Voice-over rates
Thread poster: Noha Kamal, PhD.

Noha Kamal, PhD.  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:02
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Mar 12, 2008

Hi all,

I am asked to give a precise quotation for a voice-over job. Now, I am quite clueless as to what voice-over talents generally charge worldwide per one hour output. Also, how long, in average, does it usually take to complete one output hour?

Best,
Noha


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patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:02
Spanish to English
+ ...
Charge a standard hourly rate... Mar 12, 2008

I only have one voice-over client, local, and I've usually translated the text I record. I charge my standard hourly rate: minimum one hour and no part hours. So if the job takes 40 minutes, I charge 1 hour and if it takes 2 hours and 15 minutes I charge 3 hours.

How long it takes to record an hour of output depends on how good you are. If you get the text to read through beforehand, and/or if your sight-reading skills are good, the recording shouldn't take much longer than the output time (10 minutes output in 11 or 12 minutes recording time). But that might also depend on the editing capabilities of your client.

My client just leaves me to it, now. If I fluff a word, I just start the paragraph again, there's no stopping and restarting the recording, and he syncronizes it to the video later.

HTH


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Noha Kamal, PhD.  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:02
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
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Great, but how much in USD per hour? Mar 12, 2008

This is quite enlightening, Patyjs. I would still need to ask, how much should I charge per hour in USD?

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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:02
English to Slovak
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I would believe taht quiet a lot Mar 12, 2008

Hi,

I don't do voice-over myself, but I do directing (correcting pronunciation, intonation, etc.). The rate is £45/hour and it was suggested by client.


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Noha Kamal, PhD.  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:02
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English to Arabic
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What about the voice-over talent you work with? Mar 12, 2008

Well, Rad, this looks to me like a proofreading job as compared to translation
Any idea what the person who does the actual voice-over charges? I mean, surely they charge more. Or am I mistaken?


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patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:02
Spanish to English
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Well, for what it's worth... Mar 12, 2008

I charge my client US$ 35 per hour, but we're in Mexico remember, and right or wrong, prices are not uniform across geographical locations. He's also a favorite client, so I wouldn't set too much store on my price. I did actually charge him 45 dollars last week for an urgent job where I literally had to drop everything and rush over there. Anyway, you get the idea.

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Noha Kamal, PhD.  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:02
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
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Well then, that's exactly what I should charge Mar 12, 2008

Well, Patyjs. I guess that's exactly what I should charge my client. See, I am in Egypt Anyhow, just to double check here. We are talking about an hour of output, not an hour of your time, right? Listen, thanks a bunch you have been a great help.

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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:02
English to Slovak
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Sure they charge more Mar 12, 2008

Noha Kamal wrote:
Any idea what the person who does the actual voice-over charges? I mean, surely they charge more. Or am I mistaken?


You are right. It is as voice-over "proofreading". They should definitely get more. I can't tell you though how much they are getting as recording is made in London (where I live) and talents usually come from Slovakia where the rates are lower. Probably the same as me living in London which is a lot in Slovakia.


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Noha Kamal, PhD.  Identity Verified
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Thanks a bunch Mar 12, 2008

Grad, you've been a great help. Thanks a million.

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patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:02
Spanish to English
+ ...
Noha, Mar 12, 2008

I charge for MY time. Not for the output time.

Consider this:

a) the time you take to record the material,
b) the length of usable recording (once edited),
c) the length of the finished product.


a) is the only thing you control. Depending on the type of material you may have to speak at the speed of light (if it's a commercial, for example), be matter-of-fact, or dreamy and lyrical. This all comes into your preparation and will determine how long it takes you to record it.

b) The actual output time. This would be like paying the actor according to how many lines he had in the film.

c) A 15 minute recording probably has to be synchronized to a video or presentation (unless it's for radio, of course). The length of the end product may be far longer than the actual recording and is not determined by the quality of your work.

So, charge for YOUR time.

Paty


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Natasha Dupuy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:02
French to English
One more thing Mar 12, 2008

I agree with Paty, but would just like to add that I also charge for the time it takes me to get to the recording studio and back!

All the best,
Natasha


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Noha Kamal, PhD.  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:02
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
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Wish clients are that flexible Mar 12, 2008

Well, the client wanted a per output hour rate. But, what you are saying makes perfect sense to me. So, I guess I will try to talk them into it

Thanks a bunch, guys. You have been of tremendous help, more than you can possibly think.


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a-mac
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:02
English
VOICE-OVER RATES Aug 16, 2008

I'm new to this forum and know that my reply is too late for the original poster. However for anyone coming upon this topic via a search engine, I think what I am saying is worth adding.

A voiceover talent charges per finished audio minute or hour. So if your material is one hour long, the talent records it, but it takes longer than an hour, because it has to be correct, clear, and consistent in speed and in line with the directions of the Client - in fact perfect! So there will need to be retakes. The number of retakes reduces where the talent is very experienced and also if the recording equipment is of a high quality - really good microphone and acoustically 'dead' recording environment, for example.

The next stage depends on the Client's requirements. Nowadays when I do voiceover, the Clients are rarely prepared to do any editing work on the audio files I send them. They want to receive the file all ready for broadcast. So after recording, I must then edit the file to make it 'broadcast ready'.

So what does this involve? Well there are some basic requirements - trimming the file at start and finish, changing the sample and bit rate where required, applying noisegate to remove background noise that is there in any and every recording, getting the final output levels correct, EQ-ing if necessary, and, the one that takes ages, removing all the breath noises - yes we voiceover talents do need to be able to take a breath between phrases, and you'd be surprised at how noisy breaths are! If you listen to pre-recorded voiceover recorded audio that isn't some form of dramatic reading (where breath can give understanding to the emotional context) you don't hear a lot of breath noise. It's all been removed or muted.

The editing can take as long as 3 times the original recording. So if you are translating a long piece of material and using a voiceover talent to record it, and if you want broadcast-ready audio files at the end of it, they will change for each hour of their time, not for each hour of actual recording.

Hope that helps anyone still interested.

Incidentally around £50 an hour is the minimum standard rate per hour for a professional voiceover in the UK now and most will charge more. You may well be quoted $100 min per hour in the USA and Canada, but it can be bought cheaper but that's probably because voiceover can be done remotely, and let's face it, there's a whole lot of those guys competing for work!


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