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Dubbing in Video Translation: Defining It and How It Works for You

video translation and dubbing

Last updated on June 6th, 2023 at 10:33 am

video translation services dubbingVideo Translation Services and Dubbing

Video Translation is a great addition to your marketing and training strategy that allows you to adapt existing content for an audience that speaks a different language. Without developing new content, you can have content ready for international audiences.

It is always wise to start your video translation project with one language if you are just getting started, so your team has enough room to learn about best practices and workflow, and how to effectively solve any hurdle that you might find before you embark on a more complex multilingual project.

The video translation process includes the following tasks: analysis of the video to plan the necessary steps, transcription of the audio, translation of the script created from the transcription, creation of subtitle files from the translation and/or creating the audio files in the new language for the video. The last step is to assemble the final video in accordance with specifications. The processes are sequential and must be orchestrated well to ensure the new video (in the new language) matches the timing of the original video.

The process of adding new voices in other languages is called dubbing, though it is also known as voice over or replacement of the audio.

What is Dubbing?

Let’s define dubbing in the context of video or filmmaking.

Dubbing or re-recording is a process in video production and filmmaking in which additional or improved recording is added to the original production.

Dubbing is done to either improve the sound in the original language of the video or is used in video translation to replace the original audio for the audio in a different language. In this post we are going to refer to this as the process of dubbing in a new language, and that process starts with the translation of the script followed by the recreation of the voice by a voice over talent. Usually the new voices replace the original soundtrack, but there are cases in which the original is kept in the background.

Replacing the original audio with a new language audio file is now a days an important and common activity of the translation industry, and we want to put a spotlight on how it works and how you can use it as part of your international marketing strategy when creating videos for International usage.

Dubbing Today

Today, we anticipate new trends in dubbing technology like advances in voice-recognition software and new software that enables edition and production of video translation.

Videos are being dubbed into larger numbers of languages as media globalization progresses, and as voice-over translation and multimedia or audiovisual translation has come to be a commonly requested activity in marketing. With the increasing popularity of videos, and its constant use in social media, the audio translations of the videos need to be accurate, properly localized, and grab the attention of the intended audience.  With the demand growing and turnaround times shrinking; now is the time to lock in a relationship with a professional translation company for access to prime dubbing and voice-over talent for your company’s multilingual content.


Dubbing Versus Voice-Over in production of your translated video

Dubbing and voice-over are easily confused, but there are some notable differences.  Voice-over does not include efforts to lip-sync or closely imitate the original speaker’s cadence or diction.  Voice-over is not meant to be a perfect replica and is more functional than elegant.

UN-style voice-over involves overlaying the original audio with a track recorded from a live interpretation in a lower volume, hence its association with political events.  Voice-over sees much of its use in journalism and advertising, being suited well to brief portions of audio or video.

Planning for the translation of videos? Assess your needs carefully.

When beginning the process of planning a video translation, it is important that the client and the translation company are on the same page about the client’s needs.  There must be a clear understanding and agreement on what the client trying to achieve and the budget for the production. To achieve this understanding, the translation company should ask the right set of questions during needs assessment.  Specific information must be addressed including the length of video, type of voice talent needed.

Examples of questions:

If the video has a person speaking in front of the camera, are you looking for lip-syncing?

Do you want to replace the voice completely or do you want to leave the original voice in the background?

Does the length of your audio need to stay at the same original length or is there flexibility to change the duration if needed?

Do you have more footage in case we need to modify the video for length?

If the video has titles and on-screen text, Do you need the on-screen text translated?

What are the requirements for your subtitles? File type, color of background etc.

If there is music in the background, do you want to use the same music, use new music, or eliminate it?

What are your requirements for the voices needed?  For example: Certifications, quality of the voices, genders.

What are the specifications for the final video file?

These are some of the questions concerning the different steps and processes needed to translate a video. It is important to have a budget in mind so you can communicate it to the Translation agency, if there are budget constraints the Translation Agency will find ways and make suggestions that could help save you money on the project.


Where is Dubbing Used?

Dubbing is beneficial for audiences who need to hear the audio but do not speak the language the original audio is in.  It is more expensive to replace the voice of the original video than it is to provide subtitles, but having new audio in the language of the audience will improve the communication process more effectively.

Where do you see multilingual dubbing usedHere are some industries that rely on dubbing for their audio translation and replacement needs:

  • News broadcasts. Dubbing and voice-over translations are crucial for conveying news to the international community.  For instance, a multilingual severe weather warning can save lives and property.  Dubbing and voice-over translations convey the results of an international political summit to the world.
  • Video games. Every inch and pixel of screen space is valuable in video games, and dubbing comes in handy when characters and icons need to be clearly seen on screen.  Video gaming has been an international pastime since its inception, so translating audio content is a must.
  • Announcements and broadcasts: Emergency notifications need to be dubbed so listeners can understand critical information. At a concert or other entertainment venue, dubbing can help audiences follow the program or heed safety precautions.
  • Movies and television. The globalization of entertainment media and rise of smart TVs leads to more of a need for dubbing and audio translation.  Netflix is a streaming platform that uses dubbing extremely effectively.
  • Cartoons! This is a place where dubbing really shines.  Matching mouth movements isn’t as glaring of an issue as it is with material featuring live actors.  A voice actor can express their individual talent, further localizing the video to its target language and culture.
  • Voice-over is commonly used in TV advertising, as it’s useful for demonstrations and cases where there are no speaking roles.  Dubbing or voice-over is used in video advertising, whether it is social media, you tube, or on an interactive digital ad.
  • Training videos. Whether for students or professionals, instructional content must be treated with special care when dubbed for safety and accuracy.  A professional translation agency skilled in dubbing and audio replacement is needed to make sure that important information is not wrong or lost.  This is an area that has seen an explosion in the production of videos and video translation due to new software that facilitates the production of video in a cost effective manner.

How Do You Dub a Video?

Dubs are generally produced in a recording studio after the original video is shot.  This may involve the original actors re-recording their lines, multilingual voice actors recording a translated version of the dialogue, or both.  Let’s look at some steps in the process of dubbing a video.

  • First, the original video is filmed or produced with the actors speaking their lines in the source language.
  • A translated version of the script is created, with consideration given to inflection, accompanying sounds, and anything else the actors and producers need to account for. If characters are having a conversation in a busy restaurant, the background sounds in the dubbed version should be that of voices, silverware, and footsteps, not a quiet studio.
  • The script is edited for timing and accuracy of translation in order to match what is happening in the video.
  • The second set of voice actors record the audio in the target language, working to maintain the tone of the scenes, match speaking cadence, and give a clear, expressive vocal performance. If there is music and background noise that needs to be edited and produced accordingly or eliminated as agreed.
  • The audio is added to the video. The engineer will replace the original dialogue completely in the dubbed version, while the original audio is still audible at a low volume underneath the dubbed audio.
  • Files are produced according to specifications.

How to produce multilingual dubs

What Can Dubbing Do for You within multilingual audiences?

When done by translation professionals skilled in dubbing and audio replacement, dubbing is a powerful tool to help you reach a wider audience at an international level.

A professional translation agency can help you decide if dubbing is right for your video and suggest options and elements that will produce the best results.  The right agency has professional translators that understand the process needed for translating a script with time constraints, has voice talents with native fluency in several languages, and personnel to assemble your translated video.

In marketing and Training, good Videos show new audiences that your company is interested in communicating with them.

Let’s Make a Video!

What’s next?  What should you have in place before having your video professionally dubbed?  How can you help the translation services agency help you?  We have some advice for making your video translation and dubbing project flow smoothly.

  • If you know your video needs to be localized at the start of video production, ask the translation company for best practices so you can have that in mind throughout the production process
  • Keep the script updated and save all the source files.
  • If you know your video will be dubbed, write and produce a video toward translation by avoiding vague language and local idioms. Also do not edit the transitions in the video tight, leave time for transition and expansion in the audios of the other languages.
  • Plan early for the time needed to produce a quality dub, (it takes time to book the voice talents) and consider what your budget can accommodate.
  • Ask the video translation company what they require and provide ample material in suitable file types. This includes the original video, any separate audio files, and the video script.

We are always excited to help our clients make their visions reality.  Video translation and dubbing, allows you to literally speak to your clients’ needs, and show them that they can express their thoughts back to you and be heard.  Word of mouth and visibility have been two of the most powerful marketing tools throughout the history of mankind, and these are both features of video translation and dubbing.

Together, we can help you send your message to the world!

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.