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Dubbing video clips
Thread poster: Libero_Lang_Lab

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:18
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Dec 20, 2007

Further to my previous thread here, I'd like to pose a different question to seasoned dubbing/subtitling specialists.

In addition to all the regular translation work (and content writing) for a sports website that I'm helping to coordinate, we're being asked about providing dubbing or subtitling for video clips. There is an archive of videos, each between, I would guess, 1 and 5 minutes long.

I think subtitling will be too convoluted. I am wondering if we can ask some of our translator team to record audio files of translated trancripts, which are already prepared.

Speaking to a pal who works in website production on the technical side, he seems to think that laying an audio file over the video clips will not be too difficult. I realise the end results will probably not be super slick in terms of synching, but that is not such a huge problem. But am I ignoring any huge pitfalls?

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has experience in this field. Indeed, it may be that I can outsource to fellow ProZians with the right experience.

Hope to hear from you.

Dan


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:18
French to Spanish
+ ...
Well... Dec 20, 2007

...you want to dub?

1.- that's 3, 4 times more expensive than subtitling.
2.- you need a professional studio.
3.- you need professional translators (ask José, from Brasil). Translation for dubbing is quite complicated (lip synch and all that).
4.- you need professional dubbing actors.
5.- you need some kind of coordinator (we call it "Art Director") between actors and studio engineers who puts everything together: video and audio.

You say:

"Speaking to a pal who works in website production on the technical side, he seems to think that laying an audio file over the video clips will not be too difficult."

No good. You can't do the voice recording alone and then try to match it with the video: that will never work. The dubbing actors MUST be in the studio, with their translation in front of them, and looking very carefully at the video and match their voices with actors's.
Hum... not easy at all, even for experienced people.
That's why you need a professional studio and all the rest.

Best of lucks.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:18
English to Portuguese
+ ...
There's more to it Dec 20, 2007

Juan Jacob wrote:
The dubbing actors MUST be in the studio, with their translation in front of them, and looking very carefully at the video and match their voices with actors's.
Hum... not easy at all, even for experienced people.


A good explanation, Juan.


IMHO the worst part of the dubber's job is:

Having one eye on the screen above to do the lip-sync, and the other eye on the script below, to read what to sync. But I haven't met a cross-eyed dubber yet.

Were that not enough, they wear an earphone. One channel has the original soundtrack (often in a language they don't understand) for them to get the expression from; the other is the dubbing director and equipment operator's intercom.

All this is done in a dimly lit (so they can really watch the screen; a 40W bulb illuminates the script), soundproof, unventilated (the microphone would pick up the noise from a fan) airtight studio,

In Brazil, a professional dubber must be licensed as an actor. This takes at least a 3-year course.


I'll tell you what happened to me once. A client of mine - a video producing / dubbing / subtitling studio - had to dub a short company video... in English! (I'm in Brazil, the local language is Portuguese.) So they invited me, on top of translating it (no problem!), to direct the whole job. As it was not intended for Brazil, no licensed pros would be required (nor available!).

I searched the local voice databases on the web, and only found thundering narrator voices. We needed just one of these, so I hired a Canadian friend who does it often for ESL courses. But yet we needed two John Does, with average-guy-on-the-street-voices. I found only two (plenty of women, though) who had almost acceptable pronunciation in English - notchee dzee teepeecowl Brezilian accentchee. So I coached one to overcome his pronunciation flaws. The other spoke English better, but with British pronunciation, so it took me a little more effort to coach him into American. They did a great job in sync-ing, for first-timers, though they were experienced in recording scripts for e.g. PowerPoint presentations in English.

But there was one more role... a one-liner! I didn't have the guts to make anyone leave home for the studio to utter only a few words, so I did it myself. All I had to say was something like: "Good! I'm gonna try it too!". For the record, I used my seventh attempt, because the eighth showed I was getting worse every time I tried.


The amazing thing about dubbers is that the really good ones - I haven't met any others yet, as my translation rates are expensive enough not to waste on them - are ALWAYS in a good mood. They are always highly motivated and unusually pleasant to chat with.

One of them was telling an amusing joke, when her turn came. She went into the studio, did a superb job of dubbing a young girl in her twenties sobbingly speak-writing a letter to her sister about having just found out she had only some weeks to live due to a terminal disease, that she had never had a relationship with a man, etc. etc. Then she came out and finished the joke. After that, she left hurriedly for the radio station, where she has her own show.

All dubbing directors so far confirmed this permanent good mood of the GOOD dubbers. They say the bad ones always seem to be on the verge of burnout.


It's fun, but it's not easy!


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:18
French to Spanish
+ ...
And what about... Dec 20, 2007

"...Having one eye on the screen above to do the lip-sync, and the other eye on the script below, to read what to sync. "

...AND another eye on the Time Code Recorder running madly!

And NO tongue mess, NO coughing, NO banging the mic, DO NOT move too much because the noise of your clothes, NO noise turning your pages, NO flu today and "Repeat please, not good!" All that for one sentence, often 3 words!

I was called yesterday for a voice-over recording (much easier than dubbing) in French: Bang, as always! Horrible translation!

I just said:

-I won't do that, please excuse me! See 'ya later.

The client:

-WHAT!?!? A good friend of mine done it, he's assisted 3 semestres at the Alliance Française, a good school?!?!

I replied:

-Could be, but that's not enough, and he's not a good student!

The client:

-Now what?!?! That's for tomorrow!!!!

I replied:

-You could hire a good translator.

The client:

-Yes, shure, but who? Do you know one to do this rush job?

Me:

-Yes, I know one who could handle it.

The client:

-WHO IS HE, DAMMIT!!!

Me:

-Me!

Good deal done. Good for me.











notchee dzee teepeecowl Brezilian accentchee.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:18
English to Portuguese
+ ...
How long does it take to learn? Dec 20, 2007

Juan Jacob wrote:
A good friend of mine done it, he's assisted 3 semestres at the Alliance Française, a good school?!?!


Good heavens! I did SIX semesters at the Alliance Française, je connais bien Pierre Vincent, toute sa famille, et même son chien Jip, and yet I don't dare to translate from French.

I did 14 semesters in the best Brazilian ELS schools at that time and, 5 years later, upon my very first arrival to Los Angeles (at a time when most people only spoke English there), I discovered they hadn't taught me to speak! Okay, they had preloaded me with enough knowledge to get it fully fluent in just three days. But the discovery was shocking at first.

I translated technical written texts before that trip, and I'm amazed to see that I did it pretty well then. But it took me more than a decade after that before I tackled my first video.


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