A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE FOR DUBBING AND VOICE-OVER
A popular misconception when it comes to localization is that dubbing is the same as a voice-over. Two methods are actually different.
What are dubbing and voice-over?
Voice Over – The voice of a voice artist recorded using a high-quality microphone in an acoustic professional studio with a soundproof booth for commercials, audio books, greetings, automatic reply on mobile phone or news, and information announcing at malls and supermarkets and all kinds of narration including IVR, e-learning.
Dubbing – When a voice artist dubs for the lead or supporting actors in animation, movies or advertisement videos,… in their native language, dialect or local accent to convey the content and message to customers.
Voice-over and dubbing are services offered by localization companies that specialize in translation as well. They require specific skills, such as lip-synching, precise observation skills to match the acting, emotion and the movement of lips. Both the voice actor and the sound engineer need to be professional. The whole process is time-consuming and complex.
Why are dubbing and voice-over important?
Voice-overs are often used in documentaries or informational content. Dubbing, on the other hand, is more about entertainment content like movies, animation, or video games.
Some might think that the audio portion of a video is less important than the visual portions, but that’s not true. Most viewers say they are more likely to stop watching a video with bad audio.
So audio isn’t just important. It’s essential to keep an audience engaged with your content and absorb the message you intend to communicate.
5 things make voice-over and dubbing successful
If your voice over recording is fuzzy or muddy sounding, audiences will be distracted and unable to take in the information and move on. Either way, they miss your message and you miss an opportunity to share your knowledge.
Similarly, if your audio’s volume is too low, it may be difficult for people to hear. Too loud and you risk annoying distortion.
Luckily, there’s a pretty solid sweet spot for volume. See the section on recording your voice over for more information on audio levels.
Ever talk with someone who has a really exciting story to tell, but they’re so excited about it that they rush through it and when they’re done you can’t even remember what they were talking about? Or, someone who drones on and on with no end in sight, threatening to put you to sleep?
This is pacing. Too fast and your audience won’t know what hit them. Too slow and they’re likely to get bored. The best voice overs have a natural and deliberate pace. Start with a script and practice it before you record to help you speak at a more natural pace.
And remember, pacing also includes things like pausing occasionally to take a breath, for effect, or just to give the listener a break to process important information.
Like pacing, vocal tone and inflection refer to ensuring you speak in a natural and pleasant manner. You want to be friendly and engaging, but not so much that you sound fake.
No one wants to sound like a game show host. But, you also want to avoid monotone robot voices which, like pacing that’s too slow, can be boring and off-putting for listeners.
The final element of great voice over work is ensuring that you pronounce each word correctly and that you speak clearly enough to be understood. Avoid mumbling — but don’t shout or over-enunciate, either.
Be mindful of your regional accent (yes, we all have them) and pronunciations as they relate to your audience. While it’s perfectly acceptable to “warsh” your hands in Missouri or have a great “idear” in New England, those pronunciations may confuse people from other locations.