Multilingual Voice-Over: How To Get It Loudly Right

The way we are consuming information is changing and Multimedia Content isn’t an exception. With the rise of multiple platforms and devices, comes an increase in the so-called second screen1. While we are reading an article on our laptop, we may very well also be playing an instructional video or TV-Show on our tablet. Language Service Providers (LSPs) and Voice-Over Professionals are trying to accommodate this change in consumer behavior, by upping their multilingual Voice-Over game.

Localization has always been about connecting with an international audience in a very real and personal way. And when it comes to Voice-Over, the challenges are quite unique on the technical as well as the linguistic front. With market demands for Voice Over Localization increasing steadily, here is a step by step guide in how the best possible outcome can be achieved from the perspective of the LSP.

In Part 2 (Multilingual Voice-Over: Get In On the Action), we will dig deeper into the requirements and contributions from the client perspective as well as what to expect regarding the Voice-Over Localization costs

Transcription: Putting The Voice On Paper

Prior to the actual translation and localization process, the script must first be transcribed. While you could have your script transcribed before sending it along to your selected vendor, we recommend that you allow the vendor to be part of the process from the start.

Not only can they provide you with professional transcription services, keeping the entire process within the same team can help the process along in terms of time and cost-effectiveness and QA. In order to speed up the process and to also help the voice-over talent, time codes are typically provided in the transcribed document (Transcript).

Voice Over Localization From Translation to Recording

Now that you have provided your vendor with all the necessary information, the Production Process has already gotten off to a great start. Let’s delve deeper into what the translation process includes, and what the actual recording entails.

The Translation Process And Its Unique Challenges

What challenges does the translation process have to offer? Well, we’ll get to that. But the good news is that the most common linguistic roadblocks can be overcome by committing to a rigorous TEP (Translation, Editing, Proofreading) Process. Make sure the vendor you choose to work with makes use of a Translation (CAT) Tool, that leverages a Glossary including brand-specific, technical and product-related terms and a Style Guide with any Brand-Specific Instructions as well as Translation Memory (TM), so any inconsistencies can be weeded out and the process can be automated at least partially.

Pro Tip! Are you sure you understand the difference between Editing and Proofreading? Have a look at our blog detailing the responsibilities of editors and proofreaders, and know exactly which services to request!

What’s unique about video voice-overs, is that the sentence flow is time sensitive. The linguist is challenged with providing a copy that answers to the demands of the video itself and the target language, while still maintaining the original feel and message.

Pro Tip! Are you sure you understand the difference between Editing and Proofreading? Have a look at our blog detailing the responsibilities of editors and proofreaders, and know exactly which services to request!

Multilingual Voice Over Challenges

Some translations, especially when dealing with fiction, TV shows, or specific scenes and storylines in video games, are related to dubbing rather than pure voice-overs. Here, the challenge lies in lip-syncing. In this context, the User Experience (UX) is defined by the voice-over matching the actor’s lip movements as closely as possible. This requires a very specialized service provided by a linguist with years of experience, and the accompanied intuition, to fully master lip-syncing in translation.

This brings us to certain Language specific challenges. For example, in the Arabic language, which is increasingly gaining in online engagement, there is a distinct difference between the spoken language and the written language. Additionally, when translating English into Arabic, the linguist must allow for a text expansion up to 25 percent. Of course, you can see where the difficulties lie here. The talent can never sound rushed and yet, they must adhere to the provided time codes and visual integrity of the video. Qualified translators will allow for breathing time and adapt the voice by either condensing or rearranging the content when possible.

Pro Tip! Interested in learning more about these challenges related to Text Expansion and, most importantly, how you can prepare your content in order to help prevent the most common issues? Check out our blog onSoftware and Game Localization!

Pro Tip! Are you sure you understand the difference between Editing and Proofreading? Have a look at our blog detailing the responsibilities of editors and proofreaders, and know exactly which services to request!

Not sure what you need before you get started
with your voice-over localization services?

This checklist will tell you what to do and what to ask!

How To Minimize The Challenges With Voice Over Talent In Mind

In order to prevent the most common challenges from disrupting the recording process, the pre-production expanded on in Part 2 “ Multilingual Voice-Over: Get In On the Action has weeded out many possible issues. However, the best linguists will commit to keeping some further points in mind.

  • The original video should be reviewed prior to translation so the context is clear and the message can be maintained
  • The punctuation usage should be natural to the target language so that natural speech can be promoted.
  • The sentence structure of the source text should be respected at all times.
  • The translated content should match the length of the source content as much as possible. This way, the video can remain within its original format and the talent wont have to alter their speed in an unnatural way.

Multilingual Voice Over Recording Best Practices

Once the translation has been completed, it is time to call in the talent and hit record. Let’s have a look at how the recording process itself can be made a whole lot easier.

If the best practices from the crucial guidelines provided in part 2 of this blog series have been implemented, the recording itself should run very smoothly. But, just because we like to be thorough, we have our specific recommendation for the recording itself as well:

  • Review the script and make any changes that could benefit the recording process.
  • The original video should be kept on screen as a reference to guarantee image synching with the translated audio.
  • While an Audio Engineer should be present, the Audio Director’s input is also vital so that quality assurance can be maintained.

Post-Production: Voice Over Localization Final Steps And QA

Once the voice-over translation has been recorded, it is passed on to the audio engineers who will apply to making the tracks run smoothly and adapting them to your specific application.

The audio engineer’s expertise includes but is not limited to:

  • Clearing any unfitting background noises including breathing
  • Matching the timing and speed of the source file
  • Unify the talent’s volume and tone
  • Making sure the audio and video are perfectly aligned
  • Noting any differences between the tone of the source and target languages

After the audio engineer has worked his magic, a final QA will be applied before the final product will be delivered back to you. The final QA primarily exists to weed out any possible bugs or mistakes that slipped through the cracks and ensure flawless delivery, but the entire process from Pre-Production to Post-Production should be so streamlined, that any corrections should be minimal.


The perfect Multilingual Voice-Over project is achieved through cooperation and streamlining a bullet-proof process combining both linguistic and technical expertise. At Laoret, we work only with the most experienced, native translators and voice-over talents, familiar with the most innovative tools and equipment on the market. Our 24/7 online availability makes us the best choice for clients looking to meet the high market demand for Multimedia Localization with a top-quality product.

Read Part 2 (Multilingual Voice-Over: Get In On the Action) of our Ultimate Multilingual Voice-Over Guide and discover how you can help achieve the most cost-effective and streamlined Voice-Over Localization Process. Well also give you an overview of the costs tied to each service, and an answer to some of our most frequently asked questions!

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