Changing the voice of Your Content: Key Tips for Effective Voice-Over Localization

Video localization multilingual videos

Multilingual voice-over services are not new. Voiceovers date back to the early 20th century as radio broadcasting and television grew. Creating translated voiceovers is an easy way to overcome language barriers and expand the reach of audio clips for international audiences. They’re also an essential piece of video translation services.

Today, audiences are hooked on podcasts and audiobooks as much as their forebearers loved radio. Video continues to dominate as the top form of content on the internet, and it’s safe to say that the voice-over industry (along with video translation services) isn’t going anywhere.

The Importance of Multilingual Voice-Over for Video Translation

Consider this: 93% of brands report that social media videos play an essential part in new consumer acquisition, and 60% feel that video content is a key piece of digital marketing. Video is king on the internet, but delivering content in one language creates language barriers for your target audience. Utilizing multilingual voice-over services is a great way to expand the reach of existing content without increasing the workload on your team.

Many companies already invest in audio and video content for marketing, social media, employee relations, etc. But earmarking some of this budget for a multilingual voice-over over version of your videos may not have crossed your mind.

What are Voiceovers?

You already watch videos with voiceovers. Think of the last video on social media or tutorial you watched – if the sound wasn’t music, it was someone talking over the video clips. That’s what voiceovers are – audio overlayed on a video clip.

The audio quality is just as important as the visual quality in a video and even more important for audio-only files. Changing the original Voice-over for the version in the new language is usually a part of a video translation or video localization project.

Who Needs Multilingual Voice-Over and Video Translation?

  • Podcast and vodcasts
  • Audiobooks
  • Video games
  • Travel and tourism companies
  • International companies
  • Multi-lingual social media channels
  • eLearning programs

If you’re in the midst of a video localization project, chances are you’ll need multilingual voice-over services as well.

A Great Multilingual Voice-Over is fundamental for Professional Video Translation Services

Multilingual voice-over services are a vital piece of video localization. A localized video can use subtitles and/ or voice-over in the new language. The one to use will depend on the application and budget. Subtitles are more budget-friendly. On the other hand, the voice-over in the new language facilitates comprehension and requires less effort from the viewer.

Voice-over translation is an audiovisual translation in which a language version of the translated script is added to the original video. It is up to the client to decide if the original voice is eliminated or can be heard in the background. That will depend on the application.

If you’re sending audio files to a translation company, ensure you’re sending the correct file type with clear audio. This is usually the original audio track, which may be a single audio file or multiple, depending on the complexity of your content. If the audio is noisy, garbled, or otherwise challenging to understand, this can create delays.

If you think you need to re-record the audio files entirely, your language service provider may be able to help with that. Quality audio is a crucial piece of video editing.

Do I Need Both Subtitles and Voice-Over Localization in Multilingual Video Content?

While this question is subjective to the needs, budget, and video editing capabilities of an individual company, best practices for accessibility encourage both voice-over localization and video subtitling.

Subtitles do not serve the same purpose as a voice-over; subtitles are on-screen text that makes videos accessible for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. (These are also sometimes called closed captions.) Subtitles can be in an SRT file, while audio is usually stored in a WAV file type.

Translated subtitles are as important as interpreted voice-overs. If in doubt, ask your translation company for assistance to support the best decision.

Benefits of Voice-Over Interpretation for Video Translation

Expanded reach

Using multilingual voice-over quickly expands the reach of your content. Video is king on the internet, raking in millions of views, likes, and engagement daily. Creating multilingual videos is an easy way to expand the reach of existing content, overcoming language barriers and amplifying its reach while keeping your content creation budget in check.

Better engagement

As mentioned above, videos get the most engagement out of all the content types on the internet. But people want to engage with videos that speak their language – ones that don’t use a person’s native language are quickly flicked past. You can reach and engage with new audiences in new places by using a tailored voice-over.

Tips for choosing a voice-over artist for the new language

Know Your Audience

Are you targeting Spanish speakers in the USA, Mexico, or Spain? Does your audience speak European French or Canadian French? The more you know about your audience and how to engage with them, the better and more specific your video translation and voice-over localization project can be. So, study your market and learn to give vital information to your translation company.

Use a Native Speaker

Your voice-over artist should be a native speaker of your target language. Native speakers have the best grasp of a language’s grammar, syntax, and cadence and will be the most natural and fluent.

The speaker should be a native speaker not just of your language of choice (such as Chinese) but of the dialect spoken in your target language (such as Cantonese instead of Mandarin)

Accents Matter

Every language has regional influence, which is often seen in the speaker’s accent. Ensure you’re using a speaker with an accent your audience will connect with. This means getting as regional and specific as possible when necessary. A voice-over podcast from Spanish to English should use a West Coast or East Coast accent, while a campaign with a target audience in Massachusetts should use a Boston-accented speaker. A Spanish voice-over should consider whether the campaign targets all of Spain or a specific region and adjust the accent accordingly. For example, the Andalusia region will need a completely different voice-over.

Consider the Demographics (age and gender.)

While you can’t pinpoint someone’s age from their voice, children sound noticeably different from adults and from the elderly. Use a speaker in the age range of your target audience. The same goes for the gender of your speaker.

Most of the time, you want to stay true to the original audio, but in some cases, you can change the gender of the voice if you do not have the person on camera, like in the case of a narrator.

Use a Professional

While voiceovers may seem like simply reading off a script, there is a noticeable difference between the audio produced by a seasoned professional and someone just trying voice-overs for the first time.

A good voice-over doesn’t stand out, while a lousy voice-over leaves a lasting impression.

In JR Language Translation Services, we have completed voice-over work in which the result of the new language is better than the original due to the use of professional voice-over talent.

Determine the Tone

The tone of an audio track carries weight, and it’s important to ensure the speaker uses the right tone. A video that uses an excitable voiceover in the US may need a more reserved tone for Asian markets.

The tone also goes with what the brand goals are for the project.

Determine the Speed

How quickly or slowly should your voice-over artist read through the script? It’s important to consider text expansion in this question; the English language tends to have short sentences, and translation can expand the text and the length of the script. The speed of your voice-over artist may need to change, or the video length may need to change in editing.

Understanding and managing those challenges are crucial to obtaining excellence in the multilingual voice-over final product.

Have a Translated Script Ready

Even using a native speaker, don’t ask your voice-over artist to create a translated version of the script – have one prepared for them.

Use a translation service provider to create a grammatically accurate and culturally sensitive version of your script that retains the original message and lets your speaker use that. You can, however, allow them to make adjustments if needed to achieve the desired result.

Not sure where to start? Your translation company may have voice-over artists for specific languages they work with on video translation projects– don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation.

Once the translated voice-over is created, checking quality assurance before releasing it is important. Use the same translation company that made your translated script to review and assess the translated file to ensure it’s accurate and culturally sensitive.

Are you in need of Multilingual voice-over or video translation services? It’s easy with the right language service provider. At JR Language Translation Services company, we have the know-how and technology to exceed your expectations with quality translations at affordable prices. Contact us for your video translation services quote today— we’d love to partner with you in your journey for multilingual videos.

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