Voice over is one of the most complex components of multimedia localization. The process can be slow, technically challenging, and involve a lot of people. But it can certainly be a worthwhile investment. If your company needs to make it happen, consider your options carefully. Voice over translation software can make it much easier to achieve high-quality voice overs in the shortest possible amount of time. Still, there are a host of factors to take into account.
The Benefits of Voice Over Translation Software
Here are some of the advantages of using voice over translation software to manage your localization projects.
It saves time
The process for preparing and completing voice overs is a long and complicated one—one that you’ll want to do in close partnership with your LSP.
- Setup of glossary and style guide (and pronunciation guide if relevant)
- Write the script in English
- Produce the video in English
- Ideally, your LSP gets the final script while they are producing the English version (if they are able to also do the English version) so that translation can start while English voicing is happening
- Translate the script
- During translation, start sourcing voice talent
- Reviewer reviews the script translation inside your platform’s translation editor
- The final script is recorded by voice talent
- Your LSP does a QA of the script to ensure accuracy, the right tone, and compliance with standards—and they rerecord anything that needs it
- Your LSP’s engineers do noise reduction and equalizing
- Your LSP’s engineers align the new voice track with the video, making timing adjustments
- Your LSP’s QA of the video with voice over
- Your team’s QA of final video with voice (using the in-platform QA review tool)
A centralized platform can speed up the whole process dramatically because you avoid the need to shuffle files around, upload, download video and voice files, and other menial tasks. When troubleshooting without a streamlined platform, a reviewer would have to write down timestamps and describe the problem and solution in an email. At the same time, the transparency that a platform provides allows stakeholders to consult with one another, making their lives easier and potentially saving even more time.
It can establish consistency
Voice over is much more dependent on individual talent than plain translation is. Translating is usually done in a team or, at least, with backup available in the event of sickness, vacation, family leave, and even death among the linguist staff. Voice talent comes and goes, so if you want to modify something later, it might not work out to get the same voice. You may end up needing to redo a lot of slow, expensive steps.
A vendor can help mitigate these problems by engaging talent that will agree to remain available for a specified length of time. Or they may help you create a multiple-voice strategy that will preserve your brand “voice” while reducing your dependence on a specific actor. In addition, a vendor is likely to have access to emerging text-to-voice technology that requires no human actor. This technology is much cheaper and faster than traditional voicing, but it can still sound hollow and unemotional to the audience sometimes. In many settings, it is completely sufficient and appropriate. An expert partner can help you evaluate your needs.
It saves money
All of the steps in voice over cost money. You have to pay for the voice actor, studio time, the director and engineer, and then the resulting recording still needs QA and engineering. You may find that certain talent have their own equipment, but you will pay a premium for the extra services.
It helps to work with someone with experience who can give you some perspective on cost. A vendor will have the expertise to help you plan carefully. Subtitles and words on the screen are sometimes viable alternatives to voice over. But if there’s something you have to watch, subtitles are a distraction, so it’s often best to use voiceover for learning. Since even cutting 30 seconds from a voice over script is a significant savings, words have to be used wisely. Some things may be obvious without words, and some videos with a short lifespan may not be worth the investment of voice over.
The bottom line is that a platform helps save money by saving time, and it can preserve valuable materials for reuse. It’s common that some parts of learning modules end up being boilerplate, similar in several modules. By using a centralized translation memory, you can avoid paying for the same translations and voice clips twice.
It makes in-country review easier
In-country review is a perennial sticking point for companies involved in localization. Communications can be difficult, and critiquing your content may not have anything to do with your in-country reviewers’ job descriptions, so procrastination and discontent are common. A centralized platform helps alleviate these problems by linking the in-country reviewer into the localization process more directly and opening more convenient communication channels.
Here again, voice over is somewhat more complex than text localization. It is counterproductive to have an in-country reviewer look at a video at the end of the process, since by that time it’s too late (or too expensive) to redo anything. On a centralized platform, that reviewer can pre-approve terminology and review the translated script before any recording begins. They can also listen to samples from voice actors to help pick the right voice. If your in-country reviewer is particularly active in providing feedback, you might even team up with them to produce a pronunciation guide that the voice actors can leverage. This can be especially helpful if you are maintaining product or brand names in English during the translation process.
Voice Over in eLearning
eLearning is some of the most complicated content to localize. There is usually a lot of variation in the material that has to be translated; written instructions, charts, diagrams, video demonstrations, and lectures all present their own specific challenges. It is vital to have the best possible quality for elearning material since a business can seriously falter if that material is inaccurate, incomprehensible, delayed, or poorly received by employees.
eLearning is also one of the areas where voice over is most common. Because the popular Articulate Storyline elearning software has no integrations, there is more manual work required, so a localization services provider needs to be highly service oriented as well as expert users of that software. An LSP needs to manage expectations and work mindfully and collaboratively to optimize delivery time and use its experience to troubleshoot issues fast.
Get the Help You Need for Great Voice Over Translations
Automating the voice over process will save you time, money, and nerves. It’s a lot to bite off, though. It requires know-how and the right technology, and even then it will be a labor-intensive process. Moreover, your business will also need a highly individual strategy to optimize spending while providing the best possible localization solutions. Expert knowledge is a tremendous benefit. Partnering with a capable localization services provider is the most practical and reliable way to achieve high-quality voice overs.
At Bureau Works, we provide a wide range of localization services through a modern automated platform. That centralization, combined with our deep understanding of industry best practices, enables us to create a superior voice over experience for your business. Contact our team to find out more about how we can help you achieve high-quality multimedia localization.