Dubbing or voice-over? What’s the best technique? Well, if you’ve looked into the difference between the two methods, there’s not a right answer. However similar they sound, they aren’t the same. In fact, they are very different.

So, what’s the difference between dubbing and voiceover? I am going to map out the key difference and walk through some examples to help you find the best option for your content.

Many organizations and companies are using localization methods to grow their audio-visual content. Due to the demand for these services, there has been a boom in the industry. Now, we’re seeing and hearing the terms ‘dubbing’ and ‘voiceover’ much more.

What’s the difference: Dubbing or Voice-overs?

Both dubbing and voice-over are techniques for recording a message for a new audience or market. However, they are very different. These techniques are used very differently.

A Voice-over doesn’t replace original dialogue. Whereas, dubbing aims to fully replace the original dialogue.

A voice-over is noticeable to the audience. In comparison, dubbing is not.

Not to add confusion, but there are also many different styles of voice-overs. For example, a documentary has a different style of voice-over to a news segment. Let’s look at some examples.

UN Style voiceover

With a UN-style voice-over, you can hear the original speaker in the background. The translator’s voice simultaneously interprets the message. Often, this technique is reserved for news segments, speeches and interviews. For example, see the video below:


Off-Camera Voice-over (Narration)


Off-Camera Voice-over or Narration is like storytelling. Or, as some like to describe it- the voice of God. This type of voiceover explains what is happening on the screen. It can be used for video. As well as other media. For example, podcasts. Often, it’s used in film, tv and documentaries.

UN-style focuses more on interpreting what a person is saying. In comparison, narration describes what is happening on the screen.


Lektoring is a niche voice-over style that’s mainly used in Poland. The technique consists of a one-person reading of all the translated dialogue. Often, it is a male voice talent. This voiceover style shows no emotion. Whilst listening to lektored content, you can hear the original dialogue seconds before the voiceover. As a result, the translation isn’t distracting to the viewers.

Lip-sync dubbing

Lip-sync dubbing is meant to be as close to the original as possible. In addition, it is a technique that allows the audience to focus solely on the content. With this method, the newly translated dialogue is matched to the lip movements of the characters on screen. As a result of the technicality of the lip-sync, it’s a precise and time-consuming process.

In addition to the description, see the example of Netflix’s Money Heist.

Dubbing or Voice-over for my content?

Different types of content use different audiovisual translation methods. For example, a blockbuster movie won’t use the same technique as an online course.

With this in mind, there are many unique factors about your project to think about. Such as budget, timeframe and the type of industry your content falls to. Moreover, those factors are key to analyse before selecting a method. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. However, consulting a localization vendor will help you select the method for your project.


If you have decided to translate your content, and are looking for localization services, we’re here to help! SPG Studios offers dubbing services, voice-over services and more. Our team of product managers are here to guide you, no matter the project.

Dubbing or Voice-over Summary

Dubbing and voice-over are both techniques for interpreting a message to a new audience or market.


  • VO is narrative.
  • It lacks emotion and tone from the original audio.
  • Doesn’t replace the original dialogue.
  • UN Style voiceover – You can hear the original speaker in the background with the voiceover playing louder over the original track. Used for news, interviews and adverts.
  • Off-Camera Voice-over (Narration) Voiceover is recorded off-camera and is mainly used for documentaries, films and TV.
  • Lektoringis where a person reads the translated lines of every character.


  • Dubbing is meant to stay true to the original content as much as possible.
  • Keeps the emotion and tone of the original audio.
  • Replaces the original dialogue with another dialogue.
  • Lip-sync dubbing is meant to be as close to the original as possible and match the original lip movements of the actors on-screen. Used mainly in film and TV.

The videos and images in this article are not owned or made by SPG Studios.

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