Subtitling or Voiceover: which is best for you & the do’s and don’ts

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Subtitling or Voiceover: which is best for you & the do’s and don’ts


With our world becoming ever smaller and companies expanding beyond borders, the demand for media and promotional content to be localised for international consumption has never been higher. Subtitles and voiceovers are being used increasingly frequently to localise video content to target specific markets – but what’s the best way to approach this for your video?


Subtitling is a lot cheaper (50%+) and quicker to produce but may not work in markets less used to reading subtitles on screen (e.g. the US, Latin America etc.); Voiceovers or dubbing can be slicker and easier to follow but can be a bit pricey at around £500+ for a 5 min video in one language.


Once you’ve chosen what path’s best for you, you may find these few tips handy if you’re a newcomer to video content localisation and are using a voiceover or subtitling agency to manage your project.


Do’s & Don’ts



Subtitlers have the sometimes arduous task of balancing accurate translation, subject to extremely specific timecodes, and the need to be concise, so the captions do not occupy the entire screen.

·      DO      Finalise the video before sending for translation

Make sure all content is finalised before sending for translation. Subtitle timecodes are specific to what is on screen at the time; the slightest change to this can result in costly edits to all subtitle timings.

·      DON’T – Be careful with ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) to create a video script

This can yield inaccurate results and it is much easier for a linguist to create their own, rather than adapt one created via an automated function.




Our voiceover artists offer an eclectic mix of tones, pitches and ranges and charge differently, depending on the VO usage.

·      DO      – Be clear on how you want your VO to sound

You can be sure that your end product will hit the mark if you give a clear brief about how you want the voice to sound: tone, pitch, speed, age, gender etc. If you have a preference about how the artist should speak, we want to know!

·      DON’T – Be unclear re the VO’s usage

Not disclosing where a voice is going to be used can be a costly thing to fix and will have legal implications – it’s all about licensing. Always be upfront about how you’re planning to use a VO – whether it’s for a TV advert, for YouTube or for internal training etc.


As you can see, there are a few different aspects to consider when going down the route of subtitling and voiceover localisation. But following these simple steps will go a long way to making such projects a breeze!


Dialogue offers multilingual subtitling and voiceover services for a range of video mediums, such as eLearning, ads and more. To find out more about our services, click here.


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