Lip Sync vs. Voice-Over


Before the translation and adaptation of video projects involving dialogue when people are on-camera, clients usually ask:

“Is it worth spending more to do a lip sync? Or will a voice-over get the job done?”

Well, the answer depends on the job. We don’t recommend lip sync on testimonial & educational videos; it is very standard and accepted in the industry to leave in the original voice at a lower volume, and overdub the foreign voice-over (as commonly seen in BBC foreign interviews). Even though the lips won’t be synchronized with the audio, it will effectively convey the message while at the same time confirming the impression that words are not being put in the speaker’s mouth.

However, in commercials, movies, TV series and more “creative” audiovisual productions, lip synching is expected. As you are familiar with, it is commonplace when viewing foreign movies, TV series or soap operas.

The key is not to overspend by synchronizing projects that don’t require the use of this more demanding – and therefore more expensive – technique.

In video projects where there is an off-camera, narrative voice, the original audio should always be eliminated and replaced by the foreign voice-over (and sounds should be overdubbbed or re-created) in order to obtain an identical foreign version of the original video.


What is Transcreation?

Global social media World with speech bubbles

Quite frequently, literal translation is not the right approach to elicit an emotional response from an audience. A single marketing strategy doesn’t necessarily have to be successful within several markets – nor often can it be. Therefore a direct translation of a piece is often not sufficient to effectively carry your message.

Several questions need to be asked to ensure that your marketing efforts will result in increased traffic to your multilingual website, or that they’ll reach a larger audience, such as: Are those images/graphics appropriate for that foreign market? Will this slogan actually work in that particular cultural context? Is that the best product to present on your LATAM home page? Will this face be familiar to your Asian audience…?

Oftentimes, more literally translating your content will indeed be the answer. But always remain open to the possibility that transcreating your message may achieve better, more effective results – or in fact may be absolutely necessary in order to convey your idea or concept.


Latin America is Not a Country

latin_americaMost companies make the mistake of not targeting their Latin American marketing campaigns to each of the region’s particular countries. They usually target the so called “LATAM” market using one single flavor of generic “neutral” Spanish. And even though this is better than addressing the market in English, it does not have nearly the same impact as speaking directly to the people of each distinct nationality.

Spanish can look and sound vastly different in Mexico than it does in Argentina or Chile, for example, and companies will achieve greater impact when they use the form of Spanish localized to the specific country. Our experience shows that many companies get overwhelmed by the idea of trying to target each country of the Latin American region. This is usually due to budget constraints, but is it really that expensive to adapt content in Spanish to its national variations? It often costs significantly less than what the client expects.

So, before leaving all your marketing material or website content in “one size fits all” Spanish, ask for a quote to localize it for each particular country where you want your message to be heard. We think you’ll be surprised how affordable it actually is.



One last word… before the first ones…

mlg21MLG International has grown substantially over the 8+ years we’ve been in business and a lot of things have been happening and changing. Sadly, we have not done very well at keeping track of them. Therefore, going forward, this blog will be our (cyber)space to share with you word of our most recent developments and achievements, etc. – along with the most relevant news about the marketing, language and translation industries overall.

Here on our blog we will be regularly providing helpful tips and useful information in addition to commentary on topics that we find of interest such as globalization, localization, transcreation, entrepreneurship, technology, graphic design, dubbing, voiceover, audio and video production and editing – as well as matters pertaining to languages and translation in general.

We appreciate your visiting us here and reading our posts – and most of all we look forward to you sharing your knowledge and receiving your feedback!