In the last article, we discussed useful tools to improve the efficiency of the text localization process. (See. Useful Software to Boost Your Game Localization Process, ① In-game Text Localization http://blog.musaistudio.com/musai-useful-software-to-boost-your-game-localization-process-%e2%91%a0-in-game-text-localization)
Likewise, there are a number of supportive tools and software that can be used in the voiceover process. For example, tools related to file comparison or renaming used in the text localization are also widely used in the voiceover project. Today, I will introduce several tools to help your voiceover projects go smoothly. (I would like to inform you that I am out of all relation to the company of the tools introduced below.)
Who Needs the Tools?
Most of the voiceover process such as recording, editing, and producing audio files, etc. is done by using a digital audio workstation. However, since it takes a lot of time and effort to master DAWs, sometimes auxiliary tools are needed to manage the project more simply than DAWs. Therefore, the tools I will introduce today will be helpful for people who are more involved in the project management parts such as localization managers at game companies who need to communicate with partner recording studios or PMs at recording studios.
Choose a Proper Tool Depending on Your Purpose!
Now, let’s take a look at the types and purposes of tools.
1.QA (Quality Assurance)
- Alto Studio
This tool is good for managing a multilingual voice localization project. In addition to the functions to manage files, the features necessary for QA such as file analysis and comparison after recording are neatly organized. Some of major game companies use this tool mostly.
1) As shown in the image below, it intuitively shows the specifications of audio files of both source files and localized dialogue files.
2) It is possible to set up the analysis conditions and to conduct to analyze, modify, and even create reports by each language.
2. Audio File Analysis Tool
‘Alto Studio’ has great features to manage audio files, but unfortunately, it’s a commercial software which needs to be paid. If you don’t need to use those management tools that much, you may not want to use a paid one. In this case, it’s a good way to use a free and light tool like the one below. There are several types of audio file analysis tools, but I will briefly introduce ‘Mediainfo’ which I personally prefer.
It is intuitive and simple to use. If you select the folder that you want to analyze and then choose the information you need, the analysis is ready to be published. You can create the analysis report as text or CSV format. Especially, it’s very convenient when the number of source audio files is large or the structure of folder is complex, and it is possible to organize a report that can see the total number of files, play time, and specifications of each audio file at a glance. You can easily perform QA with this feature. You can analyze the folder of localized files in the same way I mentioned and compare with the source audio file report. Simple QA like checking length, file spec can be just carried out this way before delivery.
3. Audio Player
You may wonder why an audio player is a useful tool in voiceover projects – it’s because it is suitable for final QA before delivery which requires a fast and intuitive tool.
To be specific, when a recording studio finishes all the post-production, final QA is conducted to check whether ‘the volume levels are constant’, ‘the localized dialogues are matched the script’, and ‘the recordings are cut or distracted by noises’, etc. In fact, all of checklist mentioned earlier are already examined during the post-production phase, but they are checked one last time through the QA process before delivery. In this case, an audio player is perfect to use and to let you proceed with the final QA faster since it is intuitive and easy to control the order of the playlist by creating it as you want. There are so many audio players out there and the preference can be varied depending on how comfortable you feel with them. In my case, I use ‘Foobar2000’ and ‘AIMP’.
4. Excel – Audio Script Management
Excel is an indispensable file format in the localization industry. As I mentioned in the last article regarding text localization tools, there are a lot of Excel add-in (XLA) files for voice localization as well. Its purpose is primarily to manage audio scripts.
You never imagine how many and various add-ins are needed for a game voiceover project. The scripts including thousands of dialogue lines need to be divided, sorted, and combined by characters, quests, or regions in the game depending on specific project conditions. Moreover, an add-in that marks the recorded script and checks the entire recording progress is needed during the recording session.
It is provided by clients sometimes, and in others, it is developed by a localization agencies. Sometimes, there are cases published add-ins are used as needed. For this reason, it is difficult to recommend which one is the right one or introduce a certain one due to the different ownership is different.
In this article, we’ve looked at some useful tools to manage the voiceover project. Game voiceover is a field that requires a lot of expertise. Thus, some background knowledge about voiceover and basic tools are still needed for better communication. I hope the information shared in today’s article is useful for those in charge of voice localization projects, especially those who are seeking for tips to improve the efficiency of the voiceover project. See you in the next article!
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