Is translation included in the cost of voice over?
Thread poster: Melody Abarca
Melody Abarca
United States
Local time: 06:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 19

I am doing a voice over for an educational training video on abuse prevention. It is for a non-profit agency. I am wondering what to charge? I will have to translate the English transcription first and then do the voice over. Is there usually a separate charge for the translation or is that included in the cost of the voice over?

I have read several forums and done research online to see the different prices being charged for voice overs. I see people charge per minute, per hour of recording in the studio, per finished hour, etc. Not sure how this would compare to a non-profit? The finished product will probably be 2 - 4 hours.

Thanks for your help!


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:18
German to English
Two different services, two separate charges Jul 19

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when translating a script. The first is obvious: accuracy. The second has to do with the time allowed for each particular segment. For a number of years I worked as voiceover talent and frequently ran into a wall when a scene or bit of dialog allowed for x number of seconds of speech, but the translated script took x+n seconds to read aloud, even at a rate faster than normal. I would suggest that you work with the client ahead of time to iron out any potential timing issues.

In my experience, voiceover work is charged at an hourly rate, including a minimum number of hours. That is, you should be paid for 3 hours, for example, even though the recording might only require 2 hours.

This type of work isn't as easy as you might think. Frequently there are several takes: the talent might have to sneeze suddenly, or there is unexpected noise in the recording studio. Reading a passage repeatedly and still sounding convincing the third or fourth time takes some concentration.

Under no circumstances should you be expected to translate the script and immediately do the voiceover. After you translate the script, read it aloud a few times until you're satisfied that it sounds right. Frequently written texts may sound OK in your mind, but take on a different aspect once you read them aloud – in many cases, the language rhythms are completely different. I recall reading some scripts that had numerous tongue twisters that really didn't work as spoken language and had to be reworded.

Good luck!

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Is translation included in the cost of voice over?

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