Voice Talent Rates--Foreign Languages

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by j jay, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. j jay

    j jay Guest

    what are the going voice talent rates for recording business audio material
    in a foreign language, assuming that voice and knowledge of the foreign
    language are all that is required. The recording will be taken care of by
    the hirer.

    And how are the rates different between New York City, say, and a city in
    the Midwest or the South?

    Thank you in advance.

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    j jay, Apr 25, 2004
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  2. j jay

    Steve King Guest


    You are going to have to be more specific about what you are looking for if
    you want useful information.

    In Chicago you can expect to pay at least as much as you would pay a union
    (AFTRA) English language narrator and sometimes more. The fee would depend
    on the intended use of the program (private use within the company vs.
    public performance, a trade show for example), the length of the script, the
    length of the recording session, and the language... there being many more
    Spanish language narrators available than Farsi. All that said... I would
    budget around $700 or so including employment taxes, union fees if any, and
    misc. payroll costs for a corporate video narration of twenty minutes or so.
    Can you get it done cheaper? Probably. At a bargain basement price can you
    have assurance ahead of time that you will get a usable track that is
    understandable and pleasing to the audience? I don't think so, particularly
    if you don't speak the language.

    You did mean that you would provide a script translated from English to the
    desired language, didn't you? If not, figure translation costs at from .25
    to .50 an English word.

    Steve King
    Steve King, Apr 27, 2004
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  3. j jay

    Ken P. Guest

    Contact Berlitz in your area. In Chicago they provided me with outstanding

    Ken P.
    Ken P., Apr 27, 2004
  4. Try http://www.berlitz.us/default.htm

    Berlitz has a good reputation, and they still provide language
    instruction. And they might be able to contact a good speaker for

    But some Berlitz offices don't offer interpretation or translation
    services, and therefore might not have the rosters of interpreters and
    voice talent that some of them used to have.

    Other suggestions: One, some radio and TV station announcers do voice

    For example, there is an English language TV station in this area that
    simulcasts its news and a few other programs in Spanish on the radio.
    I know two of the interpreters who do the Spanish voices on the radio

    Two, you might also check the Yellow Pages for "Interpretation", or
    maybe "Translation". Call a couple of companies, see if they sound
    like they know what they are doing. Nothing against Internet
    marketing, but generally companies in the Yellow Pages have been
    around for a while, because they're doing something right.

    Steve M - (remove dirt for reply)

    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly,
    while bad people will find a way around the laws.
    -- Plato (427-347 B.C.)
    Steven M (remove cola to reply), Apr 27, 2004
  5. j jay

    Steve King Guest

    I had a not so good experience with a Berlitz instructor. My client, who
    was a native speaker, said that the 'narrator' had perfect pronunciation,
    but had no reading skills, sounded wooden... read-y. And, there's the rub.
    If one doesn't speak the language, one takes on a lot of responsibility to
    get it right in a corporate production. That's why I have felt more
    comfortable booking professionals who have track records. The cost has not
    been prohibitively more than the language teacher, who may have been a
    wonderful language teacher but turned out not to be able to capture
    attention and interest with the spoken word.

    Steve King
    Steve King, Apr 28, 2004
  6. Interesting. I worked part-time for about year at a company that
    offered translation and English language instruction. Sometimes I
    worked in a room next to one of the classrooms. Most of the English
    instructors were interesting people, with dynamic personalities. I
    never thought of them as "professional speakers" for voice-over work,
    but they were pleasant to listen to and might have done well.

    Steve M - (remove dirt for reply)

    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly,
    while bad people will find a way around the laws.
    -- Plato (427-347 B.C.)
    Steven M (remove cola to reply), Apr 28, 2004
  7. j jay

    Ty Ford Guest

    Well if they are smart, they charge by the session and the degree of
    commercial exposure. A promotional non-broadcast narration that isn't part of
    a web page or point of purchase video costs less than a spot running in a
    major market.


    Ty Ford
    Ty Ford, Apr 28, 2004
  8. j jay

    Ty Ford Guest

    Good point Steve. And who would know the difference.


    Ty Ford, Apr 28, 2004
  9. j jay

    Ken P. Guest

    My experience is the exact opposite. The "professional" agency we'd hired to
    do a series of local Hispanic spots in different cities provided us with
    one, untalented, Mexican narrator. If you're experienced in this, you'll
    know that there are vastly different Hispanic markets in different cities:
    Cubano in Miami, Mexican in LA, Puerto Rican in NY and much also depends on
    the station's demographics. Anyway, we tried Berlitz, they quickly
    ascertained our needs, and provided us with both talent and coach that blew
    away the Pros. Bear in mind this was in Chicago. YMMV on locality.

    There are some people/companies in this business who've called themselves
    "pros" and may have the reputation and billing practices commensurate with
    the title who just can't cut it. But then, you knew that, Steve.

    Ken P.
    Ken P., Apr 30, 2004
  10. j jay

    Steve King Guest

    I hear you. I have not had much success working with either of the two
    Chicago agencies who claim a specialty in Spanish language performers. I
    have used a couple of performers who also work in English, work that I
    admired. My thinking was that if they can be effective on-camera in
    English, they are likely to be so in Spanish, assuming that they are a
    native speaker. Of course, as you point out, Spanish is difficult, because
    of the many different.. not dialects really, but pronunciation and word
    usage differences. To protect myself and have the best chance to make the
    client look good I get the client to provide a few people representative of
    the target audience to 'vet' my foreign language casting decisions.

    Steve King
    Steve King, Apr 30, 2004
  11. I agree with everthing said so far -- How about you hire the local Berliz
    male or female to direct the spot
    there is a lot of leads on voice123.com

    Hey I wonder if Ty saw this one : i really like his work and if I
    remember he doesnt live in NY,LA or Chicago
    and now you dont have to have an ISDN line

    Radio & TV PSA
    Placed media
    Non-Union (Independant)
    Wash DC Metro Area
    Read & Sound of Dennis Haysbert - President Palmer of Fox TV "24"
    Fee: $225 - Radio / $ 275 - TV - somewhat negotiable for right voice
    Send me a custom audition please of role in following script - character
    marked as "voiceover"
    We will need to "phone patch" into master session after talent has been
    Need to have file sent to us .wav or highest quality MP3 via emale or FTP.
    This Friday would be our day of choice for mastering session.
    Thanks so much
    I was very impressed with the response & quality of talent from our first
    use of voice123.

    did I mention that japanese was very pricey ?

    Les Beigel
    Hollywood Voices
    P.O. Box 85042
    Hollywood,Ca. 90072

    Talent Mp3 files and Audio Record equipt shown on

    a quicktime video like the nfl announcer

    female: Karen Strassman www.karenstrassmanvoices.com
    Hollywood Voices, May 6, 2004
  12. j jay

    Ty Ford Guest

    Hi Les,

    Thanks for the floweres. I did see it. BTW, I now have a high-speed cable
    modem. It makes ISDN sort of redundant. After the political season, I'm
    thinking about selling off my APT DRT 128.


    Ty Ford
    Ty Ford, May 7, 2004
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