Localizing & Translating Voice-overs: Improve Your Viewer’s Experience

Thanks to the internet and technology, we have access to TV shows, movies, and other media from countries around the world.

This access makes it easy for your business to communicate with customers and clients no matter where they live.

The only problem is, how can your audience understand you if you don’t speak the same language?

Well… you could use subtitling. However, subtitling has its limitations such as screen space and reading speed which can detract from your true message and what’s happening on-screen.

Instead, leverage voice-over localization and translation to give your audience an authentic viewing experience.

Want to know how?

What is Voice-Over Translation?

Voice-over translation involves a translation of the original script followed by a voice artist’s recording in the new language. To give your viewers the best experience, the translation process should also involve localization.

Localization ensures that the original message stays intact since languages ​​don’t always translate well.

Your localizer will take into account things like:

  • Specific language conventions
  • Cultural and religious views
  • Local laws

Analyzing and modifying these factors ensures that your content meets your audiences’ expectations.

Why are Voice-Overs Important?

Voice-overs provide depth and more intricate information than subtitling can. By having a native speaker of the local language record your script you’ll be able to give your audience a complete audiovisual experience.

You can use voice-overs in a range of media such as:

  • Documentaries
  • news announcements
  • Movies
  • TV shows
  • Social media clips (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube)
  • Cartoons

Often, people complain that subtitling doesn’t convey an accurate message. Instead of disappointing your viewers, localized voice-overs will do your script justice.

Voice-Over Options

Alright, it’s time for the part you’ve been waiting for so pay attention.

There are two main options when it comes to media voice-overs, off-screen and UN-style. Each of these options have their own pros and cons so let’s dive into them

Off-Screen Voice-Overs

Off-screen voice-overs are perfect for cartoons, illustrations, or documentaries. Think David Attenborough-Esque nature documents, self-help illustrations on YouTube, or Mickey Mouse.

Since this voice-over method rarely involves people speaking on screen it’s much easier to line up the speech with the video.

The most important part of off-screen voice-overs is ensuring that your script is accurate and your voice talent is a native speaker.

UN-Style Voice-Overs

UN-style voice-overs are typically used for interviews, news reports, and formal media. This voice-over is perfect for preserving the original speaker’s voice while giving international viewers the correct information.

UN-style involves lowering the volume of the original speaker while overlaying a voice-over artist on top. To ensure a smooth view experience, you’ll need to line up your artist’s voice with the original speaker’s.

Other Options for Localizing Your Audio

While these technically aren’t voice-overs they are great options for localizing your audio. And sometimes these options are actually better depending on the type of media you want to share with your audience.

Voice Replacement

Have you ever watched an old movie that was originally made in another language? You know the kind where the speaker’s mouth moves too fast or too slow for the sound coming from your TV?

Well, that’s an example of a voice replacement.

With voice replacement, you mute the original voices and then overlay your desired audio. While the best voice replacements almost sync perfectly with the on-screen characters, it’s often difficult to get an exact match.


Want to give your audience a first-rate viewing experience? Then dubbing should be your answer.

Dubbing involves studying the original speaker’s lip movement while analyzing the localized script. This process involves tweaking the script so that it seems like there have been no audio changes at all.

Besides editing the script, a sound engineer will also have to painstakingly blend the new voice audio with the original music and effects.

However, since dubbing requires extensive effort (and cost), it’s usually reserved for movies and TV shows.

Make Sure You Use the Right Voice-Over Strategy for Your Media

To use the right voice-over strategy for your project, ensure you consult voice-over localization professionals. At Day Translations we’ve worked with media giants like Netflix, TED, and HBO.

Find out why they trust us with their localization by giving us a call today on 1-800-969-6853.

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