Voice dubbing demystified

Voice dubbing demystified

Once the final lines have been read, scenes have been shot and edits made, one would think that the film production process is over. Well, not exactly.

In the case of a big budget, international blockbuster, the production team still has one more task to take care of: translating the film for global release. Audiovisual translation allows filmmakers and television producers to globalize their content. Most of us will have had some sort of experience with this post-production technique – be it the badly timed voice dubbing commonly found in old school, Kung Fu movies or James Earl Jones lending his iconic voice to the imposing dialogue delivered by Star Wars’ evil villain, Darth Vader.

For big film production companies, voice dubbing is no mean feat. In 2013, Walt Disney Studios employed about 85 staff in their character voices division and some of their more popular feature films, like the Pirates of the Caribbean series, are translated into as many as 27 different languages.

Just because you’re not an international movie maker, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be thinking about how dubbing can make your video content speak to a broader market and develop an international customer base. Here are some of the pros and cons we think you should think about before you consider voice dubbing.

Appeal to a broader audience: If your customers are presented with content in their native language, it creates a sense of ease and makes them feel more engaged with your product or service. While subtitling can do the job, experts believe that voice dubbing is a more effective localization tactic for businesses who are really interested in developing a relationship with their target market.

Take note of distribution channels: It’s important to understand what channels your customers will be using to view your video. If they’re watching your content on a handheld device, chances are subtitles will be tough to read, making dubbing a more appropriate method to communicate your brand message. And if your ideas are quite complex, it can be easier to dub videos into different language rather than confusing your audience with reams and reams of subtitled text.  

Ensure nothing is lost in translation: In the English version of the action movie Terminator 2, Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers the famous line: “Hasta la vista, baby.” However, when the film was dubbed into Spanish, the line was switched for “Sayonara, baby!”  to have more of a cheeky appeal. Understanding your audience and tailoring your content to speak to the preferences and cultural nuances of your customers is essential. Humor can be tough to translate – voice dubbing makes it easier to communicate jokes, cultural references and puns.

Consider timeframes and budget: The reality is that localizing your video content can be complicated and costly. For small-budget projects with a niche audience, dubbed videos don’t make financial sense. The turnaround time for voice dubbing projects is substantially longer because it requires translation experts, voice actors, studio time and post-production editing.

At the end of the day, you want your content to inspire your audience, not frustrate and confuse them. Our team have all of the localization and translation skills you need to make your multimedia material an international hit. Get in touch for more information about our voice dubbing services.


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Image Credit: Lingospheregroup.com