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Understanding the Process of Audio Localization

Audio localization is a substantial element for most multimedia localization projects. This blog will list the steps in the process of audio localization and provide some tips and suggestions for audio localization. After reading this blog I hope you will find it is less daunting to start your multimedia localization projects.

  1. Preparing the script: When you prepare the content for recording, one of the most important things to do is to make sure the script is internationalized. Sometimes this is referred to as creating an international English version of the script that is more easily translated or localized. So you may decide to re-write the script to make it as generic as possible and eliminate any locale specific concepts, stories, jokes, etc…that are only applicable to the source locale.Audio-localization
  2. Selecting appropriate voice(s) for the project: If you already have the audio recorded in your source language, it usually means that you or someone has gone through the process to pick the gender and dynamic of the voice that is suitable for the video and topic. In that case, you can simply send the source audio sample to your localization vendors so that they can send you similar voices in the target languages. If you have internal language resources available, it is strongly suggested to let your native speakers review and approve the voices.  If your budget is limited and the content is e-learning, presentation or training related with rather lengthy scripts, you may consider using “semi-professional” voice talent to save some cost.  Some localization providers based in multi-cultural cities would have access to reach native speakers who have great annunciation and intonation even though they are not professional voice talents.
  3. Localizing the scripts: Once the source script is ready for translation, be prepared to answer any questions the linguists may have in order to achieve the best translation quality.  Please note that if you did not edit the script or internationalize as we mentioned in Step 1, your translation agency partner will do so as they provide the localization (transcreation or copywriting) for the script. As previously mentioned, script internationalization is crucial, and copywriting is the other necessary step to ensure the translation is done properly.
    NOTE: One mechanical aspect or the audio localization process that I should mention here is that it is a common starting point to have your translation agency transcribe your final English audio script in order to get a written script as many times the initial written script does not reflect what was finally recorded.
  4. Review and approve the script: Before starting the recording process, please take the time and have your reviewer go through the translated script thoroughly. It will be more expensive and time consuming to go back and re-record because the review was not done carefully.
  5. Communicate specs for narration and engineering: Please communicate your expectations for the narration and engineering specifics.  For the narration, let the vendor know the speed, emphasis, and dynamic. If you the text needs to be recorded in certain time frame, please communicate this at the very beginning of the project. Also specify engineering details, such as the wave range, hard limit, normalize, and the file format (.wav or .mp3 for example) for delivery.
  6. Audio recording: If the previous steps were well executed, the actual audio recording should go quickly and smoothly. Please note that the voice talents can only talk for so long within a day. If they talk longer than 3 hours, the quality of the voice will suffer. So plan your recording sessions in a way most efficient and comfortable for the voice talent.
  7. Quality assurance: This is the final step before the delivery. Once the audio files are edited according to the engineering specs, a native speaker or the voice talent should go through each file to make sure everything is recorded correctly and appropriate pauses are inserted wherever necessary.

There are more challenges in audio localization projects than regular translation projects. Please refer to our other GPI blogs regarding multimedia localization:

Additional resources on elearning Localization services

GPI, a premiere translation company, provides comprehensive localization and translation services for eLearning and training courses. Our Audio localization team will help you translate your eLearning courses and presentations in all languages.