Foreign Language Video

Over 25 years we have produced 100's of translated or foreign language programmes in subtitled and dubbed variants and in the widest choice of languages from Swahili to Mandarin.  Our extensive experience in voice-over recording and graphics for video enables us to offer a one-stop shop for localisation of videos.


Translating for video is an art. It is not quite as clearcut as translation for print. Timing is everything - particularly in the structure of sentences to ensure they match the imagery on screen without losing the nuance of the content.  There is the additional challenge that many languages such as Spanish and Mandarin read longer than English - and this requires some pragmatic skill in our translators to ensure the resultant script reads well without losing the message.

We ensure the scripts are technically accurate and have a process of client approval at key stages prior to committing to the creation of subtitles or recording of a dubbed voice.

Case Study - a sample of the voice dubbing and re-titling process

This clip shows the process from original to localised versions.   Produced for SAP as one of 3 videos originally recorded in English, we were commissioned to produce variants in Russian and German for all programmes.  

Dubbing was the preferred option with lip-synched voices from our actors.  We composed a new music soundtrack and added sound effects to compliment our new animated graphics in Russian and German.

Making a localised video - changing the original dialogue track into another language - is called Dubbing.  Dubbing is the preferred localisation method for audiences in the Spanish speaking world, parts of Africa and parts of Asia.   Elsewhere sub-titling is equally acceptable.

The process takes time.  Once your programmes script has been translated, timed to fit, and checked for technical accuracy it is ready to be re-voiced.   This a complex process and requires us to select the appropriate voice talents for the job.   We have a roster of many native speakers from a full range of countries.   Selecting the right foreign voice is critical - get the wrong dialect, or character in a voice and it will undo all the value of a good translated script.   Normally we would allocate an hour of studio time to record 20 minutes of translated script.   We will 'rock and roll' the video - recording a voice in sections whilst playing back the video on screens to ensure timing and context.  Our voice artists are good, and single takes is often the norm.

There is a choice of ways to mix the final programme, depending on the content.  Whilst we can replace the voice audio with a new language, often, and particularly for documentary style programmes, we choose to retain the original voice in the background - at a low level.

The final process is to re-mix the soundtrack with the music scores, and ambient sounds - known as Music and Effects or M+E.  Graphics for the on-screen text will then be created and edited into the programme, prior to checking and final mastering.

Case study: Dubbing

This is a programme Green Field originally shot and produced in Nicaragua for Dunhill.  Produced originally in English and then translated and dubbed in French and Spanish.  For other audiences we created sub-titled versions.  This was the client's preference for Russia and Italy.

A master programme is created with sub-titles in the chosen language whilst you hear the original language in the soundtrack.    This is the preferred option for certain nationalities.  We can advise which is commonly most appropriate for your chosen audience.

The process of editing sub-titles is relatively complex and our experience has shown that the close relationship between translator and video editor is important.  Creating the right pace and readability requires a careful balance.   We will guide you through the process whether you already have a translated script or if you as to manage the whole project from script to screen.