How to Find the Right Voice Talent for Foreign Dubbing Projects

If you’ve ever made a film, audio recording, podcast or TV show, you know that the casting is crucial. It makes the difference between a believable performance — that is, one so invisible that you don’t see the puppet strings — and one so wooden you can’t fall into the story or message. And if that sub-par performance made your product fall flat, it caused you everlasting regret for not auditioning more talent.

It’s hard enough to get casting right when you speak the same language as the actors you have chosen.. So how can you be expected to judge how good an actor is in another language?

That’s the reason many directors and post-production staff dread the process of seeing their films dubbed or podcasts translated into other languages. They are afraid a good performance will be marred by a foreign actor who doesn’t duplicate the emotion of the actor onscreen, or a bad performance might be made even worse by an actor who makes the same mistakes as the dialogue being dubbed.

What Goes into Finding a Dubbing and Voice-Over Team You Can Trust

Many directors don’t realize that dubbing is its own cottage industry, one that attracts an extraordinarily talented group of actors. The best ones work a lot, and they invariably choose the post-production houses in which their particular skills are recognized and appreciated. There is tremendous art, technique, and patience required in dubbing and voice-over – it requires timing and chemistry, long hours spent with people who need to enjoy working together. Your best bet in getting the finest actors to dub or provide voice-over for your film or audio recording is to make sure the producer you hire to oversee the process acts much like a director. Managing the logistics is only half of the job; making sure the actors deliver the best rendition of your work is the other.

Don’t be afraid to ask to see samples of films or recordings they have dubbed or translated before. Even if you don’t speak the language, you can tell immediately whether the dubbing or voice-over feels organic and natural. You will also see whether care has been taken to match the lip movements of the original. This is really a science. It requires incredible patience and attention to detail, but when done right, some viewers may wonder whether the film or recording is dubbed or translated at all.

Don’t Leave Localization for the Last Minute!

The best thing you can do to make your film or audio transition foreign-language friendly: budget in post-production costs at the beginning of your project. Don’t tack on dubbing, voice-over or subtitling as a last-minute expense with an incredibly tight turnaround. (“I need this for a film festival on Friday!”) The best translators are in high demand and not always available right away. The only guarantee that no short-cuts cause settling for less is to start working with a localization service by the time you have your shooting script. That means preliminary translations can be finished well in advance, with time to adapt the dialogue to what is actually filmed. Having a translated script can also be extremely helpful if foreign producers are being sought for completion or distribution of your movie. And, it should be said, if you’re already looking for funding for your next project.

For more information about dubbing, voice-over and other media localization services, contact the team at CMI today. CMI has over a half century of experience offering foreign dubbing, subtitles, closed captioning, voice-over and more for everything from corporate content to Hollywood blockbusters.

Get in touch today.

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