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  • Writer's pictureGokhan Ercis

Why is script timing important for voiceover localization projects?

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

It's not always easy to add dubbing in a different language to a video in an original language. Although some languages are similar to each other in terms of lip syncing, some languages need to do something extra for dubbing. For example; If we don't consider the exceptions when dubbing an English video into French or Turkish, the timings will often be similar. Especially if a dubbing translation is made instead of a normal translation, it can be successful every second. For example, when creating a Russian dubbing of an English content, if we do not have a chance to discard the content that may be unnecessary from the text (a contract, declaration, etc. whose words or phrases cannot be changed), and if this is an animation video or a graphical video with only a voice-over, we can add additional frames and scenes to the video. If it only consists of lip sync images, we can ask the voice actor/actress to speed up as much as possible. But this should be the last resort as it will affect the natural performance of the artist.

In this article, I tell you; I am presenting information on the comparison of the durations resulting from the vocalization of the same text in different languages. In this type of localization work, if you do not have alternative methods, you will be able to decide more easily on a project basis whether dubbing translation is required, other than normal translation.

As a reference; I take the poem 'Do not go gentle into that good night' by Dylan Thomas. The English voice-over of this poem takes approximately 1 minute. You can think of it as plus or minus a few seconds. Voiceover of a text with 1 minute of English voiceover with a normal translation in other languages will give approximately the following results.

Norwegian: 1:05 French: 1:10 Turkish: 1:10 Dutch: 1:10 Hindi: 1:15 Chinese: 1:15 Russian: 1:20 Spanish: 1:20 Hindi: 1:20 Japanese: 1:25 Italian: 1:25 German: 1:30 Portuguese: 1:30 Arabic: 1:35

Voice actors can often reduce text time by up to 25%, as they push their performance the most. For example; Regardless of the language, the artist will be able to take a text that takes 2 minutes to voice to 1 minute and 30 seconds at the most. Moreover, it will greatly reduce its performance. Therefore, if you have a performance concern about your pr

oject, you can request your voice actor to reduce the vocalization time by a maximum of 10-15%. So, the same 2 minutes of text; I recommend pulling it up to 1:45 max. That you never reduce, of course, the most requested :)

Advertising voiceovers are the place where voice actors have the most difficulty in minimizing the time, as each additional second will bring additional cost to the brand.

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