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Dubbing and Localization
Dubbing and Localization
November 22, 2012

Dubbing and Subtitling: A Quick Guide

Dubbing and Subtitling

Last updated on May 19th, 2023 at 05:23 pm

Depending on your budget, there are several options for translating video files. As with any other translation project, the client must identify the target audience and what they want to achieve with the translation. Once that is established, everyone will have a better understanding of the scope and will be better equipped to determine the best option for their needs.

There are many options to accommodate any video and multimedia project and budget. The key is to know your options and to have a thorough understanding of your project.

Written Translation

Subtitles– the text that appears at the bottom of a video file providing the translation of the audio.

Close Captions– text that appears in a black box as a transcription of the original spoken language. It is usually destined to help the hearing impaired.

Audio Translation

1. Voice Over

a. On camera narration

UN Style– the original language of the speaker can still be heard underneath the voice talent’s translation.

2. Dubbing

a. Lip Sync– the replacement of an original voice on a video in synchronization with the lip movements.

*An alternative to lip synching (when there are budget restraints and you don’t want to use voice over), is to add images related to the narration that could β€œcheat” time making it look like you actually lip synched the narration.

b. Looping– a very expensive type of dubbing. It consists in recording tiny fragments of the speech at a time. A machine then determines the amount of time that takes saying that fragment on the source language and the machine will continue to loop back to the beginning until the voice talent renders the translation in the same amount of time.

c. Lock-to-Picture– the voice talent sits in a recording booth with a headset where he can hear the original audio on one ear and his voice on the other. This allows the voice talent to take visual and audio cues.

d. Time Match– the length of both, the source and target language recording will be identical but, there the lip movements will not necessarily match meaning that, both recordings will be 20 minutes long, for example, but sometimes it would take either the original speaker or the voice talent more or less time to finish a given sentence.

e. Off-camera narration– the replacement of a voice recording for which the speaker is not visible. Such is the case of some National Geographic or Discovery documentaries.

We hope this quick tips will help you better understand the dubbing and subtitling process in the media and video translation business and point you into the right direction when seeking professional services. At JR Language, we always try to inform our clients and provide them with the services they really need to achieve their goals.

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.