Published September 27, 2010
What an exciting business this is! It wasn’t too long ago those of us who don’t live in L.A. or N.Y. focused our efforts on local opportunities. Within the last 10 years the national opportunities opened up as clients started using the internet to connect with voice talents. Now, companies all over the U.S. open up their voice demands to talents all over the country.
Within the last couple of years the market has really opened up to the world! Just within the last month I’ve had the privilege of working for companies in Italy, Brazil, Germany, Venezuela, the Netherlands, and Mexico. Actually, Mexico deserves an extra mention since there has been so much work from there, thank you very much!
I know several international companies as well as several voice talents check this blog every once in awhile, so let me take this opportunity to offer some suggestions to make the international voice opportunities work as efficiently as possible.
1. If you are an international company looking for an American English speaker, find one that will help you make sure your translated copy says exactly what you want to say.
Almost invariably, the copy I get from an international company has some grammatical issues that need fixing for American English. This is due to several factors: Translators that are not completely at ease with both languages, colloquialisms, vague uses of English words, and terminologies that don’t translate easily.
It’s not that big of a deal. I’ve found that if addressed appropriately and with respect, companies welcome the help.
2. If you are an American voice talent working for an international company, take the time to really understand what your client is trying to say in the copy. Sometimes because of the differences in language, the copy is awkward and even incorrect. Study the copy and ask questions – help them say what they want to say the best way.
Be careful to not disparage or insult the translation. Everyone wants the best product possible, and taking shots at the translation is unprofessional and unproductive. Make sure you understand what they want to say, and give them options.
3. Take the time to know the audience. Whether you are the company or the voice talent, you need to really know your audience and how they will receive the production.
4. As the company, know what you want from the voice talent as far as interpretation and style. As the voice talent, take the time to discover what the company wants. Don’t make assumptions. Both parties must be very clear on their expectations and understandings.
5. As a voice talent, take the time to follow up with the company. Often, cultural matters and customs inhibit the company from completely expressing their feelings about your work. Set them at ease – let them know that your goal is to make them completely happy with the project. Ask them for suggestions on how they might prefer your product. And then, deliver as quickly as possible.
It’s been my experience that international companies use voice talents as loyal partners of their marketing team. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you!
One other point. International rates can be very frustrating. The truth is that the vast majority of companies that want to play in the international markets are willing to pay the rates of the market they are seeking to reach. While it is not uncommon for companies to seek to negotiate rates, I’ve found international companies perfectly willing to pay the fair rates for the market.
It’s a small world! If anybody knows that, voice talents do. Seek to make your international clients as successful as possible and you will be greatly rewarded!
Tomorrow I have projects for China, England, and Argentina. Oh yeah, and one for Austin, Texas. It doesn’t get any better than that!
And if any of you international companies are looking for a voiceover talent to help you with American English, let’s talk!