Frequently Asked Questions

What you’ve asked, what we’ve answered

Frequently Asked questions – Voice-Over

WE BELIEVE A CUSTOMER WHO UNDERSTANDS the translation and localization industry can be his or her own best advocate. Knowing what we do and why we do it that way is essential for good collaboration. While there are many things we cannot address sight unseen, this FAQ provides a good overview of basic information. To learn more about what we do, please feel free to contact us. Your inquiries — and questions — are genuinely welcome.


What is the difference between lip-sync dubbing, UN-style VO and off-camera narration?

Lip-sync dubbing is the replacement of an on-screen speaker’s voice with the voice of another actor such that the spoken words are in relative synchronicity with the movements of the on-screen speaker’s mouth.

The goal of lip sync is to make it look like the on-screen speaker is speaking a foreign language.

“UN-style” VO – an informal term of art – implies that one hears both the original speaker at low volume and the narrator reading a translation of what he/she is saying. One often encounters this type of voice-over in documentaries, interviews, and news programming. It’s widely used where and when the intention is to preserve the character of the source language.

“Off-camera narration” is narration in which the narrator doesn’t appear on screen. He or she merely reads/speaks over the image.

What is the difference between straight audio recording and lock-to-picture audio recording?

“Lock-to-picture” means that the recording apparatus is configured such that the audio can be recorded in sync with an existing video program. Typically, this method is required for almost all audio being recorded in the context of multilingual video post-production.

Where is your VO talent based?

While we have a worldwide talent base, the majority of our recording is done right here in our studio in New York City and, so, most of our talent is based in the area.

How do you select VO talent?

All of our talent is carefully vetted by qualified linguists and post-production specialists. They are evaluated for linguistic competence – native-quality language skills are a must – as well as for acting/reading ability, voice quality, experience and professionalism.

Do you charge for auditions and casting?

This is determined on a case-by-case basis. There is no charge to listen to or download demos of our VO talent from our web site.

How do you charge for VO talent?

Typically, by the hour, but sometimes on the basis of a flat rate. We can also screen talent specifically according to your budget. Please contact us for more information.

What is a bilingual production supervisor and why should I consider using one?

A bilingual production supervisor, also known as dialog coach, script supervisor or bilingual session director, ensures that the text as spoken by the voice actor or narrator is free of any and all defects in terms of performance or language.

What is a phone patch?

A phone patch is a telephone connection through which a client or other party can monitor and supervise a recording session.

What types of audio files can you deliver?

Virtually any kind of file commonly employed in the industry, including specialized formats for interactive telephone systems and on-line interactive systems.

How long will it take to record my 30-minute video?

This depends on what services we are to provide. The rule of thumb for straight audio is that recording will take three to five times runtime, depending in part upon whether a complete listen-back is required for QA purposes. But when one records to video, the coefficient goes up steeply depending on the service.

For UN-style voice-over, one should expect the recording to run at least eight to ten times runtime. In the case of lip-sync recording, the factor increases to at least 15 and possibly more, depending on how closely one wants the mouth movements and voice to be synchronized. In all cases, one must take into account the difficulty of the material and the quality of the translation. As to the latter, we will only guarantee our estimated recording and talent time if we are engaged to do the translation.




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