Localization Insights
voice localization webinar
Localization Insights

Webinar: Localizing Your Voice-over for a Global Audience

Localizing your brand’s multimedia is the best way to connect authentically with digital global audiences. Find out how to leverage your existing voice and video content with tips from voice localization experts, so you can grow both your reach and audience.

In this webinar, you’ll learn the ins-and-outs of voice localization from senior BLEND team members. From strategy to execution, they discuss everything you need to know about localizing your videos and voice so you can reach a wider audience and make a lasting impact in new markets.

We’ll answer all of your voice-over localization questions: 

  • How do I get started with voice localization? 
  • Why is quality audio difficult to achieve? How can I overcome this?
  • What are future trends for voice localization and multimedia projects? 
  • When is it better to use a natural or synthetic voice? Can they ever be used together? 
  • How can I ensure quality of voice-over projects with remote voice talent?

Voice-Over Localization Explained

If you’re thinking about retooling a piece of audio or video content for a new audience, you’ll need to consider voice-over localization. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever for businesses to target international markets. However, ensuring your message strikes the right notes isn’t always simple. 

Some rely on subtitling for multimedia localization. However, this isn’t always the best approach. There are limitations when it comes to screen space and the reading speed of the viewer. Furthermore, implementing subtitles can detract from your original message. 

To ensure the best possible experience for your audience, you’ll need to think beyond a simple translation. A localized voice-over ensures you can deliver a rich and immersive experience. 

Are Voice-Over Localization and Translation the Same Thing?

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that localization and translation are the same thing. While there’s certainly some overlap, localization is a far more involved process that ensures content is properly adapted for the global market and new audiences. 

Localization services take into account things like specific language conventions and cultural requirements. In the case of many languages, a direct translation isn’t always readily available. The occasional poor-quality translation isn’t a major issue for a dubbed movie or television show. However, the same can’t be said about marketing messages or involved content like product demonstrations and learning localization. 

Unlike a standard translation, localized voice-overs take into account things like language conventions and cultural requirements. Nothing gets lost in translation. 

Interested in learning more about translation technology, professional translation services, and website translation services? Check out our other pages to find out more.

The Importance of Voice-Overs?

If you’re serious about providing your audience with richer content, voice-overs are essential. Subtitles can be useful, but they only provide a superficial level of information. Furthermore, they’re not very effective when it comes to conveying tone of voice. 

To create an audiovisual experience that engages your audience, you’ll need to produce localized voice-overs. This audio enhances the rest of your content, helping you convey your message more directly. 

Voice-overs with high production values are enriching, upping the storytelling credentials of your content. This is vital for making a connection, establishing trust, and instilling brand values. If you want to build and maintain credibility, localizing voice-overs is the only way forward. 

Types of Voice-Over Solutions

Ready to leverage the power of voice-over services? You have a few different options available, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The good news is that you can localize all of them. 

Option 1: Off-Screen Voice-Overs

If you’re an avid watcher of documentaries, you’ll have encountered off-screen voice-overs before. They’re also commonplace on streaming platforms like YouTube, with DIY content creators regularly employing them. 

This is one of the easiest voiceover services to implement. In most cases, there will rarely be a speaker on screen. This makes introducing a newly recorded audio track in an additional language straightforward. 

If you have your sights on multiple foreign markets, an off-screen voice-over is a practical solution. However, you’ll need to invest in localization services when adapting your original script. 

Option 2: Dubbing

Dubbing is an effective method for adapting audio for new audiences. In the case of lip-synch dubbing, the voice talent will study lip movements and timing. The goal here is to produce a seamless experience for the viewer. It needs to seem as though the original video and newly-recorded voice-over were recorded together. 

Most of the time, this involves making minor adjustments to the script. If there are sufficient adjustments to the script, further changes will sometimes need to be made to the soundtrack. However, adjusting sound effects and original music can be time-consuming and expensive. As such, lip-syncing isn’t always the most practical or cost-effective approach. 

Option 3: UN-Style

This style of voice-over is typically used by news media outlets. It’s also commonplace in interviews. With a UN-style voice-over, the original audio is preserved, although it’s played at a lower volume. A translated track is then played over the top of the original one. 

Why are UN-style voice-overs used? Preserving the original audio brings added context. If a high-profile subject is being interviewed, maintaining the original audio gives a video added value. 

Generally speaking, UN-style voice-overs are easy to execute. Occasionally, some edits will need to be made to the video to improve the viewing experience. If it’s impossible to line up the original speaker’s voice with translated content, cutting to a reaction shot from the interview can be useful. 

Getting Your Voice-Over Strategy Right

Localizing voice-overs for a global audience takes work. You’ll first need to determine your tone of voice for each market. Formality tends to sell well across the board. If you’re translating something like a privacy overview, a more formal tone can be adopted in just about any language. However, you may need to tailor more persuasive messaging when targeting specific markets. 

Next, you’ll need to think carefully when choosing the right talent to record your voice-overs. There’s no point in spending time and money on localizing a script, only for the wrong voice talent to derail your audio. 

For best rest results, you’ll want to use an experienced localization partner that can provide you with a full-service solution. This includes adapting original scripts with the input of native-speaking translators and selecting the best possible voice talent candidates. This is even more important if you’re planning on expanding into multiple territories at once. 

Synchronizing video content with localized audio can be tricky. Although the editing process can work wonders, you’ll still want to give script editors some leeway when it comes to making adjustments. Minor changes can improve flow, without taking away from your original message.  Furthermore, some changes will be necessary to ensure your content adheres to local laws and cultural requirements. 

Most businesses will want to preserve some of their branding in its original language. This includes things like brand names, product titles, and acronyms. To ensure non-native speakers are pronouncing these correctly, it’s important to prepare a pronunciation guide to steer localization efforts. 

Finally, never underestimate the importance of quality assurance. When localizing voice-over content, QA should be applied at every step. Source material needs to be assessed for clarity and tone before being passed onto localization teams. Once your voice-over project is complete, it will need to be submitted for approval before it’s market-ready. 

Get Help with Your Voice-Over Localization

Looking to create content that hits the right notes with new audiences? At BLEND, we can help you connect with global audiences and build local credibility. We work with more than a thousand actors with experience on the stage, screen, and in broadcast media. Explore our voice catalog today to find the perfect voice talent for your project. Looking for other localization support or translation services, such as software localization services or data enrichment services? Get in touch today to see how our localization services can help you go global.

author post

Matt Strach

As BLEND’s Enterprise Marketing Lead, Matt brings 13 years in the audio and video production industries to help businesses execute successful voice and video localization campaigns.


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