Smooth Multilingual Voiceovers: Five Ways to Avoid the Do-Overs

Category: Multimedia, Translation Services

Remember those badly dubbed Pippi Longstocking movies? A generation of Americans will never forget the way her out-of-synch mouth movements made her misadventures seem even more comical.

9519634437_3224761316_zSuccessful voiceovers are nearly imperceptible – they can make you think you’re watching a film in your own language. Such inconspicuous dubbing isn’t easy. But with the right localization partner and the right process, you can achieve flawless voiceovers for local appeal in your target-language markets.

Just follow these five tips to maximize your studio time, and avoid expensive re-recordings.

1.  Determine your voice style. For each language market, do you want to convey happiness, expertise, excitement or professionalism? For example, in the U.S., enthusiasm and hyperbole are standard, but such pep could be seen as overdone in Germany, where a factual, instructional tone establishes more credibility.

2.  Choose the right voice talent.

  • Prevent embarrassing, expensive casting blunders by outlining character profiles with first names, gender, ethnic background, age and basic personality traits.
  • If budget allows, get voiceover artists to record a small sample of your translated script, acting as one of your characters.
  • Are your voice talents are already “branded” in your target countries? For example: would the French voiceover artist for Sylvester Stallone help or harm your business objective in the French market?

3.  Allow for liberal script translation. Your multimedia translations will likely run longer than the original English version, yet they will still need to be squeezed into the same limited audio space. Give your script translators artistic license to adapt and shorten the script in your target languages – it’ll save you time and money in the synching process.

4.  Provide a pronunciation guide for the recording. Acronyms, proper nouns, company/product names and the like may cause difficulties in translation. Determine in advance how they should be pronounced for maximum efficiency.

5.  Be prepared the day of the recording. Familiarize yourself with the multilingual voiceover recording process. And allow extra time for re-takes or “pick-ups”, which should be negotiated with your agency in advance.

For more recommendations on managing voiceovers and multimedia localization, see our complete Top 10 Tips for Voiceover Localization.


Photo Attribution: Cristian Allendes Photos