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Can I do a Voice over assignment
Thread poster: Louise Dupont

Louise Dupont  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:18
Member (2004)
English to French
Jun 23, 2003

I just received a voice over assignment, I have never done that.I don't know the procedure to follow. Is it hard to do. What do I have to first.

Thanks in advance

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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:18
English to Arabic
+ ...
Some thoughts on preparation for a VO Assignment Jun 23, 2003


Since your post did not provide details of what kind of a VO project is involved, the following are some basic points for undertaking and conducting a VO assignment.

A VO assignemnt is a specialized role for an interpreter, and doing VOs includes some prior training, practice & rehearsal with the script and audio engineers, and familiarity with the sequence and procedures for VO productions. It is not easy and not something that an unprepared interppreter can just walk into an audio recording studio and knock out.


You might insure that the client requesting your services for a VO assignment has:

1. A good recording studio or similar facility available AND scheduled

2. A voice-over director/coach at the scheduled time who can direct and prompt you through the script.

3. An accurate translation of your script (prudent and most helpful if the client provides you also with the English original script and there is enough time for you to compare the versions and suggest any literal or culture-specific/appropriate changes)

4. Some technical and functional training (and rehearsal) with the equipment and audio recording system involved so your performance will go msmoothly.

5. Doing a VO for the soundtrack of a film, VT or similar video product is an even more complex, expensive and precise production, so your client should insure that you get plenty of time and assistance for your preparation and rehearsal before you "go live" in the recording booth.



Stephen H. Franke
Los Angeles

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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:18
French to Spanish
+ ...
Chre Louise. Jun 23, 2003

Je suis surtout traducteur, mais je fais souvent du "voice over". Non, c'est pas simple, en fait, c'est une profession en soi. D'abord, il faut une "belle" voix", une voix qui plaise au client, bien entendu. Aprs, faut pas du tout avoir la trouille devant un micro, dans un petit studio, avec, en face, un ingnieur du son et un "directeur" qui te regardent, l'air pas contents ! Aprs, t'as des couteurs, qui te renvoient ce que t'es en train de lire... et mme une tl avec les images que tu dois doubler... a dconcerte... aprs, faut avoir pris des leons de diction, de respiration... faut tre un peu acteur, quand mme, parce qu' la fin de la phrase, t'as plus du tout d'air dans les poumons et t'arrives toute essoufle, aprs avoir rat les pauses ncessaires et plein de "couacs", de "zozotements" comme on dit dans notre jargon, sans parler des erreurs ! Et, finalmente, faut savoir sur quel "registre" il faut lire: c'est pas du tout la mme chose un documantaire sur les animaux, que le lancement d'une nouvelle campagne publicitaire pour un shampoing, ou qu'un texte vachement srieux d'un banque qui cherche de nouveaux partenaires l'autre bout de monde.

MAIS, avantage: a paie trs, trs, trs bien, pour quelques minutes le cul sur une chaise, ou debout, a dpend !

Bon courage quand mme, et n'hsite pas me consulter.

Juan Jacob.


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Jane Lamb-Ruiz  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Voice Overs Jun 23, 2003

You usually have to go to a recording studio. They give you a script which you read into a recording microphone.

OR maybe they have given you a script, in which case, you translate it and ask them for instructions regarding lay out etc. What have they sent you?

Bear in mind that you are translating something that will be read out loud. It is spoken rather than written text....

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Louise Dupont  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:18
Member (2004)
English to French
I have the script Jun 23, 2003

They gave me the script to translate and asked me to try to respect the number of syllables in the sentences. I will not do the recording...

[Edited at 2003-06-24 03:38]

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Yongmei Liu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:18
English to Chinese
+ ...
Just translate and read aloud Jun 23, 2003

The reason is what looks good on paper may not sound good when it's read aloud.

Of course, you should roughly match the length of a translated sentence with that of its original.

The voice talent hates nothing more than having to edit the translation during the recording session.

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murat karahan  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:18
English to Turkish
+ ...
don't count syllables Jun 23, 2003

It would never work, especially in your case because I assume it's going to be a eng-french translation. First you should ask the outsourcer if this going to be voiceover or dubbing with lip synch. If it's plain voiceover, then it's easy. Listen to the tape, write down your translation, rewind and read your translation at the same speed as the original speaker. There's no need to exacly match the durations of the source and your translation. Let's say it's a paragraph, your translation may read 1-2 seconds shorter than the original, but it should never be longer.
Lip synch is slightly more complicated. The durations of the original and your translation should have a very close match. Furthermore you should indicate the pauses and provide the voice actor with additional info within the sentence such as "on" (where the lips of the speaker can be seen) "off" (where you can't see the speaker's lips).

Example :
LUXMOREOFF) But for God's sake be careful out there, man. (ON) There's a nasty web of money (OFF) laundering, drug //
(// indicates pause) trafficking and corruption.
Point out to differences in tone too, such as chuckling, whispering, slowly etc...

Complicated, isn't it? But awful fun though (of course depending on the subject).

Louise Dupont wrote:

They gave me the script to tranlate and asked me to try to respect the number of syllables in the sentences. I will not do the recording...

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
voiceover, lip synch, syllable synch? Jun 24, 2003

My understanding of a voiceover is that it is a commentary that is heard OVER the original, i.e. the original speaker starts to speak, then with a short time lag, the voiceover commences.

Lip synch is an entirely different matter and far more complex, you would need to see the film or video to do it properly. There is another approach which is syllable synch, this is suitable for animated film becuase characters tend not to make such expressive mouth movements (often just up and down, although not alwys)

You mention syllables, well, what I would like to know before doing the job is WHY syllables are so important?

Once you have established that (and a bit more info about how and where the "voiceover" will be used, then you will have an idea of how to approach the job.

Also consider whetehr you really want to to it. Although it is translation, it really has a lot of additional factors thrown in, like strict timing, cultural adaptation issues, etc.

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