Voice-over questions
Thread poster: AZTranslations

AZTranslations  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:57
German to English
+ ...
Jun 15, 2009

Dear colleagues,

I have a request for doing a voice-over (no translation required) for 10,000 words to be delivered in wav- format. I have never done anything like this before but would be interested in doing it.
Here are my questions:
- How much do you charge? per word or per hour? (in €, if possible)
- how long does it usually take to do?

Thanks for your help!

Best regards


megane_wang  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:57
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Should check that with a narrator Jun 15, 2009

Hello Anke,

I know that many people charge by the hour but that may not be correct from the point of view of a narrator (not translator).

In Spain, after many years with a real caos in rates and distribution rights, narrators created a rate guide for narrators that sets minimun rates. These rates are based on the voiceover time and uses (rights). I remember having paid around 300 Euros minimum fee + a minute rate for a short voiceover (a voiceover to be used in a presentation in a trade fair) + sound studio rates apart.

I bet that there exists something like that in Germany too.

Of course, getting this done by a translator by the hour is a nice way to get it cheaper. I wonder if agencies just don't know or don't care about narrators and their pricing policies at all. But I'll let you (all) think about it anyway.

Unfortunately I cannot give you any hint about time.

Best regards and best luck,



tom corradin (X)
Local time: 02:57
Italian to English
+ ...
General guidelines Jun 15, 2009

I'm not giving you any monetary figure but some general guidelines which may help you come out with a reasonable quote.

Usually, professional voicover artist are bound by a national contract depending on where they live. In a nutshell, they, depending on the genre and type of voiceover work they do they are paid either by the number of lines they read or the "reels" of film they work on (in other words the length of video-time they are doing the voiceover on).

That's the theory.... As for the practice. Before you come out with a quote you should go through this checklist:

What kind of voiceover is it?
- simple narration (without acting skills)
- narration over speaking character (with some acting skill)
- lip synch (definitively need acting skill and experience)

A lip synch is definitively more expensive than a simple narration, so you need to ask your client what kind of job is it.

How many words (sometimes that's charged per line) is it?

A minimum fixed fee for the call usually applies. That's up to you how to structure it. For example you may ask for a minimum of 150 words no matter how many words you have to read (i.e. say you have to read 10 words you would charge the client your minimum fixed fee of 150). You can then decide if you want to charge per word from there or just quote a fixed sum for the whole job (say X Euros for a text of 2000 words). Mind, if you are not a professional voiceover artist recording a 250 words may take you twice as much time if not more. Recording 500 words may even take up to 1 hour for a simple narration (the audio engineer will record two tracks for each line, he may have to check the tracks synch with the video, etc.). For a lip synch it may take 1 hour for a non pro just to do 150-200 words.

Where do you stand on the market?
If you are a German living in Italy or France, chances are that your client will not find that many talents around. Also, you may have a particular attractive or warm voice, or you might have been picked up from a portfolio of talents. That may give you a little leverage (not that much nowadays.... with the internet you can pretty much find talents everywhere. I know the owner of a studio in Italy who has talents recording with Skype from another studio in Germany. He actually directs the talents "live" from Italy as they are reading their lines)

Who is your client?
- Agency?
- Recording studio?

If your client is a recording studio they'll be happy to give you a bigger cut of the cake than an agent.

That's about it. Hope it may be useful.


AZTranslations  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:57
German to English
+ ...
Thank you, Tom and Megane! Jun 16, 2009

Both your comments were very helpful!

All the best to you!



Local time: 21:57
French to English
+ ...
more information? Jul 16, 2009


What is the voice-over for? On online or digital product? A corporate or educational video? It certainly sounds like it has nothing to do with broadcast. Is this a request from one of your translation clients?



AZTranslations  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:57
German to English
+ ...
No idea Jul 16, 2009

Hi Vera,

it was a request from a company that regularly does voice-overs. Unfortunately, nothing became of it, so I don't know exactly what type of document/file it would have been.

Thanks anyway for your reply.

Best regards


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