As of December 2020, Netflix was said to have 3.8 million South Korean subscribers. This necessarily means translating and localizing video content for local audiences and as such, Korean voice-over translation has become a highly sought-after service. But what are voice-over translation services and how do they work? In addition, what are the challenges when it comes to the Korean language? What’s more: what role does Artificial Intelligence (AI) play in synthetic voice-over? In this article, we explore the answers to these questions.
What is voice-over translation?
When it comes to Korean voice-over translation, we are talking about a detailed process that involves taking content from a source language and translating it, and localizing it into Korean so that the content is both linguistically and culturally appropriate. However, the process goes a bit further than mere translation and localization because there is an element of the human voice involved.
In fact, a human voice is recorded speaking the localized content in Korean while the voice-over actor is not seen on the screen or in the sound bite. This is especially useful in cases related to entertainment, education, media, technology, film, and even the video game industries where a lot of foreign content is entering South Korea but it needs accuracy in terms of localization for the content to be locally accepted, and then a native speaker conveys the intended message in a native style as well.
This person is rarely seen but their voice is heard in the audio or video file. It creates a feeling of authenticity as the localization expert’s job is to ensure that the script that must be spoken is as close to the native level of acceptance as possible. In particular, Korean voice-over translation is the preferred choice for short-form audio-visual content. However, it can be longer such as that used in documentaries or films.
How does it work?
In order to ensure that you have properly translated and localized content that is ready for Korean voice-over translation, you need to also be aware of the various steps in the process. In short, here is a quick summary of what it entails:
- The customer’s requirements and materials for translation and localization are reviewed;
- Appropriate, native-level translators and localization experts are then assigned to the project;
- Once the translators and localization experts are ready with the content, the translated scripts are proofread for accuracy and quality;
- Castings are then organized where the most suitable voice actors are selected who will match the original voices;
- After this, there is recording and post-production in a studio environment;
- The final step in Korean voice-over translation is the audio file delivery of the translated version.
Specifics and challenges of Korean voice-over translations
Although you may have a perfect content file in your source language, there are important specifics and challenges that you must bear in mind when it comes to Korean voice-over translation and multilingual voice-overs.
This is because the Korean language is considered an “isolated” language and it has its own alphabet, grammatical rules, honorific rules, and cultural nuances. As such, you have to be able to take into account the Korean cultural context because your original content file will not have taken that into account.
Another challenge comes with accents. In order to be as authentic as possible with your Korean voice-over translation, you must ensure that you use only authentic, native speakers and not those who may be fluent in the language but who also carry an accent that will easily be picked up by the native-speaking audience.
This is why when you approach Korean video voice-over translation, you need to take a holistic view with a culture-first approach that focuses on the viewer experience.
But with this in mind, you may be wondering about the voice-over translation rates and how they are calculated. In the industry, standard practice for voice-over production is based on two components: production costs and usage fees. Other charges that may also apply include urgency fees, although in some cases, you may be able to take advantage of discounts.
When looking at production costs, it is worth knowing that these may include: transcription, translation, studio costs, talent fees, and others.
As for usage fees, these may include royalties or buyouts, broadcast or non-broadcast, the channel of distribution, geographical coverage, and requested usage periods.
The impact of AI on voice-over translations
Although we alluded to AI when it comes to voice-over translations a bit earlier, it’s important to take a closer look at it because of its growing impact on the translation and localization industry. As is well-known to many by now, AI intends to mimic human behavior.
This is why developments have taken place around AI translation and AI voice-overs. Mimicking the human voice and sounding as authentic as possible, it is now a possibility to use AI for your Korean voice-overs to match the voice you want while getting an authentic AI translation as well.
However, because this technology is still in its infancy, it’s unlikely to take over the need for skilled humans. Instead, rather than replacing humans altogether, AI is likely to supplement our roles in translation and localization, speeding up processes for faster outcomes rather than replacing humans altogether.
The bottom line
Korean voice-over translation is increasingly on the rise because of the growing demand for foreign content in the country. However, to be successful in your voice-over efforts and translation and localization practices, you need to ensure that you provide your viewers and audiences with an authentically Korean experience. This necessarily involves being culturally sensitive and aware and implementing these nuances in the final script, which will then be conveyed to your audience in Korean.