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How Do I Get an Audio/Visual File Translated?



If you are in need of translation services for any audio or visual file, for instance a video, tape recording, dictated message, movie/commercial, etc., then it is best to contact a professional translation company that has experience in translating this medium.

What is involved in the translation procedure?

  • Once the translation service provider receives your original file, they will most likely give you a quote, charging by the time length of the file. They will also ask you how many speakers are on the file, and any other pertinent information they need. The quote will be a price for all of the steps that must be gone through (as listed below).
  • Once you place the order, the first thing that must take place is transcription. The translator will go through the file and listen/watch as he or she types out what is being said in the file.


  • While the translator is transcribing the content, he or she will also place time stamps at regular intervals (every 10 seconds or so, depending on the length of the file) in order to keep track of where the speaker in the video is in relation to the transcription.


  • Once the document is transcribed, the translator will go through and translate the written words into the specified language. Please be sure to mention if you would like both the original and translated words on the finished file, or if you only require the translation.

If you are only in need of transcription/translation services, this would be the end of the process. However, if you are in need of subtitling or voice over services, please continue reading.

  • Once the transcription/translation is complete, the file will be sent to a professional recording studio, who has already been informed of the requirements.
  • If you need subtitling, the studio will use the time stamps in the transcription, along with the original language transcription, to properly match up the translation to the appropriate screen.


  • If you need voiceover, the studio will have a professional voice actor fluent in the translated language to speak the translation based on the time stamps provided. It is essential to have proper time stamps in order to know how fast or slow the voice over artist needs to speak.


  • Once all of the dialogue has been recorded, the studio will then lay back the vocals to the original video. They will be able to speed up or slow down the track slightly, in order get a more precise match up.
  • Once the layback is complete, they will go through some minor corrections in order to make sure the sound volume is at the proper level, if any background music was needed, they would layback the required music, and essentially do what they need to do to make it a professional quality video.
  • Lastly, they will compress the file and save it in the required format for delivery.

The translation process for audio/visual files, especially if voice over recording is required, can be a bit costly, since there is a lot of work involved by multiple parties. Please be aware ahead of time and call around for some prices first to ensure you are getting the best deal. However, cheaper does not always mean better.   Some companies may use at-home recording equipment in order to provide a lower rate. However, you get what you pay for, and the quality may not be exactly what you were hoping for. It’s always best to use a translation service company who utilizes a professional voice recording studio.

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