Getting the Most Out of Your Voice-over

Unveiling our new voice talent library!

In the past month we have been focusing on making our voice-over library much easier to access and use. After much testing and tweaking, we are proud to present our new Voice Talent Library. You can filter by language, dialect, level of professional experience and gender of the artist and add voices to be included in your quote request. We hope this will make the experience of planning your voice-over work with us that much easier!

This time, I would like to bring together some of the answers to the many questions our clients ask us about voiceover. There are a number of different workflows we use when performing voice-over, and they depend on what source files the client has and what they would like us to provide for them. I hope that the following guide will demystify some of the process for you.

What is a voice-over and why might I need it?

There are many reasons why you might require a voice-over. Common applications are Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone systems that your service users can call into and e-learning packages, for instance. A good voiceover will let you engage in a much more personal way with your audience than subtitles will and professional artists in particular will give your material an extra edge, allowing you to pitch in different ways: a suspenseful voice for film advertisements, a calming voice for a social services IVR system and so forth.

What options do I have to consider?

Most important of all is deciding which artist or artists you would like to voice your material. In particular:

  • What language(s) are you looking for?
  • Do you need male or female voices?
  • What style of voice-over do you need (advertising, e-learning etc.)?
  • Would you need a local voice talent for a community-scale project or an experienced professional for a national- or international-scale campaign?
  • What is the end-use of the voice-over and is broadcasting involved (there are artists’ fees associated with broadcast)?

Ask to see your supplier’s voice database and take plenty of time listening to and downloading samples while keeping the above questions in mind.

You should also consider:

  • Which audio format you would like the work delivered in?
  • Would you like one file containing all of the speech or multiple files split by batch, cue etc.?
  • If you need voice-over for a video, would you like it synchronised to the visuals/pre-existing voice of the video?

For a successful outcome, these sort of things should be agreed with your client and raised with your supplier beforehand, so the necessary preparations can be made for your recording session. We can accommodate all manner of project requirements and have the experience to assist and advise you if you are uncertain about anything at all.

Adelphi can provide all of the services detailed above for your voice-over requirement. Please visit our website at and click “Request a Quote” or feel free to call us on (0)114 272 3772.

Embarrassing Printing Error for Romanian Foreign Ministry

One particular news article caught our attention in the office today: the BBC reported that in his visit to Romania this week, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was presented with a booklet by his Romanian counterpart triumphing Germany-Romania bilateral relations… complete with an image of France covered by a German flag on the cover. The document was produced by Agerpres, Romania’s national news agency, who have accepted responsibility for the error and apologised to both parties.

France German flag

Spot the mistake

Outsourcing: an option for quality

One advantage of outsourcing typesetting tasks like the above is that it introduces your content to a whole new set of eyes, not least a project manager and typesetter, who will engage with your documents both when they’re being worked on and when the result comes to be quality-assessed before delivery. At Adelphi, our involvement adds more than just a typesetting service: we’re able to advise our clients if we spot potential issues inherent in their content and with our long experience in the industry, we can even suggest helpful fixes that allow the work to continue to the original schedule.

Not for the first time

For Romania’s Foreign Ministry, the story is less rosy: this is the second time in only a month that they’ve been involved in an embarrassing incident. Last month, when the Romanian Embassy in France issued invitations to an upcoming function, they accidentally attached a spreadsheet containing candid and unrestrained remarks about the invited guests.

Source: BBC

Adelphi’s New Blog

New Blog Launch

Welcome to the first post of Adelphi’s new blog We hope you’ll join us each week as we share with our readers industry news, how-tos and basically anything which sparks our interest in the world of languages. Whether you are a current client, a future client or one of our linguists, we want to connect with you and show you what makes Adelphi tick.

Chinese characters in the Japanese language

Since three of our staff speak Japanese—one as a native—I thought our first offering should take us to Japan, a nation whose language has been influenced during the last 1,200 years by its proximity to China. Japanese makes use of three different writing systems (very often in the same sentence) and one of them, called kanji, arrived in Japan from China in the closing centuries of the 1st millennium AD. Whereas in English we make use of 26 letters to form all of our words, Chinese has an individual character for basic concepts, with the more advanced ideas being compounds of two or more characters. In Japan, Chinese characters form an integral part of the script and most adult Japanese will know around 2,000 or more of them.

The other two writing systems of Japanese, called Hiragana and Katakana behave differently and were developed within Japan at different times. We will discuss these in future posts.

Kotoshi no kanji

Each year, the Japanese Kanji Proficiency Society holds a national ballot in Japan to determine the character that represents the past year. The winning entry becomes Kotoshi no Kanji (“Kanji of the Year”) and is announced on 12th December in the city of Kyoto. The choices tend to represent the national mood in Japan and highlight important events of that year. For instance in 1995—the first year to have a Kotoshi no Kanji—the character was 震 shin, meaning “quake”, chosen for the Kobe Earthquake that had happened in January of the year.

The latest Kotoshi no Kanji was announced in December last year and this time it was 税 zei, meaning “tax”, reflecting discussion in Japan about the increase in sales tax in Japan from 5% to 8%, and the planned hike in October of this year up to 10%.

It is still too early to guess what this year’s character will be, but we hope 2015 will prove to be a successful year for all of our clients and linguists.

Japanese & Spanish Music Video Subtitling

Adelphi Studio has produced Japanese & Spanish music video subtitling for Van Halen for their up-coming tour of Japan and Spain. We subtitled live performances of the song ‘She’s the Woman’ and a number of interviews including ‘Brown M&Ms’ and ‘As is’ about their life on the road. Van Halen provided the lyrics for us and Hiroko our Japanese project manager re-lived her childhood listening to one of her favourite bands while making sure the subtitles matched the English in the most suitable way.

Japanese Subtitling: The real story behind the ‘Brown M&Ms’

The videos release was delayed for almost a year as Eddie Van Halen was taken ill just before the start of their tour of Japan.

Spanish Subtitling ‘She’s The Woman’

We work to get the best from the lyrics, but as you know sometime a bands lyrics can be difficult to understand in English, so the translation has to reflect the feel and the meaning rather than being a literal translation.

Lyrics such as:

Fate is my pimp
But she was cool
Said  “If You’re doin’ business with me honey,
What does that make you?”
Some Casablanca gin joint
You’re a nervous wreck
Your IQ plummets fourteen points
Her thunder thong around your neck
Now, the song ain’t dirty
It’s really just the way we sing it
Sing it!
She’s the woman

Adelphi studio do more than Japanese & Spanish music video subtitling, we also are a full service translation agency, this means that we handle all aspects of the work in-house providing the transcription if required, the translation and the subtitling.

German Subtitling and Text Expansion

Why German Subtitling and Text Expansion is a Problem

German typesetting and text expansion can often be an issue when your wanting to convert your English videos into German. There are often very long compound words in German, which can create problems. This can produce untidy line-breaks when placed in narrow columns.

Julian, unser Auszubildener,
kam zu uns während eines
so hat er es sehr schnell

In some German compound words, the first word serves to describe the second word in more precise detail, for instance die Zeitungsindustrie (the newspaper industry.)

They even have awards for the longest German word of the year! In 1999 the winner was: Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. The monster word consisted of 63 letters, 20 syllables, and ten individual words—all to express a law having to do with British beef (Rindfleisch) and the so-called “mad cow disease.”

Breaking News: BBC news

The German language has lost its longest word (Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz) thanks to a change in the law to conform with EU regulations. It was repealed following changes to EU regulations on the testing of cattle.

The new longest German word is Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenswitwe, which translates into English as the “widow of a Danube steamboat company captain”. This was a subdivision of the pre-war Viennese shipping company known as Donau­dampfschiffahrts­gesellschaft (DDSG) that transported both cargo and passengers along the Danube.

So when doing German typesetting and text expansion you really have to know where the hyphens should go.