Top 9 tips for voiceover translation

By Acclaro
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Top 9 tips for voiceover translation

Give your multimedia content a local voice

Voiceover translation can be daunting, no matter the language or the market. But with the right preparation, you can ease the process and create highly successful localized voiceovers for your training content, videos, ads, or multimedia initiatives. Here are our top 9 tips to help you achieve a flawless voiceover that has local appeal in your target language markets.

1. Determine your voice

In each new language market, first consider what emotion you want to convey. Do you want to communicate happiness, expertise, excitement or professionalism? Often, the tone of your voice will (and should) vary according to each language market. In the U.S., for example, enthusiasm and hyperbole are fairly standard, but such pep could be seen as overdone in Germany, where a factual, instructional tone would establish more credibility.

2. Choose the right voice talents

Be active in the casting from the beginning. Work with your language services partner to outline character profiles with names, gender, ethnic background, age and basic personality traits. Meticulous profiling will help ensure a successful end product — one that spares you the potential embarrassment and expense of choosing the wrong voice talent.

3. Ask for project-specific samples

If budget allows, get voiceover artists to record a small sample of your translated script – this is the best way to determine if they’re good fit. If this isn’t feasible, ask for samples that are similar in genre to your initiative: eLearning, infomercials, advertisements, etc.

4. Line up several voice talents for each market

Don’t rely on just one artist, especially if you have ongoing, large voiceover initiatives. Your preferred talents may not always be available – so consider having several pre-approved options.

5. Allow for liberal script translation

Your multimedia translations will more than likely run longer than the original version, but they will more than likely be longer or shorter than the original version, but they will still need to fit into the same limited audio space. Allowing your script translators artistic license to adapt and shorten the script in your target languages will facilitate the synching process, and ultimately will save you time and money.

6. Know the tech specs of your sound files

Which format and level of quality do you need? Are you dealing with .wav? .mp3? .avi? Are you producing single or multi-track audio? Stay in the tech loop with your technical advisor or tech producer/vendor. Ideally, get the source audio files as these will contain the original tech specs when opened in audio software (i.e. Adobe Audition).

7. Provide a pronunciation guide for the recording

Some parts of the script may cause difficulties in translation, such as acronyms, proper nouns, company and product names and the like. Determine in advance if, for example, a company name acronym should be pronounced in English or the target language.

8. Determine your speaking speed

Choose the right cadence for your message with your dialogue director. When marketing a fitness product, for example, you probably want a fast-paced delivery that is dynamic in all of your target languages. Technical content, on the other hand, may require a slower, more deliberate speaking speed and clearer articulation.

9. Quality assurance

Make sure your vendor provides linguistic quality assurance. In-country linguists (sourced from your overseas offices or hired via a localization staffing service) should review the final recording before you give your stamp of approval.

Partner with voiceover translation experts

Giving your multimedia content a local voice ensures the content resonates with your target audience. From casting professional native-speaking voice talents to audio post-production engineering, a localization partner with voiceover translation expertise can assure that everything is seen and heard in the most effective way possible. When you’re ready to take your multimedia initiatives to new markets, contact Acclaro to learn more about finding a local voice.

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