Here at Marketing Messages, we are no strangers to projects that involve more than one language. While most jobs only require one voice talent, it is certainly not uncommon for a client to request multiple voice talents to cover a number of different languages from around the globe. And then there are the assignments we receive from Starkey, a hearing aid company. Starkey requires 62 voice talents covering 31 different languages. Wrangling all those voice talents across the globe and assembling voice prompts to fit within Starkey’s technical specifications is a complex process, but all that complexity is worth it for the chance to aid hearing with voice recordings.
Starkey will use voice recordings consisting of one to two words as audio queues for their hearing aids, allowing their users to identify which room setting they’ve selected, adjusting audio levels to the appropriate volumes. In order to make sure that the hearing aids can help the largest amount of people possible, the voice recordings will cover 31 languages with options for both male and female voices – including everything from Hungarian to Hindi, from Indonesian to Welsh, and from Norwegian to Czech.
Some of these languages do not have a high demand among our client base. There’s not always a pressing need for Welsh recordings, for example. So, it takes time and skill to identify appropriate voice talents for each language. The task is doubly difficult for identifying male voices, as 85% of voice work is done by female performers. We maintain a strict vetting process to ensure that only the best professional voice talents are employed for this, or any, production.
And as if needing to wrangle that many voices in that many languages wasn’t complicated enough, there are also extremely stringent technical limitations for these voiceover recordings. The finished files cannot be any longer than 1.33 seconds, each, in order to properly function on the hearing aids. This requires working with our voice talents to identify synonyms if the length of a proposed word exceeds the limit. For example, our female Hungarian voice talent, Eperke, identified that there was an alternative phrase she could use in place of the provided translation that would both communicate the same information but better fit within the time constraints. After consulting with Starkey to approve this update, Eperke’s recommendations became the final version. Also, working within these time constraints required meticulous editing by our audio engineers.
Global Language Solutions
Each language has its own unique characteristics, sometimes requiring different treatment than others, and this problem is exacerbated when there are so many languages at play. We make it easy by having a standard process for both script management and audio processing, which helps us to deliver finished productions quickly and accurately. This process is supported by a deep bench of voice talents from across the globe that we can utilize, and an experienced production team that moves quickly and efficiently to edit huge amounts of raw audio into professional quality.
Ultimately, whatever difficulties this process entails are worth it for the knowledge that the finished audio will aid hearing with voice recordings. Like our work with the World Health Organization there is special satisfaction to knowing that doing good work will not only satisfy a customer, but also be of real help to people in need.