As training and web technology evolved Audio Translation requests from key accounts became more and more frequent. Foreseeing a new opportunity, WhP made localization of Multimedia content a strategic focus in early 2000, investing on tools, training and the recruiting of experts. WhP now offers a range of Audio Translation services associated with a number of multimedia environments covering all type of needs: high-quality audio for interactive games, IT product marketing and lower cost recording when acting is not required (for internal training material or eLearning multimedia content).

Type of Audio

The cost of Audio Translation will result of the original audio recording constraints. If you would like your product to be localized for different markets, then it is best to try to minimize audio recording constraints:

  • Simple voice-over, is not subject to any file length or time restriction, lip-syncing, etc. The recording process is the simplest and throughput the highest. This is possible when the length of animations can easily be changed to match that of the audio file length if needed rather than the other way round.
  • Voice-over with time constraint recording or file length restrictions is however frequent. It is needed on some animations and is inherent to voice-overs on video where the original voice is turned off and replaced by the new one.
  • Sound-synchronization happens when time constraint is not based on the length of the audio file but on internal audio pauses or synchronization points. Think for instance of a translated audio that needs to say something at the exact time an image appears on a video. This reduces recording studio throughput dramatically but constraints are even higher on Audio Translation that requires Lip-synchronization, where voice is dubbed and follow the lips of the actor/avatar.

Sound and Lip synchronization are the two most complex types of recording to achieve. As a result they are also the most costly as time needed for recording is quadrupled when compared with simple voice-over. If budget is restricted, subtitling  is often the chosen alternative in IT and eLearning.

Audio Translation process

Thanks to WhP process and experience you will be at no risk of having costly recording sessions to re-schedule at the end of the process.

Audio Translation Pre-processing

Pre-processing includes mainly the preparation of the Audio Translation script to be sent for translation which should include all information needed for recording and post-recording phases. Content includes:

  • the file name
  • the exact transcription of the speech
  • information about the characters (the number of characters – the name and/or the gender for each audio)
  • the audio recording restrictions (lip-sync, length restriction, sound-sync). Translators should be aware of the restrictions to make sure their translation fits. This may be difficult, especially for languages such as German and Spanish were text expansion represents 40% of the English source. In the case of sound-sync, the script is pre-processed by placing the text in different cells for translator to construct the sentence correctly.
  • WhP will check the favored pronunciation of specific terms (for instance use English or local pronunciation for company name, brands or acronyms?)

Ideally, WhP should receive all the source audio (wav, mp3…) files for recording. They are not absolutely necessary in the case of simple voice-over but it is nice to have in case voice talents want to listed to the tone and reproduce it correctly.

Translation for Audio

The audio script will be translated as usual; Translation Memories and glossaries are used. Translators aware of the constraints tune the style and write sentences easy to pronounce. WhP puts a strong emphasis on third-party review and customer validation to avoid costly returns to the recording studio.

Voice casting samples

WhP generally provides three voice casting samples for customers to select their preferred voice for each character. For high quality Audio Translation needed for marketing or for games WhP works with in-country studios to have access to professional actors driven by an Artistic Director. On eLearning quality, WhP generally works with freelancers. In some cases, voice talents can play up to four characters, one main and three secondary.

It is possible to provide live casting where voice talents record a sample based on customer’s own script or casting per database on pre-recorded sample scripts. The latter having the advantage of being faster and cheaper.

WhP makes its best efforts to guarantee continuity of service in case the same actors is needed for future recordings.

Audio Recording

Once the customer has selected the sample and signed-off the translated audio-script WhP start the recording phase. The voice talent will have the audio script and pronunciation rules to proceed. When possible, the source audio files will also be given.

File length will be matched as closely as possible, even when there is no specific restriction in order to facilitate the integration of audio. The engineer in charge will also match the exact audio settings with that of the source.

On some particular projects WhP Project managers can advise to use synthetic voices using TTS (Text To Speech) technology. For more information about this subject, “Multilingual”, the leading magazine related to localization has published an article from WhP on audio localization: Tips on audio localization: synthetic vs. real voices.

Audio Translation post-processing

During post-processing files are cut, re-named, cleaned, leveled and mixed with sound effects or background audio.  Time constraints are also double-checked and the files are linguistically QA’d by a native speaker to ensure the audio script text matches exactly the recorded speech. Only then, will Audio Translation be considered final.

Sample Audio Translation

  • High-quality Audio Translation Samples
  • Less demanding, cost wary Audio Translation Samples

Whatever your Audio Translation needs WhP can help you meet your objectives.

WhP offers an array of solutions and has experience working on high-quality audio where acting is required as well as on less demanding cost-wary Audio Translation projects.