Japanese Voice-Over Audiovisual Project Step by Step

Japanese Voice-Over Audiovisual Project Step by Step

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Japanese Voice-Over Audiovisual Project Step by Step. White Cherry Blossom and Japanese House Front, picture by Galen Crout at Unsplash. Unsplash License.

Localizing your audiovisual production for Japanese-speaking markets through Japanese voice-over is a complex, detailed process. The process starts with the translation of the material, choosing between voice-over or subtitles, hiring voice talent, and recording. 

A professional voice artist understands that voice-over goes beyond simple translation and recording. It also focuses on linguistic accuracy, cultural norms, and regional accents.  

Importance of an Accurate Japanese Localization 

Japan is an attractive market for companies interested in expanding to global markets. However, there are several hurdles in entering the market because of the unique etiquette, language, and culture of the country in comparison to western countries. Breaking into the Japanese market requires a total understanding of the local culture

The Japanese language also has a completely unique sentence structure. When translation tools and apps are used, it is painfully obvious because the translated words tend to be conjugated incorrectly. 

The Japanese market is mature and quality sensitive, with limited proficiency in English. This makes localization crucial.   

How to Get a Perfect Japanese Translation?

The success of your Japanese voice-over will depend on the accuracy of your translation. Follow these simple tips to ensure that your translation is accurate and appropriate.

Select the Right Politeness Tone 

There are three different politeness tones in Japanese, normal, polite, and honorific. Selecting the right tone is the first step in audiovisual translation. The tone that will be most suitable for your project will depend on the target audience to ensure it is well-received. 

The tone that is used to address a customer is different than the tone used for colleagues. Informal tones are used for personal relationships, while formal tones are usually reserved for customers.  

Choose the Right Script 

There are three types of characters used in Japanese: katakana, kanji, and hiragana. When translating text to Japanese, knowing which script to use is important. For example, katakana is used for technical terms, scientific terms, and foreign names. Certain words, such as product and company names, are better left as they are in English. 

For words where Japanese translation is needed, it is better to use either katakana or kanji or a combination of both in certain cases. 

Plan for Multiple Edits and Reviews 

Accuracy and high quality are crucial in Japanese translations. Factor in time for multiple rounds of edits and reviews to make the translations perfect. Provide style guides, glossaries, and contextual materials in advance to ensure that there will be minimum edits and that the final product will be polished. 

Japanese Voice-Over or Subtitling?

Whether you choose Japanese voice-over or Japanese subtitling for localizing your audiovisual materials will depend on the target audience and the nature of your project. 

Compare each localization method and think about which would be the easiest for your target audience to understand. For corporate videos, subtitles may be suitable. On the other hand, for anime and video game localization, voice-over is the best choice, so it does not distract from the graphics. 

Work with Japanese voice-over actors that specialize in character voices for projects with multiple characters and voices to ensure the best results. 

Hiring the Best Japanese Voice Actor 

Hiring the right Japanese voice actor is one of the last and most crucial steps in audiovisual localization. In other words, you need a Japanese voice over agency. If you’re not sure how to select the right person for your project, GoLocalise can help. With a large pool of talented voice actors specializing in different areas, GoLocalise can walk you through the entire process from start to finish.

Here are some of the most important tips to consider when hiring talent.

Create a Voice Profile for your Brand

Having a clearly defined voice profile for your brand can make it easier to find a voice artist that aligns with your brand. Create a list with the voice characteristics, feelings, and emotions that your target audience associates with your brand. 

Use this profile to find the right professional that will be able to perfectly convey those emotions and feelings to your target audience. 

Provide Detailed Notes 

The script you provide to your voice actors should be final and must include detailed notes about voice performance. Provide notes about pauses, tones, and emotions where appropriate. This can make a difference between an average and an excellent Japanese voice-over.  

Pick an Actor with the Right Specialization 

When choosing a Japanese voice actor, it is important to consider the industries they usually work with and the services and voices they specialize in. When localizing an explainer video, for example, it is important to pick an actor that has experience providing voice-overs for explainer videos. 

Specialization will ensure that the actor will have the right voice style, words, and enunciation required for that project. 

Choosing the Voice-Over Recording Studio

Choosing a recording studio that specializes in voice-overs is crucial for the success of your project. The studio you select for your project should be well-equipped with top-of-the-line professional equipment and must provide an acoustically treated environment.   

The right recording equipment can enhance the quality of the recordings by adding character and depth to your media. It is also important to ensure that the studio provides access to experienced sound engineers and professionals with a finely tuned ears to ensure top-notch quality.  

One of the best ways to ensure you hire the right recording studio for your Japanese voice-over project is by scheduling a tour. GoLocalise has acoustically designed, soundproof recording studios that are equipped to ensure high-quality and accurate recordings of the highest standards.

So, when visiting London, take a tour of our state-of-the-art recording studio to see how we manage to consistently deliver spectacular results to our clients!

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