Back in 1982, you had to pay $200 a day for the most straightforward dubbing project. How much does dubbing cost almost 40 years later?
Realistically, the cost has gone up several folds. Inflation, cost of equipment, and other market forces are responsible for the price hike. However, looking at cost as a random figure would be misleading. Cost is a product of many other factors that you will encounter in the course of this discussion.
As a client, you will also realize that focus goes beyond the summative figure given by a client or the need to cut on budget. Factors like market expectations from your brand, quality desires, and the availability of a dubbing agent mean that you have to look beyond cost.
Still, dubbing is expensive compared to other jobs on complete videos like translation and subtitling. Regardless of the need to ignore cost for the sake of quality, the discussion on price is valid.
From the points below, you will understand cost better and maneuver around figures to get the best value for money.
Is Knowing How Much Does a Dubbing Cost Worth It?
Dubbing is pricy. A simple video can cost as much as $75/minute.
Are these prices justifiable?
The answers to this question require you to examine the value of dubbing. Why would you want the video in another language yet you can add subtitles?
In summary, dubbing helps you to reach a wider audience than the original movie. For instance, dubbing a Chinese movie into English allows you to access a market with an extra 1.132 billion consumers. Such a new market can now enjoy your ideas and stories without relying on subtitles or having to learn your language.
What about the returns upon dubbing?
Well, most movies recoup their expenses in the native language market. Dubbing, on the other hand, opens a new market without extensive production costs. With a few hundred thousand dollars, you can dub a movie that goes forth to earn millions in a new market. Thus, dubbing can be an opportunity to make super-profits.
In the same light, dubbing awakens dead stories. Here is the trick:
A production house had a blockbuster in the 80s, but it was only in French or English. However, a new market emerged in the Spanish-speaking world. Luckily the story came to life without any new productions apart from subtitling and dubbing. A new generation and nation will enjoy these classic stories.
Under those circumstances, dubbing is necessary, regardless of the accompanying expenses. Fortunately, as you will notice later, you have control over the price.
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How Much Does a Dub Cost Concerning the Services Offer
The alternatives to dubbing are relatively affordable.
Is there any justification for the high cost of dubbing?
The answer is Yes! Here is why dubbing costs more.
1. It involves translations
Most dubbing projects aim at providing movies in other languages. With this intention in mind, translation is inevitable. The dubbing technician has to translate your script first before laying the new audio file over the movie.
Translation on its own is expensive. You have to look for a translator who understands both languages in-depth to boost the quality of your dubbing. If a translator misses a word or uses a weaker synonym, the quality of the dubbed movie is diluted.
More importantly, movies are creative projects. They are built on a connotation that can only be brought out using specific words. It means the translator is not just changing words from one language to another. You must maintain the comedy or seriousness in the movie. To achieve that requires a seasoned translator.
It is expensive to hire seasoned and skilled translators. And because of the potential of your dubbing project, you’ll need to invest. After all, the inadequate translation will kill all the good intentions and efforts you have put into the project.
2. It requires multiple skills
This point is a continuation of the discussion above. Beyond translation, you must understand captioning and audio engineering. In other cases, you need DJ skills and the use of sound-effect software. All these skills come at a price.
By all means, translation is expensive. It even costs more when the second language is rare. Considering the effects of using amateur translators on the quality of your dubbed video, you would opt for premium translation services.
The other technical skills are even more expensive. Audio engineering is costly and sensitive because it directly impacts the quality of the dubbed video. It would help if you had steady hands that could match words with action on the screen. The engineer must also ensure uniform sound quality and consistent volume.
The combination of translator cum sound engineer is rare, and when it is available, you pay a premium price. Either way, there is no shortcut to sound engineering and translation.
If you fail to find a singular talent for both skills, you must hire more than one person. The price of your project will keep escalating.
3. The projects have huge financial implications after dubbing
Translators and audio engineers are cognizant of the impact of their work. For instance, one knows that a movie dubbed from English to Chinese can reach a billion more people. As such, he will charge a fortune for the services.
As the project owner, you target excellent returns once the movie or video hits the market. You must be ready to invest, get the best quality, and compete squarely in the market. Consequently, your perception of the cost will change.
So, how do you take charge of dubbing costs? Well, by understanding the factors that affect the cost of your dubbing project.
Here is the discussion in detail:
What Affects How Much a Dub Costs?
· Length of your dubbing project
It passes as obvious to relate the cost of a dubbing project directly with length. A lengthy project like a movie series with several seasons is more expensive to dub than a documentary with a single episode. The justification is simple; it will take a longer time to complete the work, even for the most experienced dubbing technician.
While the statement makes sense on the surface, longer projects can be comparatively cheaper. The length makes it easier to ask for and receives a discount. On the other hand, longer assignments may be tiring, resulting in the demand for higher pay.
In the end, it is your negotiation skills that will determine how much you pay. Find a way to use the length of your movie to your advantage.
· Who is dubbing your video?
When a dubbing project arises, you have the option of hiring a freelancer or a dubbing agency. The ultimate dubbing price will depend on the choice you make.
Each dubbing freelancer has a unique pricing model. Amateurs are lenient with charges and may offer a better price. However, you have the quality to worry about.
On the other hand, dubbing agencies and freelancing websites also have a formula for calculating the price of a dubbing project.
Compare the prices and conditions different entities offer to choose the most reasonable for your case.
While cost is a concern, your primary focus should be the quality of the resulting video. Hire a freelancer or agency that can guarantee quality to avoid lowering the potential of your video.
· The popularity of the languages involved
As discussed earlier, language is a significant factor in dubbing. It affects the number of dubbing technicians available for the job.
A popular language has more people ready to take up such a project. Where few people speak a language, dubbing personnel will be few, resulting in high prices.
· Level of expertise required
What is your expectation of the dubbing technician at the end of the project?
The standards for a dubbing project define the right person for the job. These standards depend on your brand position in the market and the target audience.
As an illustration, a video targeting corporate clientele comes with higher standards than a video for upload on social media. In other cases, you might be interested in plain translation while another client wants the addition of sound effects.
In each of these cases, the skills and expertise needed to differ. You can even see the difference in the invoices.
· Brand involved in the dubbing
This is a matter of pride and market perception. Dubbing specialists charge based on the profile of a client. For instance, a project by Netflix will be more expensive than one by a startup trying its luck in the market.
Brands also influence the price. They choose credible, experienced, and premium dubbing services where they are assured of quality.
In the end, it is a two-way affair where the dubbing agent charges more because of extraneous expectations, and the client is ready to pay more so that these expectations are met without question.
Because of all these factors, the cost of a dub becomes impossible to determine. Each project requires personal negotiations and a customized package.
How to Reduce the Cost of Dubbing
Still, it is possible to pay less for a premium dubbing project. How?
1. Get quotations from multiple dubbing agents
Simply put, look for multiple quotations and choose the cheapest. Unlike the common notion that cheap is expensive, there are instances where you get a reasonable price for premium services.
A dubbing company could be set up or has a seasonal offer. A freelancer could also be trying to capture the attention of potential clients by lowering prices.
Such instances help you to get the best quality dubbing services at a lower price.
2. Order your project early
Turn-around-time is a considerable determinant of dubbing prices. The technicians require reasonable time to complete an hour of dubbing, for instance.
However, if you need them to work extra time and abandon other projects in favor of your video, prepare to pay the additional amount.
Simultaneously, the project would cost less if they did not have to hurry because of a short deadline.
3. Hire a freelancer
Freelancers are always cheaper than agencies or companies. They have fewer overhead costs, resulting in a favorable price. And since you are dealing with an individual, it is easier to bend the rules than a freelancing website or agency with established structures.
Conclusion on How Much Does a Dub Cost
The debate on the cost of a dub should only arise when quality is assured. A slight compromise on quality would result in substantial long-term losses and a downgrade of the potential of your video.
That notwithstanding, you must use all tricks available to chase the lowest price for your dubbing project.
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