Chapter 5 | Voice-Over: Practice, Research and Future Prospects


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Publication date: 13 September 2018
Copyright date 2019
Hardback ISBN: 9781138859524
E-book ISBN 9781315717166
You can order this volume on the Routledge website






Voice-over is a pre-recorded audiovisual transfer mode in which a voice delivering the translation is heard on top of the original voice, which is still audible in the background. This is supposed to enhance the feeling of authenticity. Voice-over is used for non-fictional genres in certain Western European countries, and for fictional programmes in many others. Voice-over does not keep lip synchronization but observes other types of synchronies: voice-over isochrony (be it full, initial or final), literal synchrony, kinetic synchrony, and action synchrony. Although different working flows coexist, voice-over implies the preparation of a written translation that will be delivered orally, generally by a voice talent, in a pre-recorded format. The language in the voiced-over version is often rephrased so that voice-over isochrony can be kept, and some features of orality such as hesitations, false starts or repetitions are often lost in the translation. Depending on the country’s tradition and on the genre, one or more voice talents deliver the voice-over, very often with a flat intonation, although some products are beginning to favour a more emphatic prosody. Research in the field of voice-over has focused on various topics, although to a limited extent: translation and synchronization techniques, linguistic aspects, cultural approaches, authenticity and manipulation, reception studies, inclusion of technologies in the process, and training. However, there are still many possible research topics which have not been explored. Descriptive research on large corpora is still needed, both synchronically and diachronically, and user reception studies are also missing in this transfer mode. Methodological instruments such as eye-tracking or electrophysiological tools could be used to that end. Other research topics to be explored include technology in voice-over, but also the relationship between voice-over and accessibility.



Anna Matamala is a Senior Lecturer at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Her current research focuses on audiovisual translation and media accessibility, with a special interest in dubbing, voice-over, audio description and audio subtitling, as well as translation technologies.



The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation Studies provides an authoritative and straightforward overview of the field through thirty-two specially commissioned chapters written by leading scholars in the field.

This state-of-the-art reference work is divided in four sections. The first part focuses on established and emerging audiovisual translation modalities, explores the changing contexts in which they have been and continue to be used, and examine how cultural and technological changes are directing their future trajectories. The second part explores the interface between audiovisual translation and a range of theoretical models that have proved particularly productive in steering research in audiovisual translation studies. Some of these models are associated with disciplines that have long intersected with audiovisual translation, while others are drawn from areas of knowledge that are only now beginning to make their presence felt in the audiovisual translation literature. The third part surveys a range of methodological approaches supporting traditional and innovative ways of interrogating audiovisual translation data. The final part addresses a range of themes pertaining to the place of audiovisual translation in society: these include the institutionalization, academization and technologization of audiovisual translation, as well as its role as a force for social change, both within and outside the industry. This Handbook gives audiovisual translation studies the voice it needs to make its presence felt within the Humanities research landscape.


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