Multilingual Voice Over Archives - Into23

What is NLG and how does it work with the Natural Language Process (NLP)?

NLG is a type of AI and language translation technology that is becoming more prominent in business platforms.

NLG standards for Natural Language Generation and it is changing the way we interact with machines and the way businesses gather data. What is NLG exactly, and what makes it different from other technologies? With the compound annual growth rate of the NLG market expected to reach 1.6 billion dollars by 2027, you need to know about NLG.

What is NLG?

Chatbot

A chatbot, which is often used for FAQ portions of websites and customer support, is one type of NLG. – Photo by mohamed_hassan on Pixabay

NLG is a type of AI that automatically processes data into sentences and stories, in either written or narrative form, in a way that’s easy for us humans to understand. The NLG can take massive amounts of data from pre-set templates to form a sentence, reply, or inquiry that reads like a natural human conversation. This data and our inputted responses to this data create and add to a database of information that businesses and researchers can use to improve a process or product. 

When is NLG used?

Alexa

Any time you beckon Alexa or Siri, an NLG has been used to create that product and experience – Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

NLG is being used for a vast array of applications, and chances are that you’re already encountering and engaging with this technology daily. Here are a few broad ways that both businesses and consumers use NLG,

  • Chatbots or conversational AI assistants – Used on websites and business platforms to automatically answer customer inquiries. The advanced use of NLG carries a two-way conversation and responds to verbal commands. Examples are platforms Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana. 
  • Machine translation tools – Tools that translate one language to another, such as Google Translate.
  • AI blog writers – Used for content creation. The NLG uses one language model and data set to write sentences and full-length articles. 
  • Analytics – The NLG is created to detail insights from business data and reports, such as financial reports and spreadsheets and put it all into a format or narrative that’s easy to understand for businesses and their customers. 
  • Automated leading emails and messages – This NLG creates predictive text for users when writing in emails and messaging platforms. 
  • AI transcription tools – With speech recognition, the NLG takes audio and turns it into text.
  • Semantic analysis A platform used to determine what language best resonates and reaches a specific audience of which the NLG is used to create messages to which the customer is likely to respond.  

NLG has become one of the translation solutions used by global businesses as part of their website localization, eLearning translation and more. NLG is used as part of the machine translation post-editing process used by international translation companies and translation agencies online

How the Natural Language Process (NLP) works

Computer AI

NLP is a series of Ais that work in a relationship with a user to create and exchange of information that benefits the user and the business.. – Photo by geralt on Pixabay

 

NLP is a blanket term that refers to NLG and Natural Language Understanding (NLU). NLP is a framework that converts unstructured data to structured data. NLU is the ability of a machine to use syntactic and semantic analysis to gather meaning from a piece of text or speech. It is the NLG that allows devices to create content from the NLU data content. In short, NLU lets a computer understand what data the user is giving it. At the same time, NLG provides data back to the user from the computer in a way the user can understand, thus the Natural Language Process.

Making an NLG requires several steps and a substantial amount of NLU data to create content that resonates and sounds natural. Whether it’s a chatbot or a machine translation tool, these are some of the steps and considerations that go into making an NLG,

  • Content analysis – This step analyses data to identify the main topics that should be included and what the result of the process is expected to be.  
  • Data interpretation – As patterns are identified, they are put into context for machine learning.
  • Document structure and sentence aggregation A document is created along with a narrative structure with the interpreted data. From there, relevant sentences are isolated and combined to depict the topic accurately. 
  • Grammar – Grammar rules, along with the syntactical structure of the source language, are added to ensure that the text sounds natural.
  • Final output – The final output is presented in a template or format of the programmer’s selection. Such as a message from a chatbot, a piece of the translated text, an audio reply for personal assistant devices etc. 

The Future of NLG

Woman on phone transit

NLG is used in a variety of apps and processes on our phones. – Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

NLG has created ways for businesses to communicate data efficiently and effectively, which increases productivity and reduces business costs. It presents data and information in an accessible manner while collecting big data that will lead to specific insights into a business. NLG has been used in different business industries, from insurance, retail, finance, media, eLearning platforms, eCommerce and eCommerce translation, manufacturing, translation management and more. 

While technology has come a long way, NLG is still limited compared to real human writing and semantics. NLG can only act on the NLU data, which, currently, doesn’t stack up to the ingenuity of human writing and content, which makes the quality of NLG content one of its biggest weak points. NLG, however, is not without its merit as the NLP is superb at generating human insights from big data, especially at a volume that we, as humans, are not capable of producing. As NLG can be used in various markets, it is a valuable tool that can be used in many ways for any business. Take translation and localization, for example.

For businesses that want translation and localization services to expand into other global markets, NLG is an important part of a quality translation. Translators use machines to help expedite the translation process and fine-tune it with their human expertise. This process is called machine translation post-editing.

Related: Machine, mind, or machine and mind: how to best deploy today’s machine translation solutions

Into23 provides translation management and translation solutions that cater to your business. Into23 can help you use an NLG in multiple languages for your business; whether it’s a customer support chatbot or transcription services for a voice assistant, Into23 can help your customers interact with your business better.

Getting started with gaming translation and gaming translation services

Gaming has gone global, meaning that if you want your game to be successful, it’s time to localize. 

Worth more than $300 billion and with an estimated 2.7 billion gamers worldwide, to say the gaming industry is big is a slight understatement. With the increased means of online gaming and the ability to play with others from various regions across the globe, companies have had to step up and improve their customer experience and look towards multilingual translation services and player support.

Gaming localization, however, isn’t as straightforward as a website localization strategy. The interactive and visual aspect of gaming makes the translation process of games much more complicated. While gaming localization and multilingual player support may be more extensive, it is necessary to have a game reach the global market.

Why gaming localization and translation are important and why it’s different

Candy crush

Gamers and the gaming industry vary vastly depending on what part of the world you’re in. – Photo by Beata Dudová from Pexels

Expanding a game globally is essential to ensure the game’s success and longevity but knowing this aspect is just one of many challenges with gaming localization. A game that is poorly localized will feel the wrath of the gamers that have played it and can demolish all the hard work that has gone into the game’s creation.  

The video game market is expansive and widely different depending on what part of the world you’re in. For example, the popularity of different video game platforms, such as PC, console or mobile, varies by region. Currently, the top three video game markets worldwide are China ($40.95 billion), the US ($36.92 billion) and Japan (18.68 billion), but each of these regions tends to favour different platforms. Consoles are popular within English-speaking countries like the US, but they are harder to attain in other markets, whereas in China, mobile games rank at the top of the most played. These differences make cracking into these gaming markets challenging as release strategies and various localization strategies and support are needed.

Once you’ve decided where to expand, you need to consider all of the aspects of the game that need to be catered to for that market so that your gamers get the best experience. Gamer engagement is key to keeping people playing, spending money, and coming back for more, so any blunders in the localization process change the experience for your gamers and potentially result in poor sales and retention. 

Examples of successful and unsuccessful game localizations

Geralt of Rivia figurine

Geralt and his story are recognised worldwide. Can your game have the same impact? – Photo by Kasun Asanka on Unsplash

Translation blunders have brought failure for even the biggest companies, and the gaming market is no exception. With the direction that gaming is going, especially with most games having some online aspect to them, gaming translation and localization and refinement are quickly becoming tied to a game’s success.

Related: Words that altered history – translation blunders in international relations

The Witcher 3: Wild HuntAn example of how gaming localization should be done.

CD Project Red did such a masterful job of localizing the Witcher 3 that this 2015 game still holds sway today and is one of the company’s selling games with many active players. Its effective localization was executed so well that it could pass for a locally-made game. Gaming translation services and proper translation management were used for each specific market that the game was released. The production crews even temporarily moved to where the game was being localized to create a truly authentic local experience. The game’s voice-over local accuracy has been one of its most highly regarded features. 

The success of this game is a testament to the power of an organized and properly executed localization strategy.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Gaming translation at its weakest.

For a gaming series as large as Call of Duty, Activision should have known better. There was a massively controversial translation error in this game that became so notorious that it’s still held up as a standard of what not to do with gaming localization. 

When Modern Warfare 2 came out in 2009, there was a mission in which one of the characters said, “Remember, no Russian” this was to remind the character not to speak the language. In the Japanese version of the game, however, this quote was translated to “Kill them. They’re Russians”. This translation was so controversial that Sony Russia decided not to release the game in its Playstation store. While this quote was the most notorious, the game was, overall, so poorly translated that gamers often had to ask for additional assistance to get through missions. The game has since been remastered to fix these mistakes, but the errors of the initial release are not likely to be forgotten.  

Taking the time to find the right translation solutions for your game will help to avoid disasters like this one.   

Common aspects involved in gaming translation

Knowing what translation aspects are needed for your game is essential, as gaming is an immersive, interactive, and media-rich experience that requires much more than a mere translation to be understood and appreciated by a new audience. Will your game’s story carry the same meaning or impact in a new culture or region? Does that culturally-specific joke mean the same thing in another country? Will the game’s imagery create the same atmosphere for a different culture? Do you require foreign language voice-over talent or foreign language transcription services? What about customer service access in multiple languages? 

Here is a brief list of the most common aspects of gaming translation to consider,

  • Visuals: All graphics, images, videos, artwork, and advertisements.
  • Text: Subtitles, the user interface menus, captions.
  • Audio: Multilingual voice-over recordings or dubbing for all speech and narratives.

Related: How to find the perfect voice for your multilingual voice over

It’s also easy to miss items such as the game’s social media pages and forums, customer service pages and contacts, marketing materials and advertising (digital and print), product packaging such as instruction manuals and user guides, localized product pricing, and website localization for the game.

Even with this short list, it’s obvious how much work is needed to ensure a quality translation and localization of a game.

Steps to prepare for gaming localization

PC Gamer

From PC to console gaming, a solid global strategy and setup should be considered. – Photo by Sean Do on Unsplash

If you’re ready to localize your game and don’t know where to get started, here are a few ways you can prepare for gaming localization,

  • Decide your gaming market and language: This is a big decision and should be based on the type of game you have and the amount of translation you require. For example, if you have a mobile game, the Chinese market would be a great place to look at localizing. Still, then you need to decide if you’re going to localize in Hong Kong or the Mainland, as each of these regions uses a different form of written Chinese.
  • Choosing a content translation services partner: Like it or not, proper translation management is essential. A translation partner is the key to getting the most authentically localized game possible. Partner with a translation agency that knows your region and goals and let them help you manage the process to get the best results.
  • Documentation preparation: Consider all aspects of the game. There may be legal agreements needing legal translation, so it’s important to gather all essential documents for the translation process. Prepare a translation kit that includes LSP agreements, workflows, test plans, style guides, glossary key terms etc.
  • Budget for misunderstandings and extra quality assurance: Have an established budget and guide that includes extra for gaming localization services, any potential misunderstandings, and extra quality assurance testing. International translation companies can help you develop a realistic budget for your localization goals.
  • Get gamer feedback: If your game is already on the market, reach out to your players and see what features they would like to have or what they feel is missing so that you can consider that when localizing. 

At Into23, we offer gaming translation services and expertise for any language and region. Make us a part of your game’s global success with our high-quality translations and expert translation management to help make your game the next big thing. Ready player one? Contact us today to get started.

How Voice Actors Helped “Netflix” Expand Their Business to 190 Countries?

Scene 1

The era Booming of Localisation

Today the most popular American subscription streaming service, Netflix, caters to more than 190 countries! But how did it manage to accomplish that? With popular dubbed shows like Bridgerton and Stranger Things, the voice talent industry is helping Netflix expand its services to more countries. The Spanish hit “Money Heist” has also been dubbed in numerous local languages. Many countries love consuming this Spanish original in regional accents as they prefer dubbed shows over subtitles. 

Netflix

The pandemic brought covid protocols and several travel restrictions to our lives; however, it couldn’t restrict the audiences from virtually traveling to witness new cultures via Web/TV shows. You may have noticed the massive popularity of action-packed anime. It is a testimony to how easily audiences can welcome content from different countries. According to a recent report, more than 50% of global viewers on Netflix watch anime, and these numbers seem to be on the rise. Japanese Dubbed series like Naruto and Fullmetal Alchemist has also received immense love worldwide.  

Netflix watch anime

These dubbed shows have put Netflix’s content in the front and center. Do you want to know more about dubbing? The dubbing process involves recording an alternative audio version of the content with a different voice. Although dubbing is quite similar to translation, the process is intricate and demands precision. It isn’t about repeating the same words in the local tongue; combining the right context and local flavor is the game! When content from different locations is localised, it allows audiences to enjoy the same thrill and adventure. 

Well, thanks to thousands of translation and localisation professionals who help us curate more localised content! Today many big streaming services have great opportunities for skilled localisation talent as they understand how translation and localisation professionals can help them deliver content to global audiences.

Scene 2

Make Your Business Talk like a “Local.”

If your business wants to go global, you must engage with your target audience as a “local.” Your brand voice should resonate naturally with its target customers and must communicate in their local language. According to a report, 70% of users feel more loyal to brands that provide support in their native language. Therefore it’s pretty evident how critical localised communication has become.

To achieve this, your brand needs a localisation strategy. Localisation is about translation, but it is also more than just translation! Talking to a customer in their native language requires you to maintain the right context, cultural relevance, terminology, and tone.

Voiceover
If implemented correctly, you can position your business to attract specific market segments. Due to these reasons, today, many businesses aim for multilingual and localised communication via video and audio content. Quite similar to what Netflix did, in the same manner, they want to engage with their prospects, customers, employees, and partners. 

They want to translate their digital content, but they also consider localising their audio and video content using voiceovers for the different languages. 

For instance, there is a surge in demand for voice-over work in eLearning content. Traditionally, eLearning courses were long-form, most from 30 minutes to an hour. However, today, more and more eLearning courses are available in short, bite-sized chunks to allow learners to consume them at their own pace.  The rise in demand for voice-over in the eLearning industry is evident in the growth of demand for eLearning voice-over. 

The demand for voice-over services is also rising in the corporate sector. Many companies have adopted new working models like the hybrid working model (home working/office working). Offering online eLearning training content to their employees is great for increasing employee engagement. We expect eLearning training to continue to grow, leading to increased demand for localised voice-over services.

voice-over services

The Interval

The role of Voice-Over Artists in the Whole Scenario

A professional voice-over artist can help businesses add a dialect and overtone to their content to which the local audience can connect. An expert voice-over artist can help companies understand the different approaches used in the local language and then incorporate them into their content. Standard dialects and visuals can allure more potential buyers and build a stronger connection with the audience, increasing revenue. Let’s briefly specify the benefits of working with voice-over translation.

  • More Box Office Collection: More local clients & sales

According to Harvard Business Review, 72.4% of customers say they are more likely to buy from a brand if the information regarding a product is in their native language. It shows that you can even boost your sales by using the power of voice-over translation; you can attract more local or native clients and boost your sales. A local customer will be more interested in interacting with any kind of information if it is presented in their local language. Therefore, if you plan to target a foreign market with a different language, you must use voice-over experts to make this expansion successful. 

Box Office Collection

  • Wider Fanbase: Reach a broader customer base

If your target audience is not limited to a single language, try reaching out to them in a different language. Consider multilingual voice-over translation services to reap the maximum benefits. With this type of translation, you can reach a broader audience base. Promoting the video in the native language will no longer be confined to language barriers.

Behind The Scenes

Into23 voice-over Translation Process

A standard voice-over translation process is not as simple as it sounds. Precise and accurate voice-over translation requires both detailing and the skill of a professional. During translation, accuracy is of utmost importance because even a single mistake can change the entire meaning of the video. The translation process begins with transcribing the original audio content of the video. There is no way one can translate the content without going through the script. 

Into23’s voice-over services involve script transcription, where needed, translation of the script; we also record the translation in different versions. Professional translators conduct the translation process, and professional voice actors do the voice. 

Into23 works with voice actors that primarily use their home studio. How does that benefit our clients? It allows our team to offer services at economical prices, offering a price that is more competitive than high-end professional recording studios. We must clarify that we do not target voice-overs for the movie or TV industry as these do require these high-end recording studios. 

The Climax

The typical process of Voice-Over Translation

Firstly, we consider the type of voice our client is looking for, e.g., age group, accent, male or female? Our team offers 4 to 6 voice samples matching the profile; the client then chooses their preferred voice. Once the voice-over artist is shortlisted, we provide them with a brief. Our brief includes the following things: 

  1. Voice style: in general, eLearning will be conversational. But because the courses are long, the conversational tone needs to be engaging.
  2. Pronunciation: Guide for any brand names or unusual words/terms.
  3. Audio recording specification: We specify whether we want 16-bit audio, 24-bit, or 32-bit audio files. The usual is 16-bit.
  4. Audio sample rate: The usual sample rate is 44.1 kHz for eLearning but 48 kHz for dubbing/video.
  5. Channel: Mono or Stereo channel. The usual for eLearning is Mono.
  6. File format: MP4, Wav, or MP3?

The Different phases of Voice-over translation

Voice-over translation

Phase 1: The artist records the script. 

Phase 2: During the post-processing of the recorded script, the professionals remove pauses, breaks, verbal ticks, or noises. 

Phase 3: They also validate the script recording to ensure accuracy. Re-recording is requested if any parts need correction. For eLearning courses, we split the audio files following the flow of the course.

Phase 4: We also take client feedback and implement the necessary modification due to script changes, pronunciation change requests, etc. Into23 allows 2 to 3 rounds of corrections.

Into23’s pricing model:

Our pricing model depends on the length of the script or the final audio length (in minutes). Voice-over actors charge per final audio minute. However, we estimate the final length after recording; we prefer to quote based on script length in words.

  •   Up to 10 mins of audio is less than 1500 words.
  •   30 mins of audio is a script between 3000 and 4500 words
  •   1 hour of audio is a script between 7500 and 9000 words.

The Cast

Different Categories of Voice-Over Translation

Voice replacement

One of the most common voice-over translation services within video content is voice replacement. Engineers mute the original audio, and the voice-over artist replaces the verbal content with his voice in the native language. One of the biggest challenges of this type of voice-over translation is matching the speed and delivery of the original voice. For example, there must be an emphasis on specific points in the original voice, some pauses, or breaks. It becomes difficult for the new speaker to match it accurately in such cases. 

The UN-style

Another voice-over translation service within video content is the UN-style. There are videos where both the original voice and the audience’s native language need to be heard. The UN-style translation never replaces the original speaker as the native language is just spoken over. 

The audience can easily hear the original voice for the first couple of seconds, followed by the native language voice. The sound of the native language usually surpasses the original speaker. It is helpful if you wish your audience to relate to the original voice. 

Off-screen voice over

This type of translation is ubiquitous in the eLearning realm. All the voices used over the translation are usually heard off-screen in this sector. The user can simply keep following the on-screen animations and texts.

Many international translation companies provide off-screen voice over. It is also the most straightforward type of translation since it requires only a single actor as the new language just needs to be synced. 

Dubbing

Dubbing might be the most recognisable type of translation. If you want the video to look like it has been initially shot in the native language, then dubbing is the right option. By the look of things, dubbing makes the video look more relatable in terms of the native language. 

For this, you have to choose from international translation companies as dubbing might be one of the most effective types of voice-over translations, but at the same time, it is challenging to implement. 

The End

Future Plans?

The future of voice-over translation will be a combination of AI and human voice recording. AI-generated voice recordings will allow a voice-over actor to produce a recording quickly, then edit it to correct any mispronunciations or other errors in the generated audio file. Into23 is also planning to offer synthetic voice recording services by 2023. We shall collaborate with some of our voice actors to provide this as a service. It will result in faster turnarounds, guaranteed high-quality output, and lower costs. For more details regarding our voice-over translation services, contact our experts now!

Get Better Results when reaching a Chinese Audience

Important things to consider if you’re localizing your business in Chinese

Chinese is one of the most important business languages. It is second only to English in terms of being the most spoken, so here are a few important things to know while creating your localization strategy.

With a large population and a growing number of middle-class consumers, the Chinese market has been a new hotspot for businesses. The Chinese market can be a successful market for your business if it’s done right. It’s easier than ever to crack this market with the growth of technology, online shopping, eCommerce translation services, and eLearning platforms. However, there are some major points to consider if you want to localize for a Chinese area or region, as there are many pitfalls when localizing to Chinese.

localize my business in chinese - hong kong

Hong Kong signs – Photo by Katie Manning on Unsplash

History of the Chinese language and its different types

Chinese is an old and diverse language. In mainland China alone, around 70 million people belong to 55 different minority groups, each with their dialect and some that don’t even have a distinguishable written form. However, with the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Mandarin was chosen as the official language of the country. Today, more than 70% of the Chinese population speaks Mandarin. 

Written Chinese

localize my business in chinese - calligraphy

Calligraphy – Photo by chuanyu2017 on Pixabay

Written Traditional Chinese is around 6000 years old and is the oldest written language in the world. Cantonese speakers generally still use these characters, as do Mandarin speakers in Taiwan. Mandarin speakers in China use Simplified Chinese characters. Simplified characters have been around significantly less than their traditional counterpart as they were formalized at the beginning of the People’s Republic of China. The People’s Republic of China was formed in 1949, and at the time, the majority of Chinese could not read or write. To improve literacy, Mao Zedong initiated a new system of Simplified Chinese, simplifying around 2000 Chinese characters by reducing the number of strokes used for each character. Simplified Chinese was first used in 1956

While there are various spoken dialects of Chinese, these are the two major forms of writing. This is handy as even if the spoken dialect is different, Chinese can generally communicate through writing. 

Different dialects

Seven major dialects are used in China and its Special Administrative Regions (SARs). To reach the Chinese market with your business, you need to know where your target market is and what Chinese form is used there.

Dialect Region Spoken
Mandarin (Putonghua) Most of mainland China, Taiwan, Macau
Cantonese/Yue Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou (Canton), and Wuzhou.
Min Fujian province and parts of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Hainan, and Taiwan
Wu Zhejiang province, Shanghai, southern Jiangsu province, parts of Anhui and Jiangxi provinces.
Xiang Most of the Hunan province, the counties of Quanzhou, Guanyang, Ziyuan, and Xing’an, northeastern Guangxi province.
Gan Jiangxi province
Hakka Northeastern Guangdong, adjoining regions of Fujian, Jiangxi, Southern Hunan, and the older generations of Hong Kongers in the New Territories. In Taiwan, Hakka is spoken by some in the Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli parts of the country.

Related: What’s the Difference Between Mandarin and Cantonese?

Important considerations regarding the different dialect types

  • Cantonese is the main dialect spoken in Hong Kong. Traditional Chinese characters are used for writing. While many Hong Kongers can speak Mandarin and use Simplified Chinese characters, if you are localizing for this region, you should consider using Cantonese and Traditional Chinese characters.
  • In Taiwan, they speak Mandarin and write with Traditional Chinese characters. Both Taiwan and mainland China use Mandarin, but they have developed different terminology and writing styles.  

All of this variation within the Chinese language necessitates using the best Chinese translation services company to guarantee that sufficient research is done to develop a translation and localization plan that matches your strategy for entering this lucrative market.

Things to consider when creating a localization strategy for Chinese 

localize my business in chinese - tiananmen square

Tiananmen Square – Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

Know the culture, know your audience, and identify your primary dialect and region

Like any good localization strategy, you need to know your target audience, its culture, its language, and the things your target market values. You’ll need to consider how your brand voice and whether this will resonate with a Chinese audience. Can you directly translate your brand content, or will you need to consider a more creative translation, a transcreation, to convey your brand voice? As China is diverse, with differences across the regions, high-quality translation services can help you achieve your marketing strategy.  An experienced translation agency can help you avoid cultural mishaps and translation errors.

Learn from past successes and failures 

Learn from the companies who have attempted and accessed the market already. Localizing in China is challenging, and even some of the biggest names have failed after not performing thorough market research. Learning from what has worked with brands that are similar to yours can help narrow your research and expedite your localization strategy.

Related: The Top 10 Translation Blunders in Advertising 

Use local social media and eCommerce platforms

Mainland China uses various social media and eCommerce platforms that are not used or are less popular in other countries. Baidu is the search engine used by most people, with platforms such as WeChat for social media and eCommerce payments. Other social media platforms include Qzone, Renren and P1. In Hong Kong, western social media platforms are popular, and a variety of eCommerce platforms, from the Octopus card to PayMe, are used to pay for products online. 

Use expert multilingual translation services

It should be apparent by now the importance of localization and translation services when expanding your business globally, especially into Chinese markets. Navigating any new market is challenging, so take the guesswork out of your localization strategy and get the assistance of translation and localization experts. 

Into23 is a translation agency in Hong Kong offering localization and translation services. We are experts in Asian languages. Reach out to Into23 today to discuss your business localization strategy to set yourself up for success in the Chinese markets.

Voiceover Translation the New Norm for Business

Voice Over Equipment

Content is no longer King; it has become the whole kingdom. A wide range of content is available for consumption in the digital era, especially video-based content. Video-based content is the most used form in marketing; it is also the most consumed. More than 85% of social media users demand videos from brands, and around 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. All this shows the dominance of video on the digital platform. 

Every successful business must strive to achieve global excellence; however, they must appear to be native to their target audience. Their brand voice should resonate with the common person. For that, they must utilize the power of localization. Localizing the content, especially videos, you promote on all platforms can significantly increase brand growth. That is how translation plays a critical role in alluring the audience worldwide. One of the most used forms of translation is voice-over translation within video content. 

Voice-over translation includes transforming the audio of the content you are promoting according to the culture of the native audience. For voice-over translation, one needs a linguistic expert who knows how to translate the foreign language into the local language and a voice-over artist who is well-versed with different languages. 

With the help of a voice-over artist, you can add a dialect and overtone to your content to which the local audience can connect. An expert voice-over artist can help you understand the different approaches used in the local language and then incorporate the same into your content. 

Standard dialects and visuals can allure more potential buyers and build a stronger connection with the audience, increasing revenue. So, let’s delve into the world of voice-over translation and understand it better. 

What are the benefits of voice-over translation?

Access to a broader network

If your target audience is not confined within a single language boundary, try reaching out to them in a different language. Consider multilingual voice-over translation services to reap the maximum benefits. With this type of translation, you can reach a much wider audience base. By promoting the video in the native language, you will no more be confined to language barriers.

More affordable than in-person interpreting

In-person interpreting is not a practical option, especially for small and medium-sized businesses and large companies targeting large masses through video-based content. In most cases, in-person interpreting can become a highly expensive option for an organization. 

While on the other side, you have to pay a nominal fee in the case of voice-over translation. Then, your video will be ready to be promoted on every social media platform and every other digital medium. There will be no hidden fee or extra charges in the case of voice-over translation. 

Help boost sales

According to Harvard Business Review, 72.4% of customers say they are more likely to buy from a brand if the information regarding a product is in their native language. It shows that you can even boost your sales by using the power of voice-over translation; you can attract more local or native clients and boost your sales. 

A local customer will be more interested in interacting with any kind of information if it is presented in their local language. Therefore, if you plan to target a foreign market with a different language, you must use voice-over experts to make this expansion successful. 

Types of voice-over translation

Voice replacement

One of the most common voice-over translation services within video content is voice replacement. The original audio is muted, and the voice-over artist replaces the verbal content with his voice in the native language. 

One of the biggest challenges of this type of voice-over translation is matching the speed and delivery of the original voice. For example, there must be an emphasis on certain points in the original voice, some pauses, or breaks. It becomes difficult for the new speaker to match it accurately in such cases. 

The UN-style

The other most common voice-over translation service within video content is the UN-style. There are many videos where both the original voice and the audience’s native language need to be heard, like in the case of eLearning videos. The UN-style translation never replaces the original speaker as the native language is just spoken over. 

The audience can easily hear the original voice for the first couple of seconds, followed by the native language voice. The sound of the native language usually surpasses the original speaker. This is helpful if you wish your audience to relate to the original voice. 

The instructional style

In this type of voice-over translation, the performer is given more freedom to express the words as there are no scripts used in this case. This style includes only a voice-over artist interpreting the video in the native language. 

The voice-over artist is just asked to explain whatever is happening on the screen. Therefore, the voice-over artist can use his expertise in expressing the on-screen ongoing in the most native form possible. It is also an effective technique if you want your video to be in the best form of the native language. 

Full actor translation

Full actor translation is not as common as the UN-style voice replacement. Several self-proclaimed “best translation services companies do not provide this service. In this technique, the company decides to re-shoot the entire video with a new native linguistic expert, and he replaces the English-speaking speaker on screen. 

This type of replacement occurs in the green screen environment as it becomes easy to replace the original speaker. The main reason why this technique is not so alluring for companies is that it can be a bit costly. But if you have the budget, this can also be the most effective translation technique. 

Off-screen voice over

This type of translation is ubiquitous in the eLearning realm. All the voices used over the translation are usually heard off-screen in this sector. The user can simply keep following the on-screen animations and texts.

Many international translation companies provide off-screen voice over. You should go with this type of translation only when the video is not played. It is also the most simple type of translation since it requires only a single actor as the new language just needs to be synced. 

Dubbing

This might be the most recognizable type of translation. It is widely used in movies. If you want the video to look like it has been originally shot in the native language, then dubbing is the right option. By the look of things, dubbing makes the video look more pristine in terms of the native language. 

For this, you have to choose from international translation companies as dubbing might be one of the most effective types of voice-over translations, but at the same time, it is difficult to implement. 

The voice-over translation process

The voice-over translation process is not as simple as it sounds. A proper voice-over translation requires both details and skills to get the job done professionally. At the same time, it is necessary to be 100% accurate with the translation, as even a single mistake in translation can change the entire meaning of the video. The translation process begins with transcribing the original audio content of the video. There is no way one can translate the content without going through the script. This process is done with utmost precision! 

Actual translation 

After completing the transcribing process, the translation of the original audio into the native language is done. But this is where things can become a little bit tricky. For example, if you want to translate your video for a Chinese audience, it’s fine, but do you need Mandarin or Cantonese? It is something you need to decide first before approaching a voice-over expert. 

Choose the voice-over talent

After the proofreading and script editing of the translated document, the client is usually given an option to choose from the talent pool of voice-over experts. The multilingual translation services company can give you samples based on the gender, language, and style you need. 

Recording, formatting, and syncing 

Finally, the voice-over artist records his voice, then the editor formats it and syncs it. The client is usually given a chance to review the final output so that the solution provider can implement those changes and meet the client’s demand. 

If you want to reach a wide audience base and don’t want to be limited to language barriers, you must choose the best translation management company, such as Into23. We cover all the languages, are equipped with the right tools and experts, and are a customer-centric company that prioritizes the clients’ needs. 

Better business Results with Multilingual Voiceover

How do you find the perfect voice for your multilingual voice over?

When it comes to multilingual voiceovers, depending on what content you’re creating, you need a voice/accent to match. If you’re a Swiss private bank, then a jovial, jokey voice won’t cut it. After all, you’d want to convey trustworthiness and dependability. Likewise, if you’re advertising a sporting event or a pop concert, you wouldn’t want a stuffy, professional-sounding narrator voice. It’d just be too boring. 

But how do you decide? There is a wealth of research on how various voices and accents affect audience engagement. Read on to find out more. 

Accent bias

Whether you like it or not, we live in a hierarchical society. Some people believe that changing your accent is as important as dressing smartly for a job interview. In the UK, received pronunciation, or RP, is the term for what many would call an upper-class accent. BBC broadcasters used to train in this accent to convey authority, hence its ‘BBC English’ moniker. And former prime minister Margaret Thatcher ditched her north Lincolnshire accent and deepened her narrator voice to convey authority in what was then a male-dominated arena. It worked.

Going in the opposite direction, upper-class politicians, such as former UK chancellor George Osbourne, who attended boarding school and Oxford University, have been known to adopt a more working-class accent to appeal to a wider section of the electorate. Comedians have parodied this as a ‘mockney’ accent. But why bother?

Research shows it takes listeners just 30 milliseconds to form an opinion as to what a person’s accent reveals about the speaker’s ethnic and social background. This process comprises an element of bias and assumption. This is bias in action. 

These assumptions can encompass sexuality, ethnic identity, socioeconomic status and even character. Listeners, research shows, react differently to different accents, even if there is no evidence on which to base these assumptions. Knowing how this process works will help you identify which type of narrator voice and accent are most suitable for your content voiceover.

Attitudes to accents

Though we should all try to challenge our unfounded accent biases, the truth is that these prejudices exist and are likely to continue. Accents that are commonly perceived to be standard, whether that’s Beijing accented Mandarin or RP, are perceived to be of higher prestige and thus are better suited for higher-status professional content. 

One element of standard pronunciation that has been proven is that listeners generally think speakers with this accent are smarter than the general population. Pleasantness is also attributed to standard accent speakers. This is true across various cultures. For example, in Singapore, which has a sizeable Chinese population, research shows citizens perceive Taiwanese, Beijing and Singaporean-accented Mandarin differently. Beijing-accented Chinese is viewed more favourably than the local accent. Only a highly experienced multilingual voice-over services provider could advise on the type of accent/voice needed to match the content. 

multilingual voice over

Accents convey a lot of information about the speaker and, therefore the product or service they are talking about

Positive vs negative traits

Discrimination based on accents is very real and is part of what makes us human. After all, when competing with fellow tribes over resources millennia ago, it was important to distinguish which person belonged to what group. 

In the modern day, this is reflected in the numerous polls that seek to find the world’s sexiest or most trustworthy accent. In a recent global poll of 2,500 single men and women, Scottish men (think Outlander) and Spanish women (think Penelope Cruz) were determined to have the world’s sexiest accents, though these findings tend to change with each new survey.

Women favoured the following accents:

Scottish 86%

Irish 77%

Italian 68%

French 61%

Spanish 56%

Brazilian Portuguese 48%

Queen’s English 47%

Australian 35%

South African 29%

Mexican 23%

Men favoured the following accents:

Spanish 88%

Brazilian Portuguese 76%

Australian 72%

French 69%

American 62%

Kiwi 54%

Czech 47%

Italian 43%

Mexican 31%

Scottish 29%

In Asia, one study found that listeners expressed a positive perception of Taiwanese-accented Chinese, even though it is thought of as a non-standard dialect. 

It’s not only the voice that can prompt accent bias. One study found that a person’s face can affect how a listener perceives their voice. This research shows that seeing an Asian face makes American English appear more accented. However, this aspect isn’t so important when it comes to voiceovers. 

multilingual voice over

What accent do you find to be the most trustworthy?

Multilingual voice-over tips

Given the myriad perceptions different voices and accents can convey, an expert voice-over service provider can recommend the perfect match for your content. Most importantly, you’ll need to identify your consumer persona. You need to determine exactly who you want to engage. Is it middle-aged dads, young students, or female retirees? The voice will need to match. Also, you’ll need to align the voice and accent with your product or service. For example, if you’re selling legal or financial services, a deeper standard accent tends to convey authority and dependability. If you’re targeting a younger demographic and your service is music-streaming, a young voice and hip accent are more appropriate. Also, consider the reach of the language and accent/voice. For example, if you’re in Hong Kong, consider whether Mandarin or Cantonese would be the best fit. One consideration to bear in mind is where in China they speak Cantonese. Then you’d need to settle on the accent.

When looking for a voice-over service provider, make sure they can provide a range of voices and accents. You don’t want to be shoe-horned into an inappropriate voice if the service provider doesn’t have a wide enough range on offer. 

If the voiceover is part of a social media marketing campaign, it’s worth considering engaging a popular influencer that appeals to your audience persona. 

Final thoughts

Whether you’re looking at eLearning voice-over or voice-over podcasts, navigating the nuances of voice-overs is much more complicated than first appears. Getting it wrong could result in a waste of resources and a product or service that flops. Seek the advice of an expert and professional voice dubbing service provider. They will be able to determine the right fit for not only the audience segment you’re targeting but for the product or service you are selling and will find the most appropriate narrator’s voice. Whether you’re doing eLearning translation, multilingual SEO, additional dialogue recording or animation production, getting the voice-over right is critical. It is this alignment that determines the success of a voice-over project. Get in touch today to explore your voice-over options.

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6 Steps for effective eLearning translation in Asia

Industry Growth

The eLearning industry is projected to be worth 181 million USD by the end of 2025, with an annual growth rate of 12.26% per year. Driven by the widespread adoption of eLearning platforms by educational institutions and employers around the world, as well as the increased popularity of online course providers, eLearning made the jump from supplementary service to primary platform in 2020.

The industry has continued to grow in 2021, as workplaces expand their online skills training platforms and commercial eLearning providers more effectively engage their users with gamified app experiences, data driven personalized services, advanced modules, microlearning (short bursts of platform access) and content optimization, including the use of audio and video.

The expansion of the eLearning market drives service providers to offer their programs in multiple markets to reach new audiences, which requires the use of eLearning translation services and website localization. The pace of development in the industry has resulted in increasingly complex platforms with more content, which makes effective translation and software localization challenging, considering the scale and scope of material to adapt.

Translations & eLearning

Machine translation services are ineffective in this context, considering the nature of the application. eLearning translation not only requires attention to detail, but also an extensive level of quality assessment in order to ensure that course materials effectively engage users. Linguistic QA specialists can identify and evaluate the lexical and grammatical options which make the difference between efficient progress through course modules and ambiguity that can challenge users’ patience.

eLearning platform design in any language carries inherent cultural connotations. Everything from curriculum planning to content and the layout and user interface has a culturally specific context in the original language and culture that the module is developed for. This comprises the source language and content. There are six elements which make all the difference between successfully adapting to different cultures and lessons ending up lost in translation.

  1. Text
  2. Images
  3. Video
  4. Audio
  5. Layouts
  6. Graphics

Text: The basis for eLearning platforms and modules

Text is the simplest but most important aspect of eLearning translation and software localization. Opting for simple machine translation  is unlikely to provide accuracy, and while machine translation with post-editing ensures a level of quality and consistency, it does not  provide a framework for cultural context and therefore has limited scope for localization.

Cultural context often accounts for variations within same language. For example, people from Hong Kong use an English transliteration for the word strawberry,  (士多啤梨)  while in other regions it is translated as 草莓.

While Cantonese is spoken in Malaysia, local lexical variations arise from from Hokkien, Hakka and Malay influences, which contribute loanwords like (play) which in Hong Kong is written . There are also considerable variations in pronunciation.

Variations in Languages

For eLearning platforms,  the most efficient translation and localization solution when faced with cultural variations within a single language is to identify the most important market and develop the eLearning translation accordingly.

It is important to consider which language to use for localization in Asia: most content localized for the Malaysia market is in English. However, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Mandarin are widely used in Asia.

While there is considerable regional variation in Chinese language usage, the cost effective approach is to develop eLearning translation and localization for the most important market.  Articulate Rise is a widely used course authoring tool for eLearning platform developers. Rise 360 is well suited to text-heavy courses, which can be challenging to translate into multiple languages. We can quickly and efficiently process translation and localization for all courses designed with Articulate Rise.

Audio and Video: professional eLearning voiceover services

Multimedia localization in particular requires a solid understanding of regional and cultural context in the target market, in order for audio and video content to effectively supplement the text. Articulate Storyline is a streamlined multimedia content solution for eLearning platforms, and we can effectively process and translate all assets from Storyline 360 projects.

elearning voiceover services and multimedia localization

Localizing the text provides a basis for the eLearning voice over, which should also be developed for the most important market.

Planning, developing and organizing a workflow for high quality translation of text, video and audio between completely different languages requires expertise and experience with  providing localization and translation services.

Images: Visual learning and culture

Visual content in images and video should also be assessed for cultural relevance. While American Football imagery effectively conveys concepts to North American audiences and translates reasonably well in Europe, it may distract Asian learners who are less familiar with the sport and might not intuitively grasp concepts illustrated with quarterbacks and goalposts. Sports like soccer and tennis are more culturally neutral and help make content more easily localized across markets.

Layouts and Graphics: The culture of colour, and how it affects UX

Image and text elements should also be maintained separately, in order to avoid difficulties with translating and localizing images with text. Videos should ideally have captions set up as distinct elements in order to streamline translated versions. The design language for video caption and user interfaces should ideally provide a degree of flexibility, because colours have different associations in different regions and cultures.

Colour Variations

For example, the colour red indicates passion in Western cultures, while it is associated with prosperity and luck in Asian cultures. In South Asia, the colour the colour orange is associated with the Hindu religion, while in the Middle East, green is associated with Islam. Streamlining colour configuration settings makes for an efficient eLearning localization strategy. Designing elements with flexibility and configurability in mind is an important step for eLearning platforms to take so that they can effectively translate their content for different markets with software localization services and expert translation services. Another efficient approach is to opt for culturally neutral design elements in order to effectively serve a wider eLearning audience.

eLearning translation and eLearning localization go hand in hand. Unlike legal language translation services, culture cannot be separated from language in an educational context. While marketing transcreation is an essential aspect of adapting an advertising strategy which would certainly enhance eLearning platforms, the scale of eLearning projects are generally best served by cost-effective localization and multilingual translation services with specialized eLearning voice over carried out by experienced professional translators who can optimize your platform and efficiently scale the reach of your services while ensuring they are effective for every user.

Why Into23?

Into23 provides comprehensive eLearning and localization services with unmatched quality, speed and value in Asia. Our translation system supports Articulate Storyline and Articulate Rise content, which streamlines the setup of translated and localized courses. We can deliver a complete portfolio of course translations in any number of languages you require, including all audio and video content, in one go. Our clients never have to worry about keeping track of 25 different translations and coordinating launch dates. In Hong Kong’s English to Chinese translation services market, attention to detail and appreciation of cultural context is key to effectively serving markets.

Our experience in the region, global partnership networks and passion for language and culture enable us to develop effective solutions tailored to the scale of your project.

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What do Clients want from Translation Services

The international business communications market reached a historic turning point last year, as companies, organizations and institutions across the world accelerated the pace of digitalising their operations. The sheer extent of the transition has spurred a corresponding demand for certified translation services in applications as varied as elearning, software localization, legal documentation and multimedia content.

As video content continues to proliferate on streaming services and social media marketing channels, the industry now sees increasing demand for high quality captions, subtitles, dubbing and voice overs. The demand for website text and marketing content translation also continues to expand as businesses increasingly plan their strategies around emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

Enterprise Translation in Asia: Market and Method

English to Chinese translation services continues to be a mainstay in the Asia-Pacific region, while consumer markets in ASEAN economies, which include Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, Myanmar, the Philippines and Singapore drive demand for local language translations alongside Chinese and English content.

The unprecedented scale and volume of material to be translated – which is only set to increase over the upcoming decade-  results in the increasing use of Automated Translation and Machine Translation with Post Editing, in which a human translator proofreads, improves and adapts the material generated by the translation. While machine translation engines have made a lot of progress in recent years, the most practical and efficient solution for businesses that need to regularly translate material at scale is working with a language service provider that offers streamlined, cost effective Machine Translation Post Editing rates and comprehensive, value-added services.

Combining the Best

We work with both standard Machine Translation and Neural Machine Translation, which can efficiently process complex material and adapt to infrequently translated languages and language pairs, which don’t have pre-existing datasets. Neural Machine Translation engines can also be configured to output a formal or casual style, depending on the project’s requirements, although this aspect still requires human review and editing, for which our Linguistic QA specialists are indispensable because of their experience, ability and speed.

The ideal workflow for translating material at scale heavily depends on the unique circumstances and requirements that companies face. Our experience providing Translation Management as a Service (TMaaS) for a range of different companies, from multinationals to startups and SME’s, enables us to quickly identify the relevant metrics and value drivers in any business model, from which we develop a cost effective hybrid service plan that delivers quality at speed and scale.

Trends Reports

According to Multilingual Magazine’s 2021 Translation Trends report, the use of Machine Translation with Post Editing is on the rise across the world, with Language Service Providers in Europe indicating that they plan to expand their services. Meanwhile, language service providers in Asia increasingly partner with technology enterprises, which are required to cater to diverse audiences at scale.

The report identifies Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Portugese, Russian, Italian, Polish and Persian as the ten most translated languages in the market. In terms of market size, Multilingual cites Statista’s Chart comparing language speakers and online content.

Languages in real life and online

Source: Statista

The chart identifies Chinese as the language with the largest native speaking population in the world, with almost 1.3 billion speakers, followed by Spanish, with 442 million, English, with 378 million, Arabic, with 315 million and Hindi, with 260 million. The percentage of websites on Statista’s chart with Chinese language content, however, is just 1.7%, compared to 54% of websites displaying English content, followed by Russian, with 6%, German, with 5.9%, Spanish with 5%. And French, with 4%.

Statista’s 2020 report on the most common languages on the internet by share of active users indicates that Chinese is the second most common language used online, accounting for 19.4% of people online, compared to 25.9% for English.

Most common languages on the internet

The most common languages on the internet by share of active users. Source: Statista

The discrepancy between the size of the native Chinese speaking audience (the second largest online) and the number of websites published in Chinese indicates the extent of the opportunity for companies and publishers to expand the reach of their platforms and businesses by translating content into Chinese.

The Human Touch : Work with Expert Translation Services to Localize

The Multilingual report also emphasizes that Human Translation is still the most accurate, effective and reliable mode of translation, because of its unmatched capacity to address “context, colloquialism and creative writing.”  These factors are vital for marketing and public relations, to the extent that content translation intended for a public audience should be fully carried out by professional human translators.

Localization is only possible with human translators, and holistically adapting brands to local markets and cultures often requires transcreation. Developing an organic local voice with an authentic tone is key to building brand value when working with English to Chinese translation services in a vibrant, dynamic market like Hong Kong or Singapore.

Translation services in Hong Kong in particular often have to contend with the rapid pace at which the local language and culture develops, as new colloquial phrases frequently move in and out of favor, while the local language, Cantonese, also differs in written form (Zhongwen) from traditional Chinese in other regions.

From a brand perspective, re-adapting content from the ground up is far more effective than attempting to circulate literal translations of previously written material, which can even carry a certain level of risk in terms of inadvertently humorous connotations with local audiences. While the same principle applies to translating and localizing for European markets, some regions, due to a variety of local factors, inherently require a more hyper-localized approach. Mainland China is one of the world’s most challenging markets for this reason.

What businesses want: language services industry statistics

High quality localization and translation service providers have the ability to effectively adapt brand messaging to a local context and match the pace of publication required by any client. The characteristics that enable effective localization and transcreation align with the priorities of translation clients worldwide, regardless of the type service they require.

According to Nimdzi’s 2021 survey on Translation Buyer Priorities, the top five factors which translation services clients consider important are:

  • On-time delivery
  • Quality of Translation
  • Customer Service
  • Price
  • Number of languages offered

We work fast without compromising quality. Our commitment to developing our expertise matches our dedication to working closely with our clients, so we can provide individualized solutions that take markets and business models into account and offer better service at more cost effective rates.

At Into23 we are passionate about language, and the scope of our services is unmatched in every region. We translate all major languages, and we are experienced working in every sector. We are excited to share our expertise and insights with our clients as the industry continues to expand in Asia, where we specialize in localizing overseas companies and taking local companies global. We translate for tomorrow’s markets today.

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