One of the major industries that Marketing Messages does a great deal of work with is biopharma. Biopharma is akin to pharmaceuticals, with the difference being that biopharma manufacturing involves living organisms, such as bacteria, yeast, or cells. Biopharma is a massive international industry with a market value in the hundreds of billions and growing all the time. From an audio production perspective, that requires a huge variety of auto attendant prompts and IVR prompts, both internal and customer-facing. Not only that, but because of the international scope of the industry, these productions can and often do require recording in dozens of languages. There are a few simple steps that a biopharmaceutical company can take to make sure that they have the best chance for success when mounting an international voice project, or professional voice recordings of any kind.
Use Professional Translators
When a company has an international reach and employees scattered across multiple countries (and continents) it is easy to understand why they might decide to take advantage of what seems like an easy shortcut and skip a step by just having their in-house employees do the translation rather than shelling out for a professional. After all, the locals speak the language perfectly fine, don’t they? Why incur extra cost when, seemingly, you don’t have to?
The truth is that translation is actually much more complex than that. The version of a language that someone speaks in their daily life is often filled with regional affectations and dialectical nuances that, while not ‘wrong’ necessarily, are confusing or odd to someone who speaks the same language but does not share the same dialect as whoever in-house did the translation. Professionals are aware of this and compensate by aiming for the most neutral version of a given language, ensuring that no matter which specific version you use, you can still understand.
The other shortcut we often see is Google Translate or some other free translation app. Again, it makes sense. Here’s a free tool that anyone with an Internet connection can use. Why would you spend on a translator when a translation is just a click away?
Different translation services have their strengths and weaknesses, but a uniform problem is that apps like Google Translate perform word-for-word translations, but they don’t translate for grammar, syntax, and meaning. The structure of a sentence in English is vastly different from how the same sentence is structured in Mandarin, or Czech, or even other Romance languages like German and French. I can’t tell you how many times we have provided a script to a voiceover talent only for them to report back that the script is unreadable due to the wording being so garbled as to become incomprehensible. Inevitably when we check back with the client, we are informed that they used Google Translate, or something similar.
In the end, the customer has to pay for professional translation anyway and all they accomplished by using a shortcut was creating delays.
Have Clear Pronouncers
As one can probably guess from the “pharma” part of the name, biopharma involves a lot of both medicines and medicine providers. These companies and their products often have names inspired by the chemical components within the medication, that are difficult for people not involved at the company to pronounce. When you work at a company, and when you are dealing with such things on a daily basis and they becomes second nature, it is easy to forget that the voiceover talent and production team have no frame of reference for these brand and company names. If there’s even a chance that they might be confusing, it is wise to put together a clear pronunciation guide. Otherwise, you may have to go back for another round of recording.
We’ve written in the past about how to write a good pronouncer. The added wrinkle for biopharma productions is the international angle. Even when written out with seeming total clarity, there are languages that simply have a fundamental different relationship with English characters than an English speaker would ever imagine.
That’s why it’s also smart to provide a primary source example of the name being said. It can be anything from a Youtube clip, to some item on the company website, or even as simple as taking out your phone, recording yourself saying the name, and then emailing that off to your audio provider. In this way, everyone has a clear and comprehensive understanding of what they are trying to capture, making the process exponentially easier.
Find Out More About International Voice Projects
If you’d like to know more about how to best go about putting together an international voice project, or any kind of professional recording, Marketing Messages is always here to help.
Contact us today and let us know how we can help you get heard.