highly effective option is slowly starting to become more popular. A green screen is usually used to completely replace the original actor’s performance with a new native-speaking actor.
  4. UN-style voice-over: in this kind of voice-over, you can still hear the original vocal performance underneath the new translated one. This can either be a positive factor (if you want your audience to be able to connect with the original vocal content) or a distraction depending on your goals for your project.
  5. b: where your original content featured an off-screen narrator or instructor – such as in your e-learning content, for instance – replacing the original speaker with a new off-screen voice-over can be quite straightforward. You’ll still need it to properly sync with the infographics, text or other content being shown in the visual part of the file, of course.

You might also choose to go with subtitling instead of a spoken translation.

There are certain limitations with this method which we’ll touch on below. But it does offer an alternative which can be suitable for some projects where cost-effectiveness is one of your main concerns.2) Script preparation Method chosen, preparing your script for translation is where to go next.

If you have the original script, that’s perfect. If not, you’ll need to have a transcription of your video file produced by a professional transcriber.

This transcription – or the original script – will then need to have time codes added.

You might wish to get your Language Service Provider {LSP) to send you the final script or transcription for review before the translation process starts. Otherwise, you risk needing to request changes later on down the line. These can result in lengthy delays.3) Script translation Once the script has been transcribed or produced and time-coded, it’s time to translate it.

  1. Getting a properly localised translation is vital. Requesting transcreation or creative translation is almost certainly going to be necessary – these approaches allow your translator much greater freedom to interpret what is being said so that it:
  2. Fits naturally within the space and time available – many languages will require more time to say the same thing than English, for example
    Is properly synchronised with the visual performance.
  3. Correctly takes local cultural expectations, norms and other aspects into account where necessary.

In order to do this, your translator will need to constantly refer to the source video to make sure everything matches up.4) Casting and recording Your LSP should give you a number of options when it comes to the voice-over artists who’ll be performing your content. These might range from students to small-scale celebrities and beyond, depending on your budget.

If you have a clear image in mind, communicate this clearly to your LSP before they start the casting process. Creating character profiles for each role will make it easier for them to locate the right artist.

This is equally important for training content. Here you might want to prioritise a voice-over artist who can display professionalism, enthusiasm, be factual or even humorous while still getting your message across clearly.5) Post-production and review Once the recording is complete, the sound engineers to get to work. Post-production includes things like cleaning and editing the file.

Once this is done, you should get a copy to review. If you’re happy with it, that’s your new voice-over ready to publish.Get voice-over and dubbing services from Asian Absolute

The challenges of voice-over translation You’ll probably have seen dozens of movies, broadcasts or videos where a bad translation or voice-over has been jarringly – sometimes humorously – obvious.

On the other hand, the times when the translation of the voice-over has been handled perfectly are usually the times when most people didn’t even notice how good they were.

That might sound like a poor result for a project which can take a significant amount of effort. But to create this kind of nearly seamless result you’ll need to overcome the significant challenges involved in voice-over translation:1) Pacing When people speak to each other naturally in conversation or in scripted dialogue, the pace is often very fast indeed.

Keeping up with this pace is a particular challenge for subtitling. It’s the reason why voice-over translation services are a better choice for many projects.

But even translated audio can struggle – especially if your target language has longer sentences than your source language – unless the translation is handled correctly. For example, English often has shorter sentences compared to other languages. This means that translated conversations have a tendency to want to expand in length.

Your translation team will often need to think laterally to get around this problem.2) Complexity The translation of your audio file or script is always going to grow more difficult the more complicated the material gets.

Again, subtitling services will need a great deal of experience to manage this.

But a file with multiple speakers – especially if they are speaking over or interrupting each other – can create difficulties for voice-over experts too. Very lengthy content can also add to the complexity.

Audio or video files with lots of background noises, multiple speakers and so on can create particular challenges for transcribers too.The benefits of voice-over translation and video localisation All of the above might sound like serious obstacles to success if you don’t have the right expertise on your side.

But there are some major benefits of voice-over translation. Which is why companies all over the world call in LSPs to provide it every day:1) You reach new markets The power of video marketing has been recognised for decades. The internet has only made this channel even more effective – and easier to use to reach a more global audience.

A potential downside of this global reach is that more people from different cultures can access your marketing…

Only to receive an incorrect or confusing message from it because it hasn’t been properly localised for them.

Remember that your video content needs to make sense to each segment of your target audience. You need to do things like:

  • Localise colloquialisms and slang
  • Ensure all images are culturally appropriate
  • Use colour symbolism correctly (it’s an important part of branding, marketing – and indeed life – in many parts of Asia)
  • Abide by all local and regional laws

This is where video localisation services come in. Professionally executed, they’ll ensure that your marketing will get your message across effectively in every important market it reaches.

All the major international brands use properly localised video content to maximise the power of their marketing and boost their brand image on the global stage.2) You globalise and grow your business As well as targeting potential consumers who have a different first language to your original domestic audience, localising your video content is also vital when you have a workforce with different native languages.

Your employees may have a very high level of – for example – English as a second language. But their understanding of materials in it will rarely be as good as it will be of materials presented in their mother tongue.

What’s more, companies around the world have recognised that this globalised approach to their internally-directed content results in a more connected, loyal and better-informed workforce. Certainly, it achieves better results than forcing new employees to undergo orientation and training in a language they may be less than familiar with.

This makes localisation an important step for your:

  • Employee training and orientation materials
  • E-learning courses, videos and apps
  • Product demonstration videos

3) You clarify information and beat the challenges of subtitling We’ve already touched upon the difficulties of using subtitles for content with more than one speaker and when it comes to length of screen space and pacing.

You’ll overcome these challenges far more easily with a properly translated voice-over. Crucially, you’ll do so while making sure that you’re connecting with your audience in the most powerful way.

This might be in order to impart important information to your new employees more clearly. Or to properly connect with your target market to increase your chances of making a conversion or sale.Voice-over translation tips Getting the best out of your LSP is all the easier to do when you:1) Help them choose the right voice talent Be sure to:

2) Consider allowing creative translation or transcreation Remembering those issues of timing, pacing and fitting the varying lengths of audio spoken in different languages around your video content, it’s important to give your translation team as much flexibility as possible when it comes to producing a localised version of your script.

Otherwise, you risk requiring them to fit a very square peg into a round hole.3) Provide a style and pronunciation guide Some words, branded content, company names, product names or unusual acronyms might be problematic from a translation or pronunciation point of view.

The speed of the dialogue in your advertising or training material is also something you’ll want to decide before recording begins. Content which contains a great deal of technical language or explanation might require a slower pace than other kinds, for example.

You can resolve any issues here before they appear by providing your LSP with a style and pronunciation guide.4) Confirm all technical aspects first Make sure you confirm the format you want your output to be in (.avi, .mp3 or .wav, for example), the quality of output you’re looking for and other technical aspects with your LSP first.Get voice-over and dubbing services from Asian Absolute

5) Prepare yourself before – and check the quality afterwards Before the recording of your translated content is about to start, make sure you ask about the process. Your LSP should be happy to advise you about this – including aspects such as any additional time which might be necessary for multiple takes.

Another question you might want to ask relates to the Quality Assurance process your LSP is going to follow when your recording is complete. The linguistic QA they complete should always be handled by native speakers of your target language. This is vital.

Because no one else is going to be in a position to help you judge how well the final result will be received by your target audience. In the final analysis, that’s the only result which really matters.

Do you need to know more about how to get the best out of your voice-over translation services?
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