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The Challenges of Voice-Over Translation

Published on June 15th, 2022

voice-over translation

Voice-overs are one of the most popular methods of translating video content, but it is also one of the more challenging solutions. Quality voice-over translation requires a range of expertise, careful planning and a controlled production process to deliver consistent results in every language.

In this article, we discuss the biggest challenges of voice-over translation and how you can overcome them on your next project.

What are the top challenges of voice-over translation?

The biggest challenges of voice-over translation vary from one project to another, but we have pinpointed the seven most common issues you are likely to experience during any given production:

Finding the right voice(s):

Finding the right voice(s) for your content is one of the most challenging aspects of a voice-over project – and this only gets more difficult as other factors add further complexity.

Production time/cost:

Voice-over production requires more resources and time than most language services, which can make it both time consuming and expensive – unless you have a streamlined production process (or work with an agency that has that in place) that maximises efficiency.

Quality control:

When translating voice-overs, you have to ensure the final result delivers your intended message with the same level of quality in each language.

Audience variation:

Language audiences often come with unique perspectives, cultural backgrounds, demographics, interests and other variations – and you may have to cater for these in your voice-over translations.

Linguistic distance:

This refers to the degree of difference between two languages and the greater the linguistic distance is, the more challenging it is to translate content into the target language – this is why translating from English into Spanish is generally much easier than translating the same content into Chinese Mandarin.

Figurative language:

The intended meaning of figurative language, which typically uses metaphors, symbolism, hyperbole and other devices, tends to get lost in translation – an aspect that needs to be considered in voice-over projects.

Project management:

Managing a complete voice-over project – including careful planning, briefing, talent search, production and content delivery – requires a streamlined process that is provided only by specialist voice-over agencies or language service providers that specialise in this area. At translate plus, for example, we provide a highly specialised, end-to-end service for creative projects that require voice-over translation, as part of the creative development and production stage of our process. We also have an extensive global network of linguists and transcreators in place which helps us find the right voice talents for these projects.

So the more of the aforementioned issues you face on any given project, the more challenging production will be. Likewise, the complexity of a project will also depend on the extent to which these voice-over challenges affect production.

For example, projects that include multiple speakers in the source content require unique voices for each participant. This is multiplied by the number of languages you need to cover. Therefore, if source content includes interviews with a large number of interviewees, it is most likely that six different voice artists will be needed, for each language version.

This has a knock-on effect across the entire production process. The more voice artists you need, the more difficult it is to find the right talent and the more recording sessions you have to run. This increases the cost and turnaround time of projects and also makes it more difficult to manage with any holdups potentially creating delays across the whole production.

Also Read: Voice over recording: How important are celebrity voices?

How to overcome these voice-over challenges

The easiest way to overcome the challenges listed above is to work with an agency that specialises in voice-over translation. As already mentioned, these agencies need to have established connections with the best voice talent across the industry and the resources to arrange recording sessions on your behalf. In other words, agencies that allow you to access a global pool of talented voice professionals so you can find the best voice(s) for your projects’ needs, no matter how complex a project may be.

Voice-over translation requires a range of expertise. First, the project managers working on this type of project need to come with experience in coordinating and leading voice-over projects and all of the professionals involved. This includes:

  • Scriptwriters
  • Translators
  • Talent scouts
  • Agents
  • Native-speaking voice artists
  • Voice-over producers
  • Sound engineers
  • Editors

Working with agencies that can bring all of these experts together into one project and manage each stage of the production process efficiently will help ensure your voice-over tracks are available for you when you need them.

Things can go wrong during complex projects – from technical issues to scheduling problems and other – but an experienced voice-over translation agency will be able to deal with such issues in a timely manner and in a way that does not affect production timelines or cost.

In cases where voice over artists are unavailable for the day of the recording for example, this can jeopardise the delivery of the entire project so an experienced agency will have the connections required to schedule a suitable alternative or move things around so that you can keep production moving without interruption.

To discuss your next voice-over project, please feel free to contact our creative translation team who can help you across the planning, recruitment and production process. Request a meeting with them by filling out the form on our contact page or share the details of the project via the form and one of our team members will get back to you.

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Posted on: June 15th, 2022