Translation Case Study: Entertainment and Video Dubbing Production

How Rennert Translation Group helped an educational video teach children around the world how to handle emergencies.

The Assignment: Translate, narrate and provide dubbing of character voices on a 45 minute children's educational video for an internationally known children's entertainment show.

The Target Countries: Greece, France, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Finland, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Latin America, and the United States.

The Languages: Spanish, Mandarin Chinese

The Challenges: The source copy used idioms and emotional and comedic concepts that needed to be deftly translated to keep its entertainment value and be clearly understood by the target audience.

The Spanish translator faced another issue: When English is translated into Spanish it expands by about 20 percent. Yet the length of the translated text had be the same as the source script. In fact, it had to be matched to the syllable with the dialogue on the video. That meant the translator had to gently trim the script while preserving its meaning and successfully conveying its humor and pathos to young audiences.

The Process: The background of the translators was key to this project. The talent assigned to this job included two translator and editor teams who had the specialized creative skills and experience to localize text for comedy voice over, and dubbing. As the Rennert staff worked, they played back the video repeatedly, confirming that the mouth movements of characters on the screen aligned with the translated dialogue.

On dubbing days, the video's production teams, the voice talent, a professional studio monitor who spoke the translated languages, and Rennert managers met in the studios. Inevitably, situations would come up where text had to be shortened and reworked to fit what was happening on screen. The Rennert language monitor took the lead when this happened, discussing edits with the producer and discussing the linguistic and theatrical implications of the changes with the voice talent.

The Result: The production was wrapped, and an important educational video that teaches children how to deal with emergencies was customized for Spanish and Mandarin Chinese-speaking youngsters.

Learn more about the Rennert Translation Group's work with audio and video production.