Translation is not only the process of converting written text into a different language. A client may also need audiovisual translation in many mediums, including audio dubbing. Dubbing is the post-production replacement of voices or sounds on a video after the original filming has been completed. It is used by translators to replace the spoken language of a video with a foreign language. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, foreign language dubbing is not the same as voice-over translation. A voice-over translation involves playing both the original language and the translation at the same time; the original language is heard quietly in the background with the translation played over the top. Voice-overs are typically used in documentaries.
Although dubbing is used for films and other large-scale projects, it can also be used on a smaller scale for international marketing or other foreign communication purposes. But why would you choose to essentially recreate a video by dubbing it when you can just add subtitles to the original instead? The biggest reason for that would be because subtitles distract the viewers. They cannot focus on the images in the video because they are reading the subtitles at the bottom of the screen instead. This can be especially problematic in a technical video or a “how-to” kind of video where the images are crucial to the demonstrations. While subtitles are a form of localization, dubbing allows for a more cohesive final product in which viewers can immerse themselves in the content as a whole, rather than dividing their attention.
Dubbing quality can vary depending on your approach. It can range from using a colleague and home computer to utilizing professional-grade voice talent and an equally-qualified recording studio. Not only are there rules specific to the translation aspect of a dubbed video (e.g., the translation should have the same number of syllables as the original, and the language should be clear and concise), the entire process of dubbing a video is highly complex and includes many steps and rules. It is important to understand the entire process of audiovisual translation to create an accurate and effective localized video. Using professional services that fully comprehend the dubbing process and rules can greatly improve the quality of the final product.
If you are interested in having a video dubbed by a professional, like PLG, there are some guidelines to streamline the process:
· Provide the translation vendor with the video transcript, making sure to inform them that the translation is to be used in a dubbed video
· Discuss the target region with your dubbing provider so that they can match up the voice talent that best suits your video
· Provide your vendor with the original video files and a separate music file for any background music
· If possible, have the translation agency work directly with your vendor for the original video. This allows for a clear communication path should any technical issues or questions arise
Precision Language & Graphics, Inc. is an expert in audiovisual translation; you can learn more about one of our recent dubbing projects by checking out this month’s project highlight at http://plgreader.plg-online.com/2011/10/project-highlight-brew-express-dubbing.html.