This is the third article in the series of ‘Multilingual Voiceover for Your Game’. We looked at the overall process and topics you may wonder from selecting a language to finding a suitable recording studio. In this time, we will discuss what to prepare for the multilingual voiceover. In fact, the fundamental concept is not much different from the voice localization of the source language. Nevertheless, there are several factors to be aware of and check before you start to work on the project. Let’s begin!
1. Game Information
To clearly communicate the content and direction of the game to the recording studio, the following game information should be provided.
- Basic information of the game: platform, genre, etc.
- Game storyline
- Character bio: description of each character, image, video, etc.
- Cinematic movies
[Image 1] <Buried Stars>, the case of multilingual voiceover project (language: KR, JP) with Musai Studio. Enough game information must be prepared in advance to clearly communicate to the recording studio. (Source: official website of ‘Buried Stars’)
2. Final Voiceover Script
We strongly recommend starting the recording session once the final script is ready. The point here is the “final” version, and it refers to the version that has been adapted for the voiceover recording. It helps to reduce unnecessary communication with the recording studio and even save the cost. If it is unavoidable to proceed with the recording session before the final version, it should be considered a schedule and budget for the pickup.
To be specific, the final version of the voiceover script should be the version that the “script adaptations” have been completed, so that it can be used in the recording session immediately. Even though the script has been completely translated by a translation vendor, it is still recommended that you go through the adaptation process.
Adaptations must be done by native speakers of each language. No matter how good the local recording studio and voice actors are, it would sound quite strange if the script contained “words or expressions rarely used locally”. If you haven’t done the script adaptation before the recording session, you can consider scheduling the local recording studio you work with and asking for the adaptation. In fact, when we proceed with the multilingual voiceover project, it is quite common for a local studio to review the script and then give an opinion that an adaptation is necessary. (In particular, there are a lot of corrections for English.)
(See. How Different is the Translation for Subtitling and Dubbing? – The Importance of Script Adaptation http://blog.musaistudio.com/musai-how-different-is-the-translation-for-subtitling-and-dubbing-the-importance-of-script-adaptation)
Lastly, the important part of the script, it is recommended to write the content to be referenced during the recording session (e.g., the context of lines, tone & manner of characters, etc.) in the local language. It is better to include this part in the translation stage so the translation vendor works on it.
3. Audio Files’ Specification
Clarify the conditions of the audio file to apply to the build. For example, file format, LUFS value, TC (time limit), total number, consistency between recorded script and audio file, etc. should be included to avoid confusion.
4. DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
Decide which DAW or audio program you will use in advance. Most recording studios use Protools, so it doesn’t mean choosing the type of DAW, but rather means that you have to decide whether to receive in ‘the form of a session’ or not when sending and receiving audio files with the studio.
That is, considering the conditions and type of the project and who take in charge of the post-production, it is good to decide in advance whether to receive the delivery file in the form of a session or final file.
[Image 2] When recording multilingual voiceover, the type of delivery files should be decided in advance. (Source: Musai Studio)
5. Work Schedule
We have been emphasized ‘enough work schedule is important for localization process’ many times, but sorry once again it’s very important, especially for multilingual voiceover.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the recording situation in each country is not good. In countries such as the United States and Russia, where large travel times are required, studio recordings that voice actors actually go to the studio and perform for the recording sessions are often replaced with home recordings. On the other hand, Japanese voiceover sometimes takes several months only to schedule a famous voice actor. As such, there can be a number of unexpected variables in each country, so it is recommended to plan and set up enough time.
6. Language Tier
In the case of domestically developed titles, its native language is recorded first in general. On the other hands, for multilingual recording, English is conducted as a pivot language. Multilingual voiceover will be carried out based on the English recording, so it is necessary to pay special attention to the quality.
When all the recording session is finished, you should provide evaluation and feedback on the completed audio files, and pick-up recording should be conducted if there are any parts that need to be corrected. In the case of multilingual voiceover, especially, it must be evaluated multi-dimensionally reflecting the game content.
In other words, in addition to checking whether the recording was done according to the provided script or not, it should be evaluated in various ways such as Localization QA and FunQA with local testers after applying it to the build. In fact, all of them we mentioned require costs and it’s not easy to decide and set up those evaluations after the recording is done. Therefore, it is suggested to hire native localization experts and testers for each language in advance to evaluate the quality.
[Image 3] After recording multilingual voiceover is completed, it is recommended to evaluate it in various ways, such as Localization QA and FunQA with local testers after applying it to the build. (Source: Musai Studio)
As mentioned in the beginning, the preparations for multilingual voiceover are basically not much different from the one for monolingual voiceover. However, since there are obviously various variables according to the ‘multilingual’ project, we would like to share the information and experience through this article. Multilingual voiceover is an easy project but it’s still worth, satisfying the ears of countless users around the world. Musai Studio will keep helping more good games meet more gamers.
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