What is voice-over? Definition, applications and benefits

What is voice-over? Definition, applications and benefits

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Voice Over female artist working at Golocalise red studio.

Audiovisual productions have become the mainstream channels of communication. Whether it is entertaining, informative or even corporate communication, audiovisual materials have gained an extremely important role in replacing traditional media.

For this reason, voice-over (also spelled as voiceover or voice over, and shortened to VO) is one of the key elements to make your creations stand out. Let’s find out what exactly is voice over, what are its many applications and benefits, and how you can incorporate it into your audiovisual material to help you reach your business goals.

What is a Voice Over?

Voice-over is a production technique for recording an audio track that you can use on its own or, typically, add to a video recording. It is a type of production technique where the voice is recorded with the purpose of providing information or narrating a story.

The main characteristic of this technique is that the voice is added to the existing narrative. It is often read by an actor from a script.For this technique, a voice actor or actress will follow a script, adding different intonations and features, and record it in a professional studio.

A strong video narration has the capability of impacting the overall experience of viewers and altering the tone of the video. Voice over has a myriad of purposes, and some of them may differ from the original definition.

Keep on reading to find out what voice over is used for, what are its many applications, and most importantly, the benefits it can bring for your project.

If you are looking to add voice over to your creations, get in touch with our team to start planning your project.

Why are Voice Overs useful?

The purpose of a voice-over varies greatly depending on the use you give it. Voice-overs can complement a presentation by giving explaining the relation between visual elements, narrating a clip of video or bringing characters to life in fictional creations. Generally speaking, a voice-over helps in adding another layer of meaning to your audiovisual production.

Voice Overs allow content creators to make their productions more engaging, accessible and expansible, despite of their specific business market.

Increased engagement

As said before, audiovisual material is often more engaging than plain written text, which makes it much more engaging for customers, employees or spectators to watch. Adding a voice-over to a video will make it even more so, as you can transmit your message through different channels, guaranteeing you will reach your audience more effectively.

Expanded reach

Additionally, when combined with translation, voice-over allows you to reach international audiences from all over the world. This will help you expand your scope into different regions and markets and achieve a higher conversion rate.

Enhanced accessibility

Voice-over can also enhance your product’s accessibility. By enabling an extra channel of transmission, your messages can reach, for example, people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The elements of good voice over work

Producing a voice over involves lots of combined hard work from different teams, including voice talents, sound engineers, editors and project managers. These are some of the characteristics that must be looked after to produce an excellent voice over recording.


Creating a clear script is part of obtaining an excellent outcome in voice over. Clients usually hand in their own original scripts for actors to interpret, but you may want to receive professional advice in the area to increase your chances of producing engaging audiovisual material.


Voice overs usually follow a set of guidelines established by the client or standard best practices. These guidelines may include specific features in pronunciation, banned words, preferred terminology and others. Scriptwriters, voice actors and editors must stay in line with these standards throughout the entire project to keep it professional and coherent.

Attention to details

Together with consistency, many other technical details need to be taken care of. For example, audio engineers pay attention to any noise that needs eliminating, scriptwriters take care of terminological correctness and many others. A voice over can be delivered without this neatness, but only those with the highest quality will excel.


Voice over talents need to sound as experts in the matter they are presenting. For this reason, their tone must portray their “expertise” even if they are not into the topic. This can be achieved by training their acting skills in combination with doing some research about the subject, in some cases, to feel more comfortable talking about it.

Good pronunciation

Voice talents are professionals who have received training to achieve total clarity of speech. These actors and actresses focus on having a perfect pronunciation to transmit information clearly. Additionally, some of them learn to speak specific accents, like “neutral Spanish”, which has certain pronunciation and intonation rules that need to be followed.


Rushing or slowing down in a voice-over are both correct… depending on the context. If you want to record an e-learning video, you will probably want your voice over to sound smooth, clear and easily understandable for the audience, typically with quite a slow pace.

But a 30-second TV commercial for a kids’ toy would probably sound much better with an active, fast-speed description of its many features. Finding what is best is another essential aspect for your voice over.

What is voice-over used for?

As you can see, the definition of voice-over is quite broad, as well as its applications. Voice-over can be used in many industries, with lots of different purposes. Here are some of them:

Voice-over for narrations

Whether it may be a documentary or corporate material, voice-over can be used to narrate the content in video format. This can help make a presentation more friendly and didactic, ensuring that you keep your audience engaged with the content.

Voice-over for characterisation

This type of voice-over typically appears in fictional productions, such as movies, series or video games. In this case, the voice talent embodies a character in the production, participating in dialogues with other characters, usually represented by other actors too. For this task, actors need to be able to transmit their feelings to the audience, making their speech realistic and believable, just like any other movie actor.

Voice-over for commercials

If you are looking to boost your sales, launching a marketing campaign on TV or radio has always been one of the keys to reaching bigger audiences. Hire professional voice talents to add voice-over to your video commercials or broadcast them on radio to achieve your business goals.

Voice-over for dubbing

Voice-over can be used in combination with translation to transmit an original message into other languages. If you are looking to expand to new markets, have your content dubbed into other languages of the world to boost engagement and accessibility.

Types of Voice-over Recordings and Examples

To understand what a voice-over narration is, it is important to understand that this is a very diverse field. This expansive industry includes a lot more than just documentary narration or character voice work.

Here are the top few styles to explore:

1. Dubbing and Lip Sync

Lip syncing is one of the most popular dubbing techniques where the voice of the original actor on screen is replaced by those of a different performer. Lip syncing needs to be fluid and is more involved because the resulting video needs to feel very natural.

Dubbing voice-over is mainly used for factual programs for off-screen narration and over sound. This technique is less expensive because it does not require the same precision and involved process as lip syncing.  

This is a great dubbing example that shows how quality dubbing can make a foreign-language video more accessible to other audiences.

2. Corporate Video and Presentations

The corporate world deals with a large volume of video materials such as training materials, presentations, and human resources videos.

So, what is a voice-over presentation? This technique is used to make corporate presentations and videos more widely available to users speaking different languages.

Generally speaking, these projects require voice artists to maintain a professional tone and discuss subjects like job opportunities and workplace behaviour.

This Blackberry worldwide project highlights that when the narration is done correctly, the finished product can be extremely polished and high-quality.

Discover Voice-Over Types

Discover the wide range of voice-over types and examples with GoLocalise’s expertise.

3. Promo Videos

Promotional videos for corporates and brands can be localised in any language and made accessible to viewers in different countries. This is crucial for companies selling their products and services in the global market.

Promotional videos like this one can deliver your brand messaging and promotional content to viewers around the world.

4. E-Learning Videos

Universities and educational institutions around the world are increasingly turning towards the e-learning model. With this shift comes an increasing need for professionally created educational videos that deliver informational content to viewers in their own language.

E-learning videos and courses that are professionally created with the help of talented voice actors can make the material more engaging for viewers. This digital marketing video showcases how e-learning can be made interesting and engaging.

E-learning Voice Over Service

5. Educational Videos

Other than universities, schools, and educational institutions, educational and explainer videos by corporates, non-profits, and other organizations can also benefit from professional voice-over services. Any video that delivers educational information can be localised and made available to viewers in any language.

This educational anti-malaria video is a prime example of how to increase the potential reach of videos to wider markets.

6. On-Hold Messages/IVR

When callers call a company for support services, complaints, or questions, the first thing they hear is the IVR message. On-hold or IVR messages set the tone and improve engagement with the company, so it is important that your message sounds professional.

Professional voiceovers that are tailored to suit the specific needs and tone of your brand will enhance the customer’s experience.

7. Character and Video Games

Video games are a growing industry with countless genres that require creative voice narration. The character’s voice and tone in video games and the way they interact is a crucial part of any game, setting the tone and making the experience more immersive.

Characters make a video game memorable, and a character’s voice is an important part of the personality of any character.

Video Games Voice Over Service

8. Commercial Voice Over

Commercial voice overs are crucial for creating impactful advertisements. They bring life to the product or service being advertised, ensuring the message is persuasive and memorable. This technique is essential for brands looking to make a strong impression in a short amount of time.

Commercial Voice Over Service

9. Animation & Cartoon projects

Voice overs in animations and cartoons give characters personality and depth, making them relatable and memorable. The right voice can transform a simple character into an iconic one, essential for creating engaging and entertaining content.

10. Movie trailer voice over

The voice-over in a movie trailer sets the tone and builds anticipation, acting as a critical element in attracting audiences. A well-executed voice over can captivate viewers, providing a glimpse into the movie’s mood and style, and is key in generating excitement for the upcoming release.

Movie Trailer Voice Over Services

What is the difference between voice-over and voice acting?

Voice over and voice acting are usually used as synonyms, referring to the act of recording an audio clip of speech. However, some producers make a difference between both concepts, using voice over to refer to its use in documentaries, commercials and promotional material, and voice acting specifically to productions involving characters, like movies, video games and animations that require actors and actresses to make use of their creativity, expressiveness, and characterisation skills.

Is it Voiceover or voice-over?

Although the dictionary says that the correct option is voice-over people in the industry also call it voice over and voiceover. That’s what, from the point of view of usage, all three versions are acceptable. We suggest sticking to the option your voice over agency uses to stay in line with them.

Start Your Project with the Perfect Voice

If you’re looking to bring your project to life with professional voice-over services, understanding the importance of a perfect voice is key. Every project, be it commercial, educational, or entertainment, requires a distinct and engaging voice to truly connect with the audience.

Contact GoLocalise for an in-depth consultation with our voice-over experts. As a leading voice-over agency in the industry, we offer the expertise and studio facilities necessary to help you organise and budget your voice-over project effectively. Let us guide you through the process and find the ideal voice to elevate your project.

Explore our Voice Over Rates and learn how we can tailor our services to your specific needs.

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