The growing Hispanic population in the United States has been a major influence on many facets of life. One new area where this influence is being felt is in voice-over narration work for videos and other multimedia presentations.
A 2013 study by the Pew Research Center reports that Hispanics will soon become the largest ethnic group in America. As of 2006, 38.7 million people living in the US identified as Hispanic – making up 15% of the total population – up from 35.3 million (13%) ten years earlier. In addition, 553,000 more Hispanics immigrated to the US than left between 2006 and 2007 alone.
These numbers are expected to continue rising at a steady rate between now and 2050 when it’s estimated that 30% of the US population will be Hispanic.
The reasons for this expected growth are many — Hispanics tend to have larger families, the current wave of immigrants is mostly young adults who are having large numbers of children in their newly established homes, and Hispanics are more likely to move to the U.S. rather than return to their home countries. All in all, it adds up to a growing market with increasing buying power that’s eager for Spanish-language voice-over narration work through channels like Audible, Netflix, YouTube, etc…
What kind of content gets used in Spanish Voice Over Narration?
Voice-overs for films and television programming obviously require different skill sets than do commercial copy or podcasting reads… but regardless of style or length, there’s one factor that defines a successful Spanish voice-over performance: simplicity.
The cultural divide between Hispanic and North American values is significant, and this can extend to nuances in language. It’s important for a Spanish voice-over narrator to adjust his or her delivery to make use of simple words and familiar phrases – avoiding “industry-speak” at all costs – as well as factors like relaxed timing for conversational copy.
There are many rules about how timing should be adjusted depending on the style of copy, but perhaps the simplest way to think about it is that your goal should always be to deliver text with an accent that resembles daily speaking patterns rather than speaking that sounds overly rehearsed or unnatural. If you’re not a native Spanish speaker, working with a bilingual V.O. Director or voice-over coach can be extremely helpful in getting your pronunciation and timing just right!
What does a session look like?
The foundation of any great Spanish voice-over narration starts with an open exchange of communication between the narrator and the director, so it’s essential for both parties to attend the recording session whenever possible. The initial meeting before coming into the studio should go something like this:
- Introduce each other and discuss what type of copy will be recorded (e.g., television programming, commercial, etc.) and how much time there is to record (total number of lines and number that will likely fit into one recording session).
- Discuss cues: whether they’re pre- or post-recorded, how they should be delivered (e.g., “in character” as if they were part of the video even though they won’t be appearing on screen, etc…) and any specific pronunciation/timing requests for difficult words or phrases like “brand names.”
- Rehearse together: this means reading through the script once to make sure everyone is on the same page; it’s common for there to be last-minute changes during a recording session so it’s important for all parties involved to know exactly what’s going into these scripts!
- Set up: microphones and recording devices before actual recording takes place (unless using a digital voice recorder) and take note of where everyone will stand; sometimes directors like to sit directly in front of the narrator as part of the “conversation” to create a more intimate feel.
- Record: One person (usually the director) will give cues for each line one at a time with only seconds in between; this is often done by phone or through an online service like email or Dropbox when working remotely with translators/voice over agents, but it’s also common for both parties to be in the same room during recording sessions if possible.
- Cue deliveries: Depending on whether you’re using digital files (which can sometimes make timing edits impossible without re-recording) or recorded lines directly into your DAW, there may be time to request any last-minute changes after initial recordings are finished. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need!
- Leave: Send a thank you email and sign out. It’s common for clients to be in touch with either the director or narrator about final edits and other details after sessions are complete, but this initial meeting should cover everything necessary beforehand.
In short, Spanish voice-over narration is no different from English in terms of scripts needing to go through several rounds of revision before recording even begins… but there are a few differences that make Spanish narration a little trickier. For example, many English speakers have never been trained in how precisely they must enunciate their words when producing vocal tracks, which means it’s often easy to guide them toward a conversational approach rather than one that makes them sound overly rehearsed or stiff. Something to think about:
If you’re not a native Spanish speaker, working with a bilingual V.O. Director or voice-over coach can be extremely helpful in getting your pronunciation and timing just right!
Who should I hire to produce my Spanish Voice Over Narration?
In order to find the ideal person for the job, it’s important to ask yourself what kind of delivery you need from your narrator based on what they’ll be recording. please request a free quote or give us a call 919-629-0020 for more information.