Choosing a voice to represent your entire brand is difficult at the best of times. However, companies looking for a voice artist to deliver their message in a foreign language – with all of the necessary cultural relevance and nuance – face a particularly difficult selection process.
In this article, we explain the importance of choosing the right voice talent for any campaign and explore some tips on how to find the right voice for your next project.
Language is a complex social phenomenon and the trickiest aspect of communication is the relationship between intent and perception. For example, when telling someone that your foot hurts, there’s a good chance everyone knows to which body part you’re referring but words like “hurt” and “pain” mean different things to English speakers.
You know what you’re trying to say when you use a word like “pain” but you never know exactly how that word is perceived by someone else.
By the time you start looking for a voiceover artist, you already know what you want to say. The challenge, at this point, is pinpointing how you want to say it or, more accurately, how you want it to be perceived by your target audience.
The psychological response people have to human voices is quite remarkable and you only have to look at popular culture including the impact of HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, an AI computer voiced by Douglas Rain.
Viewers were so terrified by the concept of an intelligent machine turning against human owners that almost every automated voice in real-world technology (e.g. Siri) since then has been female.
That illustrates the psychological power one voice can have, but the full extent they have upon our perception is so vast and, often, subtle that it defines more than we realise.
“The spectrum of sounds humans emit are not only the lifeblood of conversation—they are central to our sense of who we are and where we come from.”– Matt Huston, Psychology Toda
At the granular level, aspects like voice pitch, tone, volume and a range of audible characteristics shape our perception of voices and the messages they deliver.
However, the most powerful influences upon our perception are often the most basic. Quite simply, we tend to trust voices that sound familiar and, in many cases, this means voices that sound like us – but they can also be voices that sound motherly, reassuring, confident or other characteristics we’ve built our own perceptions around.
A 2018 McGill research into accents found that we tend to trust people who sound familiar, too. However, the same research found that tone played a key factor and other studies have also underpinned that some regional accents are perceived as more trustworthy than others.
When choosing a voice artist for a client project, the perception of the message you want to communicate is everything. The most basic response to voices is to lean on and trust the familiar and this is especially important when running campaigns in foreign-speaking markets.
Local voices that feel familiar to the target audience is what you need – not only because you want your message to feel native, but also your brand image.
If you need help with your voiceover projects including finding the right talent for your campaign, get in touch with the team here at translate plus.