Voice Over Jargon

Voice Over Jargon

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Here are a few basic pieces of voice over jargon world that you need to know if you are planning to work as a voice over artist or if you have a project that needs a voiceover.

Common Voice Over Jargon

BSF (Basic Studio Fee/ Basic Session Fee)

It is the sum compensated to the voice actor for their time in the recording studio. Each voice over artist may charge a different amount.

Usage/Licencing Fee

This is an essential bit of voice over jargon. It’s an additional fee paid to the voice over performer which refers to the client’s access to the rights to use voice over audio over periods of time. When a voice is used for a project for longer than the predetermined period, a new license must be obtained. With this extension, the voiceover performer will receive payment once again for their continuous support of the project’s success.


This gives you absolute rights to the voice over performance in the project in perpetuity. This means the audio is yours, to do with as you wish, for all time. This is advantageous for educational or internal videos that are intended for small, focused, professional audiences; yet, if handled improperly, it could raise ethical questions about exploitation.


Short for ‘Automated Dialogue Replacement ’and basically it is a process where actors re-record audio lines to match the original actors’ mouth movements. This can be difficult, as the actor’s original speech patterns can be unpredictable in speed and delivery. In order to ensure that the new voice matches the original as closely as possible, voice actors will typically watch the movie while recording ADR over the original performance.


This is voice over jargon that you’ll hear very frequently. Dubbing is the process of dialogue replacement in a foreign film. It is a language replacement technique that is normally performed for translation and localization purposes. It is also sometimes used in the original language of the film. This can fix some technical or audio issues. The timing of the dub must match the original performance’s mouth movements. As a result, the script must also be created to follow the original’s timings. The phrase is most frequently used in regard to voices that have been recorded that are not those of the original performers and speak a language other than the one the actor is using.

Sound Engineer

The person in charge of the voice over session as well as the audio setup.


That’s short for voiceover. The term ‘voice-over’ was originally associated with an announcer’s voice on a television spot. This referred to the process as ‘voice over picture.’


A single performance of a specific section of the script. Takes are numbered and arranged by the sound engineer and notes are kept on the attributes of each take.

Pop Shield

Also known as a pop stopper or a pop guard. It is a foam cover enveloping the mic or a nylon windscreen in front of the mic. This simple device is essential during the recordings. It helps with the popping noise which is caused by “plosive” sounds which are the blasts of air that occur when someone says a plosive sound into a microphone such as ‘b’ or ‘p’.

SOT “sound on tape”

Refers to language or sound that is incorporated into the screenplay but is not uttered by the voice actor. This language or sound is derived from the programme or film content.


This is a term meaning an improvised sentence that’s not from the script but is purposefully said in accordance with the script’s spirit.


This voice over jargon term refers to the process of re-recording a single line or phrase to fix a vocal error or technical issue. It is also used to create alternative choices. When recording a pick-up, read a sentence or two before the pick-up starting point, as well as at the end. This will help the sound engineer better edit the pick-up, matching phrasing and levels.


Bleed is the ambient noise produced by the headphones, other tracks, etc. picked up by the microphone.

Custom Demo

A personalised demo created using a specific script that allows the person who requested it to hear something in particular that facilitates the decision of choosing the most appropriate voice for a project.

Voice Print

The vocal equivalent of fingerprints. You can view it using sound tools such as ProTools.

Hopefully, this voice over jargon will help in your future projects. Please let us know if you need help with your voice over project, we would be happy to help!

FUN FACT! Did you know that Thomas Danneberg did the German voices of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger? When they appeared in the same scenes in “The Expendables“, he would make sure to speak in different pitches for the distinction.

Enjoyed this blog? Check out a similar blog on The Perks and Challenges of Being a Freelancer. Or check out our previous blog on Where is the Dutch Language spoken besides the Netherlands?

Remember, if you’d like to discuss your next project, then give us call on +44 (0) 207 095 5730 or email for a quote.

As well as providing translation services for several decades now, we also provide voice over and subtitling services. Whether you need voice overs or subtitles, we’d love to hear from you.

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