What We Do

Dubbing in multimedia communication

In this third and final episode on multimedia communication, we will be concentrating on dubbing.

As we’ve seen in previous episodes, in some cases dubbing may be the most effective choice for translating and internationalizing your marketing videos, commercials or product presentations, where you wish to convey emotions as well as information.
Dubbing is also suitable for long videos, because it is less tiring for the viewer, or for videos that contain a lot of graphics and text that have to be translated, like the slides of a presentation, the images of a video tutorial or the instructions for using a product. In other words, all situations where you don’t want the user to be distracted by having to read subtitles.

What are the most common types of dubbing, and how do you choose the right one?

People often think that dubbing means lip-synching, used for cinema films. In actual fact, this is not the only type of dubbing available to you. Let’s take a look at the most commonly used types together:


In this type of dubbing, the original voice of the person speaking is retained, at low volume, while the voice with the translation is edited in at higher volume (the usual ratio is 30% – 70%).
This form of dubbing was only introduced fairly recently; it’s become popular on TV with the screening of foreign reality shows.
You can choose this dubbing method:

  • when you want to preserve your corporate identity, or highlight the importance of the person speaking by retaining their tone of voice and screen personality;
  • when your video has a soundtrack that you want to conserve: for example, sound effects, music, or background noises in the original filmed material;
  • when budget restrictions mean you can’t afford lip-sync dubbing, which requires multiple steps and higher costs.

Voice-on-voice dubbing is ideal for your videos of speeches and interviews, and educational and docufiction videos.


In this type of dubbing, the voice heard is not that of a person shown on the screen: it may be an impersonal narrative voice (voice-over) or that of a clearly defined person who is currently not on the screen (voice-off), so lip-synching is not required.
The original soundtrack is completely replaced by the dubber’s voice.
This type of dubbing is more suitable for videos without sound effects that need conserving.
The most important factor here is selecting the right voice: the right tone and timbre will help you to get your message across effectively.
This option is less expensive than voice-on-voice or lip-sync dubbing.
You can choose this option for your commercials, product presentation videos, instruction manual videos, educational videos, presentations and animated videos.

Lip-sync dubbing

This is the kind of dubbing we’re all familiar with: it is a real theatrical performance, in which the speaker dubs the words of the original actors with the same expressions and feelings. This solution is extremely natural and doesn’t distract the viewer from the video’s message or emotional content.
Lip-sync dubbing takes longer and costs more than the other options, because it involves an additional step: the adaptation of the dialogue, carried out after translation and before the dubbers get to work, to enable image and voice to be synchronized.
The adaptation modifies the translation so that it fits the video, while retaining the overall meaning of the starting text.

Dubbing + subtitling

Finally, you may also consider producing a video which is both dubbed and subtitled in the same language.
The benefit of this method is that the video is accessible to all, including people with hearing and sight impairments, and in any situation (noisy or quiet locations).

Here are 5 useful tips for optimizing the dubbing of your video:

1. Have it done by professionals

Always make sure that only professional dubbing artists are employed, and that the dubbing is done in a professional recording studio, by expert sound engineers who will use the right equipment so the soundtrack is as clear and sharp as a “live” experience.

2. Request voice casting

Do you want a woman’s or a man’s voice for your video? Happy, cheerful, assertive, persuasive? With a specific national accent (e.g. English, American, Australian) or with no accent at all?
Have clips of various dubbers’ voices sent to you and choose the one you like best depending on your contents and target. These will usually be standard clips lasting about 15 seconds each, in which the dubber reads ready-made texts of various kinds. When listening to the clip, focus on the voice’s timbre (deep, high, mature, younger, etc.) rather than the tone, because a good dubber is able to modulate their voice into many different tones.

3. Hold a briefing to make your needs and expectations clear

A short preliminary discussion is very useful, especially for advertising videos required to impact the emotions, to explain what you have in mind. Agree with the dubber which words or phrases you want emphasized, and any short pauses, or changes in tone or speed.

4. Agree the specific pronunciation of names, abbreviations and units of measurement

Pick out any words, abbreviations, names of companies, products or people, units of measurements, as so on, which could be pronounced in different ways, and agree with us how you want them pronounced in your video. In other languages, names may be mispronounced, with results that can be amusing or even highly embarrassing!

5. Have the texts approved before the recording session

As we’ve already explained for subtitling, dubbing texts should be thoroughly checked before the recording, with the aid of your local market contacts if appropriate.
Bear this in mind when deciding the production schedule.
This step is even more important for dubbing, to save both time and costs: if you change the text after it’s been recorded, you’ll have to call in the dubbers again, and rebook the recording studio and sound engineers.

Want to know more about dubbing and view a few real-life examples?
Watch our Webinar “VideoComunicare sui mercati internazionali” (in Italian) on YouTube! Part 2 and part 3 are all about dubbing!

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Categoria: What We Do