Each dubbing project needs to address the specific requirements of the client with the final medium, end-user and product platform in mind. We recognize that there’s a big difference between needing voice over recorded in a foreign language for a documentary, or a lip-synched Satellite TV Show, or creating audio for a voice-over for an IVR (interactive voice recognition) system or the web or YouTube. Oftentimes clients must decide if they need subtitle or dub a production; the suitable choice may depend on the targeted audience and region. A Japanese audience may expect and enjoy listening to a voice talent whereas other regions may be more comfortable reading captions on the screen.
An experienced team like VEQTA offer complete localized go-to-market solutions with multiple options for dubbing with native speaking voice talents in a state-of-the-art studio with professional sound engineering, language monitors and sound directors to ensure the professional-grade quality that your project requires. A dubbing can be for a Malay voiceover or any Asian or major commercial language or just English voiceover dialogue British, American, Malay or Singaporean accent.
Part of the process entails offering clients or casting directors, to search and select from our collection of audio samples available in our database of languages. The selection may be based on the preference of demographics, gender and style-specific voices to ensure we appoint the best overall voice-over talents that meet your selection-criteria and multilingual requirements. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can leave the choice to our trusted experienced Studio Managers for a professional result; with many experienced audio technicians working for us, we have an eye (and an ear) for what each recording project requires.
We provide professional dubbing services and we are proficient in many different types of studio-recordings, voices mixing overlay, United Nations type of overlay, lip syncing, and off-screen voice-over or dialogue replacement, giving our clients a wide variety of options for their audio content translation project.
A successful and high standard dubbing voiceover will only ever be as good as the script available to record. It’s crucial the script, or the translation of the script is created for audio and narratives that will be read out loud. The translated version in the target language may be shorter or longer than the original source which means it takes longer or shorter time to articulate the same thought in the target language. This process needs to be managed carefully especially for shorter or timed productions such as broadcasting. Translators may need to work with a stop-clock to get the timing right and keep this in mind while conveying the meaning and selecting appropriate words in the translation process.
A script provided for voice dubbing purposes main contain words that have alternative ways of pronunciation. Example; ‘2017’ could be read out loud as ‘twenty seventeen’ or ‘two thousand and seventeen’. Acronyms, names, numbers, dates, measurements, types of units and foreign words may have different ways to be read, accented and pronounced, which may be equally correct and accepted. Such terms should be identified and listed in a document referred to as a pronunciation guide which should be checked and approved by the end-client. The guide documents any input, feedback or preference provided by the client. It important to have common understanding prior to booking the Studio session as unnecessary re-recording may cause delay or incur additional unnecessary expenses that could have been avoided. Websites such as ‘how do you say it’ and online pronunciation dictionaries can provide guidance with phonetic audio-recoded pronunciation to provide guidance.
Studio dubbing process
Cold voice recording
Untimed or ‘cold recording’ refers to dubbing recorded at a natural pace of narration without time constraints or synchronization. Such audio files are suitable for PowerPoint presentations, Camtasia, audio snippets for games, e-learning audio books, instructional demonstrations, voiceover commands such as Interactive Voice recognition (IVR) systems with voiceover commands, in-flight systems presentations , eLearning, online platforms, or phone menus or car entertainment menu systems , the web, or any interactive multimedia with navigation play buttons.
Timed or ‘warm’ recording is synchronized to adapt to changes of scene e.g. synched to a video track or animated video production. The audio narration matches the plot unfolding or onscreen text (OST). The voice talent would view the video a monitor, or be provided live video direction, or listen to the original soundtrack via a sound reinforcement system during the voice-over narration. Any video with changing scenes can be considered a warm recording e.g. a safety instruction video with a change of events on the screen or a ‘talking head’ video which still needs to have its audio synced with the video to make sense.
Lip synchronization (lip-synch) or hot recording refers to when voice actor matches and moves the lips in synch with a soundtrack and the on-screen characters.Professional lip synching is often part of film and music track and audio-visual recordings though also used in some corporate or broadcasting productions. The process in such settings can become very complex with use of translators counting a number of vowels and use slow-motion effects in more elaborate post-production techniques to achieve the desired polished result.
Gaming localization often makes use of lip-synching sound files to give the impression of speech for the on-screen characters of the game. Oftentimes voice modulation is made to create characters by skilled voiceover artists. A talented voice over artist can usually modulate 3 to 5 voices but individual abilities may vary. Recording for MMO Games / MMOG (A massively multiplayer online game) or massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is a skill that requires enthusiastic gaming fanatics with a natural talent for bringing the enthusiastic spirit and mood of the game to life by awesome voice acting and action! Larger productions can also have an additional Studio Director present to manage the session and give pointers to the actors in addition to the language monitor.
The preproduction phase involves planning the Studio recording in advance; setting up the control board and sound system, software, the dubbing timeline, microphone selection, dialog and character studio planning , collating reference materials and making scripts available in advance to voice talents, appointing language monitors and sound/studio directors who are partaking in the session.
The voice talent, ‘VTs’ or ‘Voice-talents’ ‘voice actors’, who has been selected for the dubbing assignment for Malay voiceover, or any other language, will be contacted well in advance and briefed on the recording requirements. We work with expatriates who are based in Asia and come from all walks of life. The demographics of the voice-actors are varied but they all have in common that they have native language proficiency and speak the language as their mother tongue. We have a database of voice actors which we will help you select from. Our archive of demo reels contains audio snippets recorded as a sample to evaluate his/her voice, tone, style and accent.
For help with planning for larger complex potential upcoming projects, we are able to tailor samples based on a sample script. The sample would be a ‘laptops recording’ which is a test for purpose of listening to the talent’s voice reading a specific passage from the actual script before proceeding with the project and part of a selection process of matching different voice talents to different characters in the script. The dubbing apparatus for creating such quick samples may be a laptop, handheld devices such as iPhone or other smartphones and the audio quality is low. The purpose of the sample produced is for evaluating accents and voices only prior to the Studio recording and is not meant to be used in the final production.
During the recording session a language monitor will be present. This is a title of a person who listens and checks the linguistic aspect of the speech during the dubbing session to ensure the way and manner in which the voice talent pronounces words is commonly accepted and typical for that language locale. Any deviations or non-observance of the pronunciation guide is noted and the voice-talent is immediately requested to correct the mistake and re-read the phrase or sentence. As many re-takes as necessary is carried out in order to achieve a perfect pronunciation.
The audio engineers are carefully listening to the recording and monitor the audio signal on a monitor. The voice soundtrack is recorded as uncompressed raw audio. They are able to deliver and save in most common commercial file formats such as.WAV or MP3.
- MP3, MPEG-1, Layer 3 is a format which compresses the audio file data to around 1/12 of the original size and is therefore suitable for use online due to relatively short upload/download times. Compression at 128 kbps at a 44.1 K sampling rate is known as being of CD quality.
- WAV format (Waveform Audio Format) is a standard raw uncompressed audio format for Windows which has a widespread use. FLAC and Apple lossless offer lossless audio formats which is a popular format also. If you have no idea of file formats, we will advise on appropriate options depending on the platform the audio will be used.
The audio team checks the completed recording and cleans the audio soundtrack, file-splitting takes place according to naming conventions, checks on pitch levels to avoid capped peaks, crackles, background noises, lisps the microphone picked up, pops, hizzes, noises, buzzes or edgy tones are all corrected as needed.
If a so-called United Nations-style recording has been made, the original soundtrack overlay is checked via the mixing console. A U.N style dubbing refers to when the original sound has been kept faint in the background as a backdrop with the new audio as an overlay on top. If any sound FX has been asked by the client the team can do it such as faders or more advanced sound effects, but in our experience we usually keep any effects at an absolute bare minimum and is mostly not used at all.
LQA Linguistic Quality Assurance
After the completed recording a linguistic quality evaluation is performed by a native linguist as a final quality assurance (QA) control measure. This is a final check that ensures the spoken audio is read at normal voice and pace, or modulated as specified, and is free of linguistic slip-ups or misreading. The linguist listens to the audio again and if any errors are heard, this is communicated back to the voice talent who will be booked in to re-record this section in the Studio for a high-quality service from beginning to end and a satisfactory professional go-to-market solution.