There are many factors to consider when selecting a dubbing company for your content. It can seem as though it is an extra add-on to the list of work you already have pilling up. And of course, you have a lot riding on your project – whether it be a product video, online course, video game or movie. However, this doesn’t have to be a hair-pulling, anxiety-fueled situation. In fact, quite the opposite.
We are going to go through the key qualities to look for when selecting a dubbing studio, to ensure your content is dubbed to the highest quality, on time, and with an end result that was exactly what you envisioned.
Why you shouldn’t stress over finding a dubbing studio
You’re outsourcing a job. Something you have likely done many times before. So, there is no need to overthink it. Whether you have more knowledge on dubbing than a voice-over director, or you have heard the term only a few times, the best dubbing studios will provide guidance that matches your vision.
So, what should you look for in a dubbing company?
This can simply be narrowed down to the following topics:
- Experience in the market
- Foreign-languages offered
- Team and employees
Experience in the market
There are lots of recording studios out there. In fact, just having a “pretty” studio doesn’t mean the service will be great. You want to seek out the elements that highlight the art of dubbing, not who would win in a studio beauty contest.
So, to do this, check the dubbing companies’ reviews, website, and their work; to make sure it is of a high standard.
Make sure to keep an eye on the industries that they cater to as well. If you only see video game dubbing services, chances are that they might not be the best company to dub your corporate training video.
In contrast, you’ll see localization providers that claim they can do every dubbing project under the sun. Different types of dubbing require different equipment and studios. For example, a music recording studio is very different from a dubbing studio. So, as a rule of thumb, make sure they can prove their expertise and equipment. However, many studios do offer audio dubbing services to a range of industries, depending on their team of experts.
There is nothing worse than badly dubbed content. In fact, it’s downright nerve-racking watching the badly synced dub. If you have had the pleasure of never witnessing this travesty, a bad dub is when the audio doesn’t match the lips of the person speaking.
To avoid a disaster, make sure to look for a dubbing company that mentions a team of experts; directors, translators, linguists, sound engineers and directors. Alternatively, you should find a workflow that will allow you to see a step-by-step process. See our localization workflow for reference.
This one is pretty obvious. If you are dubbing content from English to Burmese, and your dubbing provider doesn’t offer translation services in Burmese, it might be best to find a different provider. That’s unless they can outsource it to a partnering studio or a studio specifically for this.
Now, I am not saying you should run to a provider who claims to offer EVERY language. Chances are, they probably outsource the work too, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just make sure to check with them about the quality of their source if you are unsure. When possible, use dubbing studios that have had experience in the particular market you are targeting.
The same applies to specific regional dialects. For example, you want to translate your content from English to Portuguese. Are you targeting Brazilian or European Portuguese? Finding a provider who really understands the market will greatly help.
Set a realistic budget and be upfront about it. Any reputable localization provider will be transparent about any additional costs before the project starts. If there is something you don’t understand in the quote provided, don’t hesitate to ask about the various costs before starting your project.
When working with a localization and translation provider, you don’t need to be present in person for any part of the process. A key tip to distinguish the quality of a studio is whether or not you’re dealing with the Studio Owner or Director, an assistant or a Project Manager. In many cases these are the names of the roles, however, they may differ from studio to studio.
Now, if you have ever worked with the person in charge of a studio (studio director) or an assistant who doesn’t quite know the game yet, you may have suffered the unbearable consequences of the constant agreement. I am talking about that person who says “Yes” to every request and ends up not delivering. Mostly because it hasn’t been communicated through the different departments, and in some cases isn’t even technically possible.
With the complexity of dubbing, it is important to be guided by someone who fully understands both sides of the scale. A Project Manager is a middle man. Someone who has expert knowledge of the process, and is there to bridge the gap between the creative and technical side of dubbing, and the customer. This means there’s no over-promising and under-delivering.
A Project Manager will settle all of the large and small details of your project. They are also the best person to discuss voice-over talent, industry-specifics, languages and timeframes. Finding a dubbing studio with dedicated experts will allow for a seamless dubbing process
Set a realistic budget and be upfront about it. Any reputable localization provider will be able to offer different localization options based on your budget.
Communicate with dubbing companies for success
When discussing your project with a studio, make sure to map out your vision, budget and specific requests. Be as detailed as possible when discussing your project. A clear and concise direction will aid in the final result.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you aren’t getting the answers to those questions, find another provider who will guide you through the process.
The bottom line is: If you’re dealing with a reputable, top dubbing company, they will want to keep you in the loop, explain the processes of your project, answer any uncertainties, and deliver great quality work with an unbeatable turnaround time.