Creating The Perfect Voiceover Script
While translators will know how to write and speak in their native language, this does not necessarily mean they can write for the spoken word.
Creating a compelling and engaging script is undoubtedly an artform!
A poor script can ruin an otherwise excellent video, so they really need to be viewed as two pieces of the same puzzle. Here are six top tips to make sure you deliver the ultimate multilingual audiovisual experience!
Being organized is key, as it makes sure everyone involved in the project has access to the same information and reduces the chance of rework later down the track. A proper script layout should feature details of each voice talent, such as the talent name and their character alias, gender, language, and the style and tone to be used, as well as their parts being clearly marked (and validated) throughout the script.
File splitting and naming conventions, what deliverable format needs to be used and any other special requirements should also be noted. Lastly, if your recording has timing requirements (e.g. scene or lip–synch for a video), clearly marked and accurate time codes are vital, or the final audio may not fit.
The last thing you want is a mispronunciation appearing in each audio file or video scene and then have to record it all over again! Pronunciation guides should be included within the script if unfamiliar words are present. This can include complex terminology, company jargon, and acronyms. For standard terms and acronyms, a written pronunciation guide will usually suffice. However, for complex terminology, an audio pronunciation guide is highly recommended. This can be done simply by recording sound files on a PC for approval by the client reviewers. Unlike in translation where subject matter experts are the norm, for voiceover projects, you are unlikely to find a high quality voice talent with a PhD in astrophysics!
Start off small
You cannot expect to create the perfect script in one go, so it’s important to start with an outline. Think about the topic area you are covering and how this can be tied in with the video. You should also consider the style of the video, as this will influence the tone of the language you use. Drawing up a storyboard showing how the images and audio will match up is a good way to develop interesting ideas, and don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for advice or feedback during this process.
Think about the sound
Viewers will quickly lose interest if a voice can be heard throughout the whole video, so make sure you give people a chance to enjoy the video as well. Choose key moments to drive home points being made by the images, rather than bombarding individuals with too much information. No one will enjoy a video that has a voice over artist droning on in corporate speak!
While it may sound easy, many people struggle to write in a conversational manner. In almost all cases, voice over artists will need to have a certain warmth to their delivery in order to engage with viewers. The key to this is using short sentences, simple language, contractions where possible and an active voice. If any words need special emphasis, it’s a good idea to bold these up, or underline words where the syllables should be sounded out for greater clarity.