Since the advent of artificial intelligence, popular media has discovered the potential benefits and dangers in the workspace; to facilitate jobs, as well as to negate them. It is impossible to ponder the practical use of the new tech without considering its probable effect on human-held jobs.
As in many other fields, artificial intelligence has become a part of the entertainment industry, especially in the post-production audio processes such as dubbing, voice translation, and audio localization. AI can now be utilized to remove words or completely replace audio, hinting at a future in which real, human actors and our beloved audio experts are obsolete.
While there are certainly benefits to using AI in foreign-language dubbing, there are also some significant drawbacks to consider before switching to AI-based technologies. Here we have listed some of the disadvantages of using AI voice-over.
Lack of Emotion
Firstly, AI voice-over dubbing, or voice-over translation, can often feel impersonal and emotionless. Often overlooked and underestimated, is the invaluable human touch that can only be achieved by lived experiences, which makes an inescapable difference when dealing with creative expression. If the audio translation feels robotic and detached, it can detract from the viewing experience.
There is something to be said for the human touch when it comes to voice acting, and AI simply cannot replicate the nuances and inflections of a human voice. This same lack of humanity occurs in the faddish AI-generated images; though interesting to look at, they lack a specifically mortal feeling, making the viewing experience uncanny for the audience. The effects of this uncanny viewing experience can be exacerbated when considering global localization (or glocalization); the temperamental balancing act of attempting to bring a local message to a global market.
Poor Cultural Adaptation
Localization is the process of making a piece of content more accessible to disparate societies through cultural adaptation and necessary adjustments to preserve the meaning and message of the content, globally.
The entire purpose of dubbing services and localization services is to make content accessible to people who don’t speak the language in which it was originally produced. Artificial Intelligence sadly removes the human experience from these processes, leaving a computer to discern how best to make a piece of audio significant to a specific audience. Even the most advanced AI systems can’t always get things right; in these cases, a word or phrase may be mistranslated, or the AI voice sounds unnatural or out of place. This can take the viewer out of the experience and make it difficult to keep up with the story.
Poor Language Localization
Similar to learning a new language, the use of slang or colloquialism can be one of the most difficult components of understanding a culture. Simply plugging in a bit of slang into Google Translate may give you the correct words, but all of the implications and cultural significance are completely lost. A literal translation of a phrase might not capture its intended meaning, and an AI system won’t necessarily be able to pick up on these subtleties when producing a media translation. In the realm of post-production audio services, this can result in a dub that doesn’t accurately represent the original work, or worse, one that perpetuates harmful stereotypes or misunderstandings.
Fewer Jobs For Dubbing Professionals
Finally, and perhaps most concerning, is the potential impact of AI dubbing on human actors. If AI systems become the norm for dubbing work, it could mean fewer opportunities for voice actors. This could have a ripple effect across the entertainment industry, with fewer jobs and less diversity of talent.
In conclusion, AI foreign language dubbing certainly has its benefits in terms of accessibility and efficiency. However, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks; from emotionless voiceovers to cultural misunderstandings, there are many reasons why AI foreign language voice-over might not be the best choice.
As with any new technology, it’s important to evaluate the impact it could have on all aspects of the industry. The beauty of the human touch should not be overlooked as, with the help of human audio experts and voice actors, filmmakers can touch different parts of the world with their personalized vision, armed with the confidence that their audience will extricate the intended meaning.
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If you have a project that requires a dubbing studio or have any questions about the specialized processes involved in voice-over translation services, feel free to reach out to us at SPG Studios under the Contact tab. We’re looking forward to answering your questions and learning more about your needs in foreign language dubbing!