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How to Select the Right Chinese Voice-Over Talent for Your Videos

Maria Krisette Capati, Author

20 April 2019

Are you having a hard time choosing the right Chinese voice-over talent for your video?

Look no further; here’s a simplified guide to help you make the right choice and the right voice.

Before you go into details, let’s debunk the misconceptions about “Chinese Voice Over.” Technically, these services are not called “Chinese voice overs” but what they (local vendors) mean are “Mandarin voiceovers,” which is the widely used language in mainland China and those who lived overseas.

READ MORE >> What You Should Know About Cantonese and Mandarin Dialects

Mandarin is the spoken language of the Chinese. Well, there’s also the Cantonese. So, probably you have come across these terms or words, but what they mean are Mandarin voice-overs and Cantonese voice-overs.

Your choice of voice-over talent or artists should also match your brand’s voice.

So, which one or what type of voice over do you need? Whether you’re publishing a promotional video, building an archive of your training materials, or launching e-learning videos, always consider the following:

#1 Provide clarity of your brand’s voice or style

Your brand has a unique image. There must be something unique about your brand, and not just about the colors or logos. But the overall image and style of communication. You could be that “corporate” serious type or a geeky, informal type. To help you on your quest in finding the right voice-over talent in China, there’s already clarity on your standards.

#2 List down the emotions you want to portray

It’s important to nail down the emotions you want to portray on the videos you want to publish. As voice-over talents have their style and “signature” of how pronunciation, diction, and tone, you provide a list of emotions that also matches your videos stories. The emotions are important, too. If you’re in the e-learning industry and you want to publish your video courses in Chinese, you also need to consider this element. You don’t want your recordings to sound dull.

#3 Ask for recommendations

If you’re going to work with agencies, you may also ask for their recommendations. Send samples of your videos, and they can help match the type of voice that suits your overall style. That’s why it’s recommended to work with production agencies that offer language solutions. It will lessen the burden on your side, and you can rely on their recommendations since they’ve worked with different voice artists.

#4 Choose the gender of voice talent artists

Depending on the type of video you’re publishing or promoting, gender is a consideration when choosing the artist. Whether it’s a male or female artist, no study proves, which one is sufficient. However, there’s a poll of 2,200 US adults by Adweek and Harris Interactive that showed 46% believed female voice was soothing, and the 48% exudes more authority. But again, we can’t be subjective in this area. But we can follow this simple rule. If you’re targeting female, then it’s best to choose female, same as with the male audience.

#5 Provide details about your target audience

The clarity in terms of demographics is crucial in deciding what type of Chinese voice-over you should use. For example, Mandarin voice-over is common in Mainland China. It’s also used in Taiwan and Singapore.

On the other hand, Cantonese is used in Hong Kong, Macau, and the parts of Guangdong province and
other people in the Guangxi region. While it’s likely that Mandarin is the first option of most marketers, it’s better to be specific to make sure you don’t waste your time and money.

#6 Review the experience and niche of the voice-artist(s)

Voice-over is a skill learned from years of experience. There are the amateurs, intermediate and veterans. The veterans and most experienced already have mastered their “signature” voice and their character once they’re recording and reading the scripts. It’s important to ask for the history or background of those you have shortlisted. Niche is also important. Other artists have this way of “presenting” style rather than “storytelling.”

So, for example, if you’re in the travel and tourism sector and you’re publishing a promotional video about your place, you’d instead choose someone who’s very much of a storyteller in style and lively.

#7 Pay attention to details

Listen to the voicebanks and samples that your supplier sends you. It would even be better to request for a voice-over test. You may also invite your in-house team and native Chinese colleagues to vet on the samples and in this way, you have plenty of room to go into details. Listen carefully how the artist delivers the message. Is it enticing? Is it too loud or annoying? Crowdsourcing it with your in-house team will also help you decide. In unity, you all know which voice matches your brand’s personality.

#8 Assess the Pitch

If you’re targeting an older generation or those in the 60s and 70s, better assess the pitch of your Mandarin voice-over artists. There’s a condition called presbycusis that older people experience, preventing them from hearing higher pitch ranges. It’s better to look for a voice-over artist who’s a veteran in speaking with clarity and with a deeper pitch to make sure your audience understands your message.

#9 Check the turnaround time and revision requests

Does the team or your choice of voice-over talents commit to the turnaround time you have set? Can they accommodate revision requests? How many? These are some of the questions you also need to ask and probe before finalizing the agreement. Some agencies may even have additional charges for revisions. Always check if they’re willing to commit and also if the chosen or final artists can do it throughout the entire process with the agreed payment terms and even several revisions.

#10 Observe the work ethic of the team

Most of the time, local suppliers will show the best foot forward when you’re on the search of voice-over talent. Be observant on how they work. You can start with the responsiveness of the team or the project manager in charge. You can also review the companies they’ve worked before and probe more of how the workflow goes, both internal and external. Are the voice-over artists dedicated and passionate in delivering the materials? Do they embrace the project as their own and add value to the services? Remember that once you sign up and agree with the contract and terms, there’s no turning back. Whomever you choose will also make an impact on your materials for the long-term.

Let us know, and we’ll be happy to assist you with Chinese voice-overs, whether in Mandarin or Cantonese.

Fill in the form below and we will get back to you with a quote on your project.

As we are constrained by resources, we will only serve those deserve our attention and time. We will only focus on clients who are already decided which projects to prioritize and understand the importance of translation and localization efforts.

china market writer

Maria Krisette Capati

Krisette or "Sette" for short is a professional writer and copywriter who loves to cover disruptive technologies, digital trends in China, and a myriad of geeky and innovative topics. She's the Content Strategist at AZ-Loc and currently manages the English website and in-charge of the social media channels. She has been writing about China markets, business, and startups since 2012. She has gained her expertise as a China internet specialist and is fascinated by its business ethics, language, and culture. She's a major of Business Management and Entrepreneurship and an advocate of faith-based non-profit organizations. When she's not writing or dabbling with Sophie and the team, she satiates her wanderlust as a digital nomad. 

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