Localizing a Video: Timed or Untimed Voiceover Audio?

When recording voiceovers for videos, there’s always the challenge of having to synchronize the audio (voiceover track) with the video to ensure that what’s said matches what’s on the screen. It’s even more challenging in video localization where the voiceover recording is in a different language. The target language is often not the same length as the original, which means the audio in the target language will not always match the original. The most common method to address this is to time the voice recording to match what’s taking place on the video.


However, timed audio recording has a certain limitation. The voiceover talent must record the script within that time limit, which means having to do as many takes as necessary to get the timing just right as well as some tweaking from the studio engineer to shave very small amounts of time off. Timed recording may also require editing the translated script to make sure that it fits within the time limit.


Tip: Whenever a client requests that the translation of the script not be too long, that usually means they plan to do timed voiceover.


Until you’re actually in the studio and recording the words, it’s hard to know for sure if the translation fits within the time limit. The foreign language voice talent sometimes needs to edit the script on the spot when doing timed recording. If the voice talent can’t do it, then the script will have to be sent back to be re-translated, and then back to the voice talent. These are all extra steps, extra costs, and extra turnaround time.


So, what about using untimed voiceover? Untimed voiceover audio could be a better option. First, not editing the translated script for timing can provide better localization accuracy. Second, untimed audio is generally more cost-effective, since it usually can be finished in 1 or 2 takes and doesn’t require too much of the voiceover talent’s precious studio time. Finally, untimed audio can all be recorded at a natural pace.


The challenge untimed audio poses is that its length doesn’t always match video length. To make it match, the audio or the video has to be edited, or both. These are not easy editing processes – they’re time-consuming and require technical skills, resulting in costs that may be higher than timed audio. Fortunately, VideoLocalize has developed a technology that automatically edits the audio and video. With the click of a button, the audio track is synchronized automatically to the video – cutting out hours of manual work.


Tip: Since this technical process may adjust the video length, it is more suited for eLearning and training videos and for videos where there is off-screen narration and no on-screen speakers. In this sense, it’s not ideal for movies or commercials.


Saving time means saving on the cost of the whole project. Since untimed voice recording doesn’t require script editing cost and time, it’s a more cost-effective and less complicated option. Combine untimed recording with the use of VideoLocalize’s automated synchronization technology, and the cost and time required to localize a video into another language will be reduced significantly.


VideoLocalize’s technology makes editing the audio and video a breeze. With the click of a button, the audio track and video are synchronized automatically. Get in touch today to learn more and make a demo appointment!