Job opportunities situation in EN>Spanish and Catalan subtitling and voiceover
Thread poster: Maria LM

Maria LM
Local time: 18:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 21, 2008

Hi everybody,

I'm starting my translation career and I would like to try get specialized in subtitling and voiceover from English into Spanish and Catalan....

Any idea on how demanded these services are, and how many companies do it in UK or Spain?

I have found a course on subtitling for translators, but none in voiceover yet. Any suggestions?

Just one more question. How would you translate '...(laughs)...', which is part of a sript, into Spanish? Just (risas)?

Thank you very much

Maria LM


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:19
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Voiceover or dubbing? Jun 21, 2008


The first step is to get your objectives clear. Otherwise, the saying "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there" will prevail.

Subtitling, okay, no doubt about it.

However voiceover, put this way, might mean different things.

One is narration voiceover, which is what happens, e.g in a documentary, where the narrator does not appear on the screen, ever.

Another is the voice-over used when a film has testimonials from too many people who appear on the screen. Let's say that this same documentary is about some place where a few dozen local people were interviewed. If the film were wholly dubbed, this would cost a fortune (assuming, for the sake of the example, Brazilian laws - whereby one same dubbing artist may do one 'role' plus no more than two 'extras' or 'incidentals'), and it tends to take away some credibility, if these are testimonials. So it's common to have these people 'voiceovered'. Furthermore, such ad-lib statements are script-less, unrehearsed, and done by untrained people, so they are the hardest thing for lip-sync dubbing. They inevitably sound 'fake' when dubbed.

Finally, there is the lip-sync dubbing. Artists redo the soundtrack, trying to match-sync mouth movements, and this requires a very special translation technique. Imagine that "customer needs" in EN unavoidably becomes "necessidades do cliente" in PT, so a whole new phrase with the same content and message must be created to sync.

Though it focuses on corporate video, you may find a more detailed description in Brazilian Portuguese at . As understanding written Catalán is not so difficult for me, maybe it works the other way around for you too.


Maria LM
Local time: 18:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Subtitling, narration voice-over, testimonials voice-over and dubbing Jun 21, 2008

Dear José Henrique,

Thank you very much for your reply.
I am aware now about the different types of voice-over.

I think I would like to learn the basics about subtitling, voice-over and lip-sync dubbing, and then decide which one I find more interesting and suitable for me. I want to know where I am going... and arrive!icon_smile.gif

I will read your detailed description, no doubt.



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Job opportunities situation in EN>Spanish and Catalan subtitling and voiceover

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