Voice-Overs: The Art of Capturing Your Listeners

A high-quality voice recording can command undivided attention, and create an emotional reaction in your listeners. When it’s done well, we find ourselves brought to a hush so that we can silence our cell phones in a movie theater, listen to the pre-flight safety presentation on an airplane, or simply feel compelled to purchase the product being advertised.

What to clarify before your audio translation project:

  1. The Script

Before a professional voice talent can record in the target language, the original audio needs to be available in written form for translation or created by transcribing it.

Time codes and visual references are added for ease of matching up the translation with the video component.

  1. The Length and timing of audio and visuals

Do you need the translated reading to be timed to match the original length? Keep in mind that most languages are longer than English. For example, Spanish requires about 20% more words than the English source document.

In order to have the audio translation read in the same amount of time and at a similar pace as the original, the corresponding video would need to be extended.

But there is another option:

  1. Adapting your translated script to fit time restrictions

Professional translators with experience in audio script translation can shorten the translated text so that it can be read at a natural speed, and in the same amount of time as the original English. This is called script adaptation.

While recording the adapted translated script, the voice-over artist will adhere to the timeline of the original, resulting in a translated audio file that synchs with the video element perfectly.

  1. Which voice-over artist is the right fit?

When making your selection, consider the following:

  • Gender and age range of the speaker.
  • Best suited pitch and tone of voice: they should fit the execution and product (a meditation product requires a different voice and tone than an advertisement for a pickup truck).
  • National or regional accent vs. neutral: determine the best fit for your product and target audience. In many instances, a neutral sounding speaker can satisfy a variety of geographic areas.
  • Personal preferences: request voice demos as help in the selection process.
  • Pricing: voice-over artists’ prices range widely, find the best fit for your budget. 
  1. Timed or narration-style audio?
  • Timed: the new translated audio file fits seamlessly over the original. When the original speaker is on camera, the voice-over artist may need to match the speaker’s lip movement as closely as possible.
  • Narration-style: the original speaker is not on camera but narrates the video. The length of the translated audio is not critical. For documentaries, the original voice is often audible at the beginning of the track, then fades away. 
  1. Would you like to participate in the recording session?

You may be interested in doing so if you have an internal resource who can speak or understand the target language.

Consider the following options:

  • Skype:  a common solution for lower budget recordings as it is a free, easily accessible service.
  • High-quality data transfer through a web browser: possible through paid products such as Session Link Pro, (offered by professional recording studios in the Tell network).
  • ISDN (Integrated Services for Digital Network) connections allow for the simultaneous digital transmission of voice and video using the public telephone network.

Tell would be happy to assist you with your audio translation project or any questions about audio recording. You can contact us here.