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Tim O’Donoghue

“Over the last few years we’ve seen a definite trend emerging – more and more global brands are in some way centralising production of their TVCs and other content, and UK post facilities like us have found ourselves working on commercials for countries around the world, recording and directing voiceovers in foreign languages and mastering to a whole host of different broadcast specs.

Setting aside arguments about whether this approach produces the best commercials, this is a challenge that personally I’ve always enjoyed rising to – working with foreign voiceovers is often a fascinating and fun insight into other cultures, and we’ve learned plenty of obscure and interesting lessons along the way. Some languages can be more problematic than others in terms of length. Here’s a free word of advice: always ask for your Arabic translation to be done in advance to your picture timings – this saves the VO having to re-translate during the record, a potentially hugely time consuming process! For some countries it’s the cultural differences that are the challenge to recreating the ad – when a “smiley, upbeat” read was requested by the client, my Serbian voiceover artist said “In Serbia, if someone smiles we ask: Why?”

My favourite adaptation project of this year was this series of animated shorts made by Unilever, which we worked on with Oliver Marketing to dub into South American Spanish. The films are aimed at encouraging kids to brush their teeth, and the English language version was a huge success on Facebook last year. Federico, the talented Spanish Argentine VO who performed every voice, gave me some fascinating insights into the way various foreign accents are perceived differently depending on which country you are in. There is, for instance, in the Spanish-speaking world, no perception of what Australian or Scandinavian accents sound like. Instead we used accents that reflected the various countries of South America: Chilean, Brazilian, Argentinian etc. with Federico guiding us as to what would be the best fit for each character. The films are super fun, check them out!”

Little Brush Big Brush – Episode 1 from Angell Sound Studios on Vimeo.

Little Brush Big Brush – Episode 2 from Angell Sound Studios on Vimeo.

Little Brush Big Brush – Episode 3 from Angell Sound Studios on Vimeo.

To watch these entertaining characters stories unfold, head over to our projects page to see the series in full!