Multilingual voice-over? Six thousand, nine hundred, and nine. That’s how many languages and dialects there are in the world, according to linguists. J.C. Richards and T.S. Rogers also note in their analysis Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching study, this means that 60 of the world’s population is multilingual.
As Douglas Swenson, points out, native speakers are sought out to record foreign voice-overs for all types of audio and video projects. Safety videos, presidential addresses, marketing videos, training webinars—these types of programs not only need translation, but they require individuals to read and record the scripts in their native language so that the videos can be understood around the world.
When it comes to entertainment and marketing, however, some languages are more in demand than others. The lists of in-demand languages vary from one voice over provider to another, but they all certainly include the following:
These lists include also languages like Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese. Many companies actually require that their voice projects be done both in English and another target language.
Dubbing your content into multiple languages means you reach more customers whose mother tongue isn’t English. Voiceover companies connect you with voice actors who can get your message across to international customers.
Need an example of multilingual content that works? Blu Collection — a YouTube channel with more than 5 million subscribers that reviews toys and games — dub their videos into Spanish, Russian, Korean and French. This helps them reach a truly global audience.
Multilingual voice-overs are also great for movies, TV shows, and video games. Contrary to popular belief, by the way, American audiences aren’t put off by a thick accent. Think Diego Luna in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, who speaks with his natural Mexican twang.
Six languages that are excellent multilingual voiceover choices – out advice
These super six are highly sought after by TV and moviemakers as well as businesses who want to reach customers in the world’s most lucrative markets.
With 400 000 000 native speakers, Spanish is the fourth most common language in the world. It goes without saying that Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations! 104 counties have significant Spanish-speaking populations, and the first document written in Spanish dates back to the year 964. As Spanish speakers would say, that’s pretty increíble!
VoiceBunny has an impressive roster of professional actors who speak a wide range of Spanish dialects, including Castilian, Puerto Rican Spanish, and Latin American neutral. There are also Peruvian voice-overs and Chilean voice overs if you want to get very specific. Expand your reach in Spanish-speaking countries with these amazing voice-over artists!
- Farsi (Persian)
Farsi is spoken by nearly everyone in Iran as a first or second language. That’s around 83 million people — more than the populations of Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, and North Carolina combined! Formerly known as Persian, the language is also spoken in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Look up ‘Persian voice-overs’ if you want to do business in the Middle East!
The U.S. exported $172 million in goods to Iran in 2016 alone. Did you know that?
Translating your marketing material with TranslationBunny and then dubbing your ads with DubbingBunny could generate new clients and provide you with lucrative new business opportunities. You can also connect with Iranians living in the United States, such as the Tehrangeles in Los Angeles. If you are a voiceover artist, companies are always looking for people who speak Farsi. Movaffagh bashid!
With more than 955 million speakers, Mandarin is the world’s most spoken language. It’s notoriously difficult to master — there are more than 50,000 characters! In fact, scientists claim that Mandarin speakers use both temporal lobes of their brains. (English speakers only use the left side, apparently).
Using a Mandarin voice over, you can target customers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing — three of China’s most populous cities. China’s economy is booming, making it a great place for business. If you don’t have time to learn the local lingo but still want to communicate with people in China, use a voiceover artist to do the hard work for you. VoiceBunny Pros have a vocabulary longer than the Great Wall!
- Caribbean English
Influenced by English-based Creole, Caribbean English is a colloquial way to refer to several rich language variants spoken by people in the Caribbean, Liberia, Central America, and South America. Many people find these dialects attractive: In a recent poll, people voted the Trinidadian accent — popularized by rapper Nicki Minaj — as one of the sexiest in the world.
Caribbean English voice-overs are the best way to engage with people in the Caribbean and beyond. Research shows that people are less likely to trust a fellow native speaker with a different dialect and prefer the sound of people with a similar accent to their own. Therefore, it makes sense to hire a professional from a voiceover company that has native voice actors that speak the same dialect as your target market. (If you speak with a Caribbean English accent, put your skills to good use and make money from voiceovers for TV shows, movies, and ads! Sign up here.)
More than 60 million people in China speak Cantonese. You’ll hear people speaking it in Hong Kong and Macau, and there are several Cantonese-speaking populations in Vietnam and Malaysia.
Did you know that Chinese people living in the U.S. are more likely to speak Cantonese than Mandarin? A Cantonese Chinese voice over will help you advertise your products to the Chinese diaspora in cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose.
Fifteen million people worldwide speak Bulgarian—a Slavic language spoken by people all over Southeastern Europe, Bulgarian is one of the official languages of the European Union. It borrows words from Turkish, Latin, Greek, Russian, and French.
Sofia, Bulgaria’s bustling capital, was recently voted one of the seven best cities for startups because of its low tax rates and super-fast internet speeds. If you are looking to expand your business to Southeastern Europe, a Bulgarian voice artist could be just what you need.
Multilingual voice over – where are the opportunities
The list for multilingual voice over is constantly growing. From what are now ‘standard’ opportunities, to some that are just starting to show their true potential. This list includes:
- Advertising and marketing audio and video;
- Feature films, documentaries, and TV shows;
- Business productions for international markets;
- Internal productions for multinational companies;
- YouTube and other video and audio instruction manuals:
- Video games:
- Multi-language e-learning.
The first four opportunities mentioned in the above list have been well documented and researched. You can read more on those here and here. You can also explore other similar opportunities here. But let us go into a bit of detail about the last three mentioned in the list.
YouTube, Vimeo, and other video streaming services currently contain an almost infinite number of instruction manuals and ’how-to’ guides for practically any product, app, or a process, from cooking to building your own home. If you want to find out how many potential viewers for these there are around the world, you’d probably have to multiply that by another set of millions.
Most of the involved ‘ingredients’ can be obtained online, but most of the potential viewers and customers do not necessarily understand English enough to completely comprehend the manuals. That is where a multilingual voice-over comes in quite handy.
Like most of the computer, tablet, and mobile phone apps, video games do not have specifically printed manuals or are solely in English. While with apps, potential users can often manage without instructions, with video games, particularly those involving role-playing, multilingual voice-over can become a must.
With remote work and remote learning becoming so prominent in current times, the demand for remote and eLearning that is multilingual the need for multilingual voice-over has the capability to grow exponentially.
Using the same voice actors in multilingual roles – Famous multilingual Voice Actors
As TV Tropes note, “when a TV show or film is exported around the world, every country has its own dub with its cast of voice actors. But sometimes, it could happen that some voice actor, able to speak in multiple languages, reprises their role from the original version in other dubs too.”
Babbel Magazine has compiled a list of well-known actors who are multilingual and have used their abilities in their productions.
- Natalie Portman – The Oscar-winning actress speaks English and Hebrew as native languages, and can also speak German, Spanish, and even Japanese!
- Colin Firth – Colin Firth learned Italian when he started dating his wife, the film producer, and director Livia Giuggioli. He’s now fluent and says with some confidence that he would be able to act in an Italian film — as long as he could play an Englishman who speaks Italian.
- Jodie Foster – The film star can speak French fluently. In fact, she can speak it so well that she’s acted in French films and has dubbed many of her own films into French. Foster can also get by in Italian, Spanish, and German.
- Penélope Cruz – Cruz speaks Italian and English on top of her native Spanish. Cruz learned Italian and English later in life in order to play certain roles and further her acting career. She even won awards for films in which she played an Italian-speaking character. Her Italian is so good that she even assumed the role of Mario in the Nintendo ad for the game New Super Mario Bros 2 in 2012.
- Mila Kunis – “Mila is originally from Ukraine and moved to the US at the age of seven with her parents. She now speaks both Ukrainian and English perfectly.”
Final words on multilingual voice over
The opportunities for multilingual voice-over are there, and as you can see from the above examples, they are only growing. Of course, getting one of the famous actors for your multilingual voice over project might be out of reach. Financially or otherwise. Still, voice-over marketplace like Bunny Studio can offer you a more affordable, but still effective and reliable opportunity. This is particularly true when you consider the above-mentioned categories like video games and eLearning.
Here we only mention six of the languages and dialects that are available on Bunny Studio. Click here to check out the voiceover profiles in our database—in 50+ languages! Actually, this database is continually growing. So is the list of available multilingual voice artists. Also, any suggestion of the voice-over language is always welcome! Some languages are becoming a growing opportunity.
Of course, there is an opportunity for those linguists and voice actors that speak multiple languages. They are always welcome to check out their job opportunities with Bunny Studio. If you speak any of these languages, upload a sample and start working with us today.