The Dialog Coach, also known as the Foreign Language Director, Bilingual Monitor or Script Supervisor, is an essential part of a voice-over recording project – if you’re interested in a quality product. They serve multiple functions:
The dialog coach is by definition a native speaker of the language being recorded and is there to make sure that the script is being read without any errors, omissions or additions. The dialog coach will also listen to the talent’s performance very carefully and direct it, coaching the voice-over talent to make sure the overall delivery, tone, prosody, inflection, pronunciation, accent, and sync-to-picture are flawless. As such, the dialog coach performs QA functions and is your insurance policy in the form of a second set of ears and eyes to certify that you’re getting the performance you expect. Because let’s be honest: lots of folks have a blind spot for their own performance and are not necessarily their own best critics. And do you really want some one recording something that you do not understand and no one else telling you its OK?
The dialog coach will also assist with editing or revising the translated text if necessary, for example, if it is running long and needs to be shortened to fit to the video and not sound rushed, or if the translation needs to be adjusted to better align with the picture. The dialog coach will also document all the revisions made during the recording session and produce an “as read script” for your archives.
Lastly, the dialog coach is essential to the recording engineer in terms of navigating the script, helping him find punch-in points, etc. This is critical for languages an engineer cannot read.
Dialog coaches are the quintessential multitaskers: They are listening to both the source English and the foreign language at the same time to make sure the recording is in sync with the spoken source text, all while following the script to make sure it is being read accurately, and keeping an eye on the video to make sure everything aligns the way it should. It is a very demanding and tiring job, but one that always adds value to the final product.
For more information about voice-over recordings, the folks that make them happen, and how it is done, check out our Voice-Over and Audio Recording Best Practices.