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.

An off-screen Voice-over aims to replace the original dialogue (think video games or a radio commercials). Whereas other types of voiceovers don’t replace original dialogue.

Audio dubbing aims to fully replace the original dialogue. The audio is matched with the lip movements of the actors on-screen, making it more accurate than a voiceover.

There are also many different styles of voice-overs. For example, a nature documentary might have a narrative voice-over if the person is off-screen. Whereas, a news segment might have a UN-Style voiceover. 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 voiceover added translates the original audio, allowing you to still hear the original lightly in the background. 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 added to content, or can be played by itself. This type of voiceover can be used for videos as well as other media. For example, podcasts, radio commercials and documentaries.


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.
  • Lektoring – is 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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