Voice-over localization: Art needs knowledge

The Art of voice over in localization process

Voice-over is the art of recording voices to present a character, or to convey information to a certain audience, making your material memorable. Due to the big demand on the audiovisual materials around the world, the need arose for recording voices for those materials in different languages, which called Voice-over localization.
Voice-over localization is an essential part of not only nowadays' entertainment market but also in other various fields such as marketing, games, e-learning, etc. It is the best choice for spreading widely in every corner of the world. The localization process of voice-over is a tricky one. It contains multiple processes and a lot of challenges.

Voice-over localization best practices

Every voice-over localization project needs good management due to its multiple steps. Managing this process is painstaking. To get a well-localized audiovisual material, you have to make sure that you hired a professional provider to do the job right. Also, it requires quality project management protocol.
After sending your script and video that needs to be merged and be a final audiovisual product, you have to check the following with your provider:
·         Know your targets: Decide your needs beyond the project first, so you make the next processes easier for you. After that, you have to select your audience's persona.
·         Translation fits the target culture: you need a professional language service provider (LSP) to localize your audio script into their native language in a way that suits your target audience. First, they need to transcript your text and then translate it. After that, you need to test your translated script to make sure it fits the target audience.
·         Pick the right talent: picking your talent is the essential part of the voice-over project.  The voice-over talent must match your project tone. You have to select the gender, age, personality to get the desired tone for your project. 
·         Recording the translated script: your talent should use appropriate professional equipment.  To produce high-quality audio files, avoid background noise, and keep consistency as well. Equipment includes high-quality microphones, Isolation/recording booth, mixer, and stand for the script.
·         Engineering: you need a professional engineering team to merge and sync the audio files with your video. Also, you need recording and editing software with high capabilities.
The above steps will never be achieved without quality project management and interaction in terms of a project plan layout, defined millstones, etc. The most important, you have to revise and check the translated script and every phase of your project localization with your provider, to get a final product fits your target audience which makes you spread globally with your business. 

Types of voice-over localization methods

Voice-over is an inclusive term for recoding a voice and producing a final audio file. It contains a lot of recording methods. All those terms describe complex technical processes. Those terms are:
·         Automated dialogue replacement (ADR): it is a process which you re-record a dialogue in a movie or a certain video. Usually, the original talent is the one who is making it. This process is essential for several reasons. For example, the original sound may not be usable because of the noise of wind or cars in the location of filming, to get a better sound performance.   Sometimes, the film producer decides to change the voice of the actor too.
·         Dubbing: this type is the replacement the voices in a video from a language into another one. These voices may be a dialogue or off-screen narration. In this process, you may face some challenges. The most important challenge is the lip-sync phase.
·         Mixing: the mixing process is to merge every audio file with your video. This process needs a good team of engineers and quality editing software.
When communicating with your provider, you have to be specific with your requests and processes, so you could have your desired quality for the product.

Challenges of voice-over localization

Since voice-over localization has various processes and a lot of steps, it has its challenges too. These challenges differentiate based on the phase. After finishing the translation of the script, you find that the length of the target language expands. Thus, translated scripts should be edited to fit the timing allotted by the source language.
LSP should consider the elements that could constrain the talent during voice recording. It has to rearrange the sentences of the translated script, so it became easier for the talent to focus on his voice to deliver the desired quality within the specific time frame.
As mentioned before, lip-sync is an important challenge in the dubbing process. When removing the original dialogue and replace it with another one in another language, the talent should follow the original actor's actions and movements. The translation is the key here, it the only way that will make that following easier for the talent. Thus, you will need a professional LSP for your script.

Voice-over localization into Arabic

Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages and the official one for 28 countries in the Arabic world with 450 million native speakers. It has specific linguistic features. Thus, it needs a professional LSP that aware of those features when it comes to localization.
In the Arab world, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the standardized Arabic used in writing and formal speech. This type of language could be used in various videos such as e-learning. You could use it in a marketing campaign as well; only if you need to target the entire Middle East, not a specific country.
 For reaching a specific audience in a certain region, you should know that there are regional variants.  Dialects include the Egyptian dialect which is mainly spoken in Egypt by 100 million natives. It is widely spread all over the Arab world, because of the proliferation of the Egyptian media. However, each audience still prefers their own dialect and would love to experience the material in their own tongue.
Moreover, there is a special dialect in the Gulf area. It's spoken in the countries of Arabian Gulf: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, and Qatar, with some differences. It is an important dialect because of the economic significance of the region.
The most important thing is to define whether the content will work with MSA or a specific dialect. Also, you should define your target audience along with your needs from your project. And always remember, a well-localized content is a way to go global with your business.