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In Part 1 of this series, we covered best practices that can make the video localization process easier and faster, such as making the source files easily accessible, using a glossary or termbase, translating metadata, customizing the script translation according to voiceover or subtitling requirements, and localizing software UI when needed. In Part 2, we will discuss the voiceover recording part of video localization. (Please note that these tips are mainly applicable for corporate and business videos like eLearning, explainer, and training, not for commercials, entertainment, or video gaming videos.)

When it’s time to do the voiceover recording, you want to avoid having to go back to the studio. Any kind of re-recording will definitely delay the project, especially if the voiceover talent is not available right away; it may also be subject to additional costs, depending on the voice artist’s policy. These are usually the two main reasons why re-recording happens:

1) Having to re-record portions of the script (called ‘pickups’ or ‘retakes’) because of tone, delivery, speed, or pronunciation
2) Changes to the script, whether it’s adding or deleting something to the script (called ‘revisions’)

Any kind of re-recording will definitely delay the project, especially if the voiceover talent is not available right away; it may also be subject to additional costs, depending on the voice artist’s policy. Revisions will always incur extra charges as changes to a script is equivalent to recording new content. To stay on schedule and within budget, it is best to be as well prepared as possible before recording starts.

The Translated Script
Translating a voice-over script is very different from translating a text document. The script is recorded to match the one on the original; this means the length of the translated recording cannot be noticeably shorter or longer than what’s on the original. It’s very important to take this into consideration when translating a script, and even more if the recording has to be timed or synched with the source video.

Before recording starts, make sure the script is the final version and approved for recording use. Making changes to the script after the recording is completed means revisions that will cause delays and incur extra costs.

Script Localization vs. Translation
Keep in mind that localization doesn’t mean just translation. Localization is all about using the audience’s local language or dialect to strike a connection with them, similar to what the original content does for its original target audience. Translating the script then needs to take into account cultural adaptation such as humor, cultural norms, linguistic nuances, etc. That’s why it’s worth investing in script localization, which adapts the messaging to the culture and language of the audience, rather than a direct, word-for-word translation.

Pronunciation Guidelines
Once the translated script is finalized, confirm the pronunciation of certain words and terms with the language stakeholders in your organization. Check for little-known words or terms that are specific to an industry. If you use medical, technical, or other specialized vocabularies, communicate the pronunciation of these words and acronyms in the script by inserting the phonetic spelling of a term in brackets or adding a link to an audio clip of how that term should be pronounced.

  • Develop a pronunciation key for the voiceover talent if any of the below types of words are in the script:
    Abbreviations and acronyms: indicate whether the term should be pronounced by its letters or as a word. For example, in “HP”, if it’s to pronounce only the letters, write it with dashes, as in H-P. If you want the company’s full name to be pronounced, then type in “Hewlett Packard”.
  • Names that do not have their own translation in the target language: this applies to a person’s name, name of a place/city/town, product name, company names, etc.
  • Telephone numbers and other numeric sequences such as a zip code, PO Box, etc. (e.g. indicate “704” as “seven-zero-four” or “seven-oh-four” or “seven hundred and four”)

Voiceover Talent Casting
Casting the right voice will help enhance the quality of the video. Based on the purpose of the video and its target audience, remember to specify the language variant and accent, if applicable; choose the voice gender (male or female); indicate the type of voice required (e.g. business-like, mature, young, deep voice, hoarse, etc.), and any other specific requirements for each role in the video.

Recording Directions
Before recording begins, if you have any specific instructions in terms of tone, energy level, emotion, etc. in the voice recording, specify them as clearly as possible. It’s a good idea to include sample videos as reference. Doing so can avoid having to re-record the entire audio—adding both time and cost to the project.

Finally, you are ready to start the voiceover recording. Don’t forget to specify the file format of the recording and the delivery date. And you’re all set to go.

Whatever the type of content being dubbed, setting things up correctly is preferable to having to re-do stages of the video localization process, which will definitely take longer and cost more. Plus, when an audience detects flaws, it reduces the impact intended. One way to ensure quality and reduced costs is to hire a localization provider with technical expertise and a proven track record. A well-localized video should look and sound like it was made in the language of its target viewers. When people respond positively, you know your efforts paid off.

VideoLocalize can dub many types of videos, such as eLearning, explainer, training, and corporate promotional videos.

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