How To Do Content Localization : Dubbing

June 26, 2020


Dubbing is the procedure by which foreign-language films can be translated into the audience´s language. A translated dialogue is added to the original movie and, through editing, this translation is carefully matched to the timing and lip movements of the cast in the movie.

Reliable local partners are required to oversee the entire process of dubbing and subtitling, promotion and performance monitoring etc.

That being said, this series of diagrams provides a simple breakdown of what the dubbing process generally looks like.

  1. Translation
    In this first step, the original language of the content is translated into the respective local language. The results may include: translated dialogue script, title, text on screen, etc. The translation can be done manually by using human resources or even computer assisted translation tool (CAT), such as Wordfast or Trados.

  2. Proofreading
    To avoid any errors, after the translation process, the results are being proofread or checked. The goal of the proofreader is to make sure that there's no mispell, grammar mistake or any other form of error that might result in the wrong interpretation from the original story. In addition, it is also necessary that the overall result has the same consistency in terms of dictions and phrases.

  3. Voice Casting
    Another critical part of a successful dubbing project is finding the right talent. Many creatives and performers specialize in dubbing for particular audience markets. Certain type of voice might be suitable for a specific contents, but not the other. Like for example, you may want to avoid using formal-tone with low voices actor for a kid content.

  4. Recording
    Every step of the dubbing process requires some measure of technical expertise. Especially when the time comes to record the dialogue. This stage is where the voice actors perform the script, and is supervised by dubbing director. The director guides the actors to tonal, intonation, linguistic accuracy and expressive excellence, similar on how film director directs the shooting process. This process might also result in some changes to the translated script, as the performers might need to match their speaking duration with the actors on screen.

  5. Mixing
    The final part of dubbing process – layering the new dialogue tracks into the film. This part of the dubbing process is particularly heavy on technical expertise and may require both sound and editing experts to complete the job. The sound engineer has to make sure that the dubbed-sound is in-sync with the original film and is well-balanced with the original background voices, musics, etc.

  6. Quality Control
    When all the process is done, it's time to check the result. Before airing it on any platform or deliver the localized content to clients, you might want to double check that everything is perfect. It may sound like the most "relax" stage of the process as you just need to sit down, watch the content and point out the errors, but quality control is a very crucial step and needs high concentration.