The Right Voice-Over Narrator for Audiobooks

How to Find the Right Voice-Over Narrator for Audiobooks

Anyone who likes to hit the treadmill or who frequently gets stuck in bumper to bumper traffic is probably familiar with the ease and convenience of audiobooks. Listening to books is a great way to squeeze in a little recreation time while folding laundry or wrapping up mindless work tasks. 

It’s easy to see why audiobooks have grown so much in popularity in recent years. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, audiobook sales rose by 28.8% and in 2016, 24% of Americans listened to at least one audiobook, which was an increase from the 22% of people who reported doing so in 2015. 

With so much interest in audiobooks growing over the years, this leaves a lot of room for authors and publishing houses to benefit from this trend. Almost any book has the potential to become an audiobook, but for it to be effective, it has to be done well. There’s a lot more to making a good audiobook than just reading it out loud. The voice-over narrator in particular plays a key role in the success of an audiobook. 

Skills Audiobook Narrators Need

The bulk of the audiobook experience for the reader centers around the narrator, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced narrator who is up to the task. These are some of the skills you should look for when hiring an audiobook narrator. 

  • Acting ability. A good narrator doesn’t simply read text, they act it out. When someone narrates an audiobook, they need to embody different characters and be able to authentically relay their stories. Having a background in acting can make accomplishing this task much easier. 
  • Voice abilities. To differentiate between characters, the narrator will need to alter their voice, to make it clear which character is speaking. They may even need to adapt accents or speak in different dialects. While no listener expects one narrator to completely change their voice for each character, they won’t be able to follow the story if the narrator doesn’t use a variety of voices. 
  • Stamina. Narration is a tiring task and one that requires stamina and a decent amount of breath control. Recording days can be long and tiring, so you’ll want to work with a narrator who is experienced working on these types of projects and who knows what to expect during a day of recording. 
  • Research. A narrator who is also a good researcher will be most effective at their job. The whole process will go a lot smoother if the narrator does some leg work and reviews the text in advance to confirm they know how to pronounce all the words. That way, they won’t stumble through the narration any time a new name or place they haven’t heard of before comes up in the text. 

How to Find the Right Narrator

To find the right narrator for an audio project, it’s important to compare work samples of any narrators you’re considering for the job. Here’s a few things you should pay attention to when reviewing those audio samples. 

  • Their voice. This seems like a no-brainer, but the narrator has to have the right voice for the project. No matter how good they are at their job, sometimes they may sound too young or too old for a role. They may have a flair for the dramatic or pronounce words in a specific way that doesn’t work for the tone of the book. Pay close attention to their voice to get a gauge if they can help your specific text come to life.
  • Their speed. How fast do they speak? Do they speak too fast for anyone to understand? Or too slow to keep the audience’s attention?
  • Their equipment and surroundings. If your narrator will be recording the audiobook using their own equipment in their own recording space, make sure you pay close attention to background sounds, echos, and other factors that can be influenced by their location or technology. 

Every book (or audiobook) is unique, which is why it’s only logical to be in doubt about what narrator to choose. If you’re about to embark on a project like this one, feel free to reach out to the Terra team and get advice and suggestions for your specific project. The last thing you want is for a great story to fall flat because the narrator wasn’t the right fit!

Brazil as an emerging market key industries Portada

Brazil as an emerging market: Key industries

The Brazilian market provides nearly endless business opportunities thanks to its massive population of more than 211 million residents. While many different types of businesses across multiple industries have the chance to thrive in this market, the video game, e-learning, and healthcare and pharmaceutical industries in particular have a lot to gain by entering and embracing the Brazilian market. Let’s examine why these industries can benefit so much by properly entering this vibrant market. 

Video Games

Because only 5% of the Brazilian population speaks English, localization into Portuguese is a must if you want your video game to be widely accessible to Brazilians. It’s extremely important that you localize your video game for the Brazilian market. Especially when you consider the fact that this country is home to over 66 million gamers, which is almost as many people that make up the entire UK population. An important factor to understand about the Brazilian market is how much they rely on their mobile devices because of how much they rely on their mobile devices, in part due to long commutes on public transport and affordability when compared to other platforms. Localizing mobile games in particular should be a priority for video game creators. 


Those that focus on the corporate training sector in particular have great potential to break into this market right now. Because only a minority of people in Brazil speak English, this language barrier prevents them from taking online courses that are not in their native language. Data suggests that Brazilian industries are developing fast, but their workforce is not adequately trained and can lack specific skills. If you adapt your online courses to their native language you can help address this need and expand your reach in this market. 

You also have the opportunity to adapt your e-learning courses to a mobile format which will appeal to this unique market. By 2023, the Latin America e-learning market is anticipated to generate more than $3 billion in revenue, so this is not an opportunity that e-learning content creators want to sleep on. 

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

Circling back to those 211 million Brazilians, that’s a lot of people who need access to translated and localized healthcare and pharmaceutical information. As of 2018, there were more than 250 health-focused startups in Brazil. This isn’t surprising when you consider that Brazil is the world’s seventh-largest health market. 

From prescription packaging to medical records to insurance claims, there is a great need for proper translation and localization in the Brazilian healthcare industry. Brazil’s pharmaceutical market in particular is one of the largest in the industry and rapidly growing. With many pharmaceuticals developed in English-speaking countries, this leaves a large need for translation in this space. 

Mobile comes into play here once again. To help make healthcare as a whole more accessible (including advice, diagnosis, and monitoring), telehealth services are growing in Brazil. Part of the attempt to make healthcare more accessible is to embrace telehealth, which often takes advantage of mobile applications. 

Translation and localization in the healthcare and pharmaceutical space does not just lead to business opportunities, but also opportunities to create safer and more effective care for Brazilians.


The Role of Technology in the Translation Industry

Technology has impacted all areas of our lives greatly and the translation industry is no exception. In the past, translators did their work using paper and pen, typewriters, and dictionaries. As you can imagine, without the aid of technology, the translation process took a lot of time to complete. Fortunately, much has changed since the rise of the computer and the internet—word processor, access to many more digital resources (dictionaries, glossaries, corpus), reduced research time (no need to go to the library and flip through big books), faster communication with clients and between peers, and access to the best talent in the world make translation work easier and more effective.

Let’s take a closer look at how technology has impacted the translation industry. 

How Technology Has Impacted the Translation Industry

The advancement of computer technology and the internet created a wide range of tools and convenience for every industry, but the translation industry specifically started its road of exponential growth when technology stepped in. As technology expanded, so did our access to other corners of the world. Given the amount of content that needed to be translated to reach other markets and audiences, technology also needed to provide enhanced productivity, communication, and quality assurance tools.

CAT tools were the first big revolution in the translation field and absolutely changed how translators worked thanks to the implementation of translation memory, term bases, and QA checks. While at the beginning CAT tools were deemed to be a threat to human translators, it soon became clear how much they had to offer. Linguists became more efficient and productive, and found in them ways to reduce human errors. Now it seems inconceivable to work without them.

Machine Translation (MT) can be considered the next big revolution. This technological solution was created to help meet that vast demand for fast translation services at a cheaper cost. While the quality standard with MT can be questionable and there’s a lot of room for improvement, there’s no denying that to some extent and in some fields the use of MT can prove to be invaluable.

As demand for translation services grew, other technological tools came to the rescue in order to keep track of everything. Translation Management Systems in particular provide a wide variety of solutions to common translation struggles. This tool organizes all kinds of translation and localization workflows. Some of the benefits of a Translation Management System include: 

  • 24/7 access
  • Automation of workflows
  • Assignments by AI
  • Centralized linguistic assets
  • Easy collaboration
  • Progress tracking
  • Simple integration
  • Built-in accountability
  • Scalability
  • Deadline management
  • Improved translation quality
  • Transparent ROI

The Takeaway 

Technology has its faults—there’s no doubt about that—but in the translation industry it has been an enabler for progress. As long as all parties involved in the process understand that technology has its limitations, it can be used to do more, better, and faster work. In a world where access to information in a language everybody understands has become critical, having technology on our side is an enormous help.


Why is it important that the translator has a translation degree or certification?

The translation industry is made up of talented translators that hail from a variety of backgrounds. While some translators have earned a translation degree or certification, many other translators haven’t pursued a formal translation education. This begs the question, why isn’t there a set education standard in the translation industry? And is it important for translators to have a translation degree or certification? Let’s investigate.

Global Standards Vary

The translation industry is a global industry and one of the reasons that translators can have differing educational experiences is because every country has their own unique set of academic standards. In some countries you can attend a university and earn your translation degree after four or five years of study. In other countries, the universities may not offer an equivalent degree, but you may be able to take short translation courses focused on specific fields . Some countries only have translation associations that offer certifications like ATA. Point being, the education opportunities and therefore the hiring standards to become a translator, can vary greatly depending on where a translator lives. 

Why Do Translation Degrees and Certifications Have Value?

A translation degree or certification illustrates that a translator has the knowledge necessary to do translation work and do it well. This is especially helpful for those who are new in their career without much work experience under their belt. While some translators learn the necessary skills to do this job on their own through a lot of practice, not having credentials to account for what they know can create a roadblock for them. 

Pursuing a translation degree or certification plays an important role in learning how to work as a translator and how to create a linguistically and culturally accurate message. Some people believe being bilingual is enough to become a translator, but in reality being bilingual does not ensure that you have the skills necessary to be an accurate translator who can tackle all the important aspects of communication in both languages. 

The Benefits of Extending Education

Translators tend to be curious creatures, or at least in an ideal situation, they should be. A good translator must always be learning about new tools and reading about the latest developments in their fields of expertise. Some translators, after obtaining their degree in translation, go on to earn a degree in finance, the arts, history, or another subject relevant to their expertise. This desire to continue their education shows how committed a professional translator can be to delivering a top quality service.

What Employers and Clients Need to Know

To be on the safe side, always work with people who have become experts in the translation of specific language combinations through extensive studies. We know that literally everything can be translated, but not every translation has the same impact. There are fields that are very sensitive, such as those that have anything to do with health, security, and law. When it comes to the legal industry, some documents require a certified translation and having credentials is a requirement not an option. Certain industries allow no room for error, so working with a professional with vast linguistic and subject matter knowledge and experience is always your best bet. It’s worth noting that for some language combinations, there are no official certifications or academic programs available, so it’s important to do your research before hiring to be aware of what standards your candidate can realistically meet.


Transcreation vs Copywriting—Are They The Same?

Nowadays, there’s more potential than ever for businesses to reach new audiences around the world. So, how can businesses spread the word about their product and services? Transcreation and copywriting are two different areas of focus in marketing—both of which can help a business tell their brand story, distribute their offerings, and reach new audiences.  

Let’s take a look at how copywriting and transcreation vary and when each is needed.  

What is Copywriting? 

The art of copywriting combines creative writing with persuasive writing with the goal of reaching a target audience and persuading them to do something in a given medium. For example, the goal may be to have the potential customer click on a link, provide information about themselves, to fill out a form, or to make a purchase. 

With copywriting projects, the copy is created from scratch in a given language, based on a brief and reference material the client provides the copywriter with. At this point, no translation is involved and the copywriter is likely writing in their native language.  

Copywriting services have evolved a lot during the last decade. In the past, copywriting was something that newspapers and magazines required to come up with catchy headlines, cover story titles, and other forms of copy that would increase their readership and sales. Today, people’s attention spans are a lot shorter and new mediums like email, social media, and websites require a different form of copywriting. The aim for copy today is usually to be clear and concise.  

While the message may be brief (a slogan for example) the work that entails is not. Copywriting requires a lot of creative skill in order to come up with effective copy while balancing the data-backed needs of SEO.  

What is Transcreation? 

Transcreation is very different from copywriting, yet involves copywriting skills. While it requires the same creative writing skills that copywriting does, transcreation adds in the essential element of translation to the process. 

Transcreation services are used in the field of multilingual communication and marketing. The result is a persuasive, creative text in a different language. The transcreator works with the copy already produced in one language and comes up with new text in a different language that creates the same effect as the original. As a result of the translation work required, transcreation projects can be much more complex than copywriting projects and bring a number of challenges.  

Before starting a transcreation project, it’s essential that the trancreator receives a transcreation brief. This brief ensures that the creative liberties the transcreator takes are in line with the brand and with what the client ultimately wants to achieve.  

The Takeaway 

Both copywriting and transcreation play pivotal roles in helping businesses extend their reach globally. Copywriting usually comes before transcreation. Once it’s time to reach a new audience that speaks a different language or belongs to a different culture, that’s when you need to transcreate the copy you already created during the initial copywriting phase. 


Rethinking Context in Localization

Nobody would deny that context has a salient relevance in translation endeavors, and on a broader scope, in understanding language in use. But on second thought, “context” is a more complex notion that refers to different levels of texts and reality. Is context only what surrounds a word or an expression? How to take into account the social practices where texts are used? Is it always possible to consider all aspects of context? In this article, we will outline some possible answers to these questions and think about their relevance for localization projects.

Managing Context

When examining context, we have to imagine it in a general sense. It doesn’t only refer to contextual placement of words or texts, but also to the people that participate in a given communication act, the setting where it happens, how, when, and why. So when it comes to localization projects, collecting this context data has a positive impact on the analysis and selection of the best workflows, procedures, services or strategies of a task or project.

Job briefings are the documents that support this need for situational context. They include a summary of who the client is, which texts will be processed and their purpose, what’s the target audience, expectations, etc. Sometimes, job briefings also incorporate the style guide or any other linguistic preference.

But how does all this information add value to a localization or translation project? For instance, knowing who the client is—e.g. a direct client or an LSP—informs Project Managers (PM) about possible expectations or the level of familiarity with the industry processes. So, for example, to a  client who is a newcomer, a PM can suggest extra quality assurance steps to reduce risks for very sensitive documents. On another note, having information about where the localized texts will appear—say a mobile app v. desktop app, or a marketing campaign for social media v. graphic media campaign—can help PMs choose the right linguistic team for the task, with experience not only in IT or Marketing, but in mobile apps or social media.

Context Reliance

We know context is crucial because it sometimes draws the line between inaccurate and precise translations. A visual reference, a note, a video, all can help linguists determine the gender of a character, the meaning of a sentence, the reference of a noun, etc. This is why every project, no matter its topic or intention, can benefit from having references (e.g., videos, websites of the product or the client, related documents) or the source text (the original document). These materials help linguists maintain consistency, choose terminology, check format or typography, and so on.

Other dimensions of context play a role in translating humor, for example. In this case, culture, age and idiosyncrasy of the target audience is crucial to translate puns and jokes in a way that is funny but also appropriate. The same can be said, for instance, about the reliance of subtitles on audiovisual materials, like in movies, series or video games. Being able to see and listen to gestures, movements and tones of voice help translators and editors contextualizing dialogues and narratives.

Teamwork and Communication

As we can see, there are a lot of resources that can address the need of contextualizing texts, projects and clients. However, a realistic approach to localization endeavors needs to take into account that contexts, as complex as they are, are never completely saturable. This means that sometimes, despite supportive documents or briefs, meanings, wordplays, and references can be difficult to capture. It’s in these scenarios where a solid communication approach based on exchange and teamwork can boost creativity and problem-solving. Research, discussion, debate, and having a comfortable framework for asking questions to teammates and clients always help find collectively the best option for each case.


Are Stylistic Changes Purely Preferential?

When it comes time to polish a translation project before finalizing it, sometimes editors, reviewers, and clients make changes not for accuracy’s sake, but for style’s sake. Stylistic changes can impact the quality of a translation and it’s important to understand how and why these changes happen. Before we examine whether or not stylistic changes are purely preferential, let’s take a closer look at what preferential changes and stylistic changes are. 

Preferential Changes vs Stylistic Changes

Both preferential and stylistic changes are types of changes to a translation that may not seem necessary at first glance, yet both types of changes play an important role in the translation process. A preferential change is a type of alteration that corrects an element that is not necessarily wrong. Preferential changes tend to reflect the preference of the person correcting the content or the client’s preferences. Usually, these preferences are related to terminology, with a client preferring a certain term over another, even if both terms can be used correctly.

A stylistic change on the other hand is a correction that is meant to improve how the text flows and focuses on style. Stylistic changes can also reflect the style of the person doing the review or client preferences. 

Are Stylistic Changes Purely Preferential?

In the translation industry, most language service providers use a three step process to guarantee a high quality translation end product. This means that after the translation step, the text will be passed to both an editor and a proofreader. In some cases, the client performs their own review of the translation with their internal team who understand their own unique style preferences. Either way, these editors and reviewers may make different changes to the text to improve the overall quality of the translation. Sometimes this is because they’ve spotted a mistake in meaning (which must be fixed), or the change is about grammar, punctuation, or other elements. 

However, there are other times when they introduce changes that are usually referred to as stylistic or preferential. These changes can generate a lot of confusion and controversy among linguists because preferential changes can involve correcting something that isn’t actually “wrong”. 

How is Quality Impacted by Stylistic and Preferential Changes?

How impactful a stylistic change is depends on the type of text and its function. If you’re translating a recognized author, are trying to persuade someone to do something, or are attempting to explain something clearly for a specific target audience (such as children), style really does matter. Finding the right style is key, so how can a linguist always approach a translation with the right style in mind? One of the best ways to start off a translation project on the right foot, is if the client can provide a style guide to the translation team. This guide should specify the tone and style the client wants their translated texts to have. Their style guide should also house specific terms that they prefer to use and any terms that need to be avoided. Following the TEP process can also help keep a translation project on track while maintaining high levels of accuracy.


How to Optimize Your Localization Budget

You always want to get the most bang for your buck and it’s no different when it comes to your localization budget. Let’s look at a few ways you can optimize your localization process, and as a result your budget, so that your budget is working as hard as possible to get the results you need. 

1. Use Technology to Your Advantage

When it comes to your localization budget, technology is on your side. While technology can’t quite replace a human touch, it can help your localization expert do their job more efficiently and accurately. From translation management systems (TMs), to CAT tools, to quality assurance tools, you can make it easier for your localization team to do their jobs, which can save you money in the long run. 

For example, CAT tools are an asset that can make localization work faster and easier, as they can help your localization partner increase their productivity, catch mistakes, achieve consistency, and eliminate repetitive translations. A CAT (computer assisted translation) tool accomplishes this by segmenting the text that requires translation and then presents the segments in a way that is easier to translate, which saves the localization expert time and potentially saves the client money. 

Similarly quality assurance tools can scan bilingual files to look for linguistic and formatting errors, which is especially helpful when performing a final review on a large project with a lot of text or files to review. A quality assurance tool can also help uncover and remedy inconsistencies among files translated or edited by different teams of vendors.

2. Create and Maintain Valuable Resources

Creating a term base, translation memory, and style guide can save a lot of time and confusion. All brands have their style and terminology preferences. By keeping an up to date term base, translation memory, and style guide, your localization partner will have the tools they need to do their job correctly from the get go. When you have and maintain these resources, you’ll save time and money by not needing to answer unnecessary style and term questions and by not having to clean up easily avoided mistakes later. 

3. Take Time to Understand the Needs of the Project 

Before you dive into a project, and allocate where your budget will go, spend some time really getting to know the needs of the project. Spending time upfront planning project costs can help you avoid expensive surprises down the road. 

Do a deep dive into the project requirements. For example, you need to know if the project requires that your team do additional quality assurance checks or if the document requires that a specialist works on the layout so that the final translated document looks exactly as the original (also known as DTP). If you’re not clear on project requirements from the beginning, the project may be quoted incorrectly and you’ll find that additional costs will be necessary later. 

If you’re unsure of what you need to do to make the project a success, talk to your localization partner, they will know how to establish the right workflow.

What is proofreading and why is it necessary in translation?

What is proofreading and why is it a necessary step in translation?

Every translator and translation team has their own process in place for delivering what they feel is top quality work. While some translators follow a two-part process that involves translation and proofreading, at Terra Translations we suggest a three step process that includes editing. At first glance, editing and proofreading may seem somewhat redundant, so let’s look at why that isn’t the case, how these steps vary, and why proofreading is such a necessary step in the translation process. 

The Difference Between Editing and Proofreading

The point of undergoing both editing and proofreading is to ensure accuracy and create a quality translation, so it’s not surprising that many people use these terms interchangeably. However, there is a difference between editing and proofreading, and they should be treated as separate activities. 

Editing is when you execute changes to the translation and make suggestions to improve the overall quality of the product. Ideally, editing will lead to the translation becoming more consistent, sharper, and error free. An editor typically takes on the following responsibilities: 

  • Doing a bilingual review between the original text and the translated version
  • Identifying and correcting any translation errors
  • Pointing out inconsistencies and adjusting to better suit market and audience needs
  • Ensuring the correct use of language
  • Confirming that the translated message is conveyed correctly in regards to both language and culture
  • Double check that the style is correct and make suggestions to improve it

Proofreading focuses on correcting any superficial errors in the translated content, such as spelling or grammar errors, formatting, punctuation, or syntax. The proofreading process begins once you have a potential “final” version of the content to work with. As this is the final step of the process, the proofreader should read the text and try to make sense of it as if they themselves were the target audience. This is especially helpful as they are the final pair of eyes on the content before submission to the client or publication.

The Importance of Proofreading

Proofreading is such an important step because during translation and editing, your original text can undergo many variations as it is reworded into a different language. When translating, the goal is not to translate word by word but to think how the same message would be said in the target language. During this process, translators may copy structures seen in the source language unintentionally and when the editor is fixing issues like this, they may introduce unintentional mistakes such as typos, double spaces, a missing word, repeated articles, and misplaced commas. These are the type of mistakes that ideally a proofreader will spot and fix.

Proofreading is a valuable step in the translation process and helps lead to an error-free translation product that illustrates how carefully translated the work is and what high quality work the translator does. 

When Should You Proofread?

The proofreading step should be the last part of your quality assurance process. You won’t dive as deep during proofreading as you did during editing. Proofreading gives you a fresh opportunity to catch any mistakes not found in the editing stage and as you’re more focused on looking for superficial errors than making massive changes to the language and expression, it can be easier to catch small errors such as grammatical or spelling ones. 

Ideally, you’ll have a second translator carry out the editing and a third translator take care of the proofreading process, as a fresh set of eyes can more easily spot errors that the first translator and editor may have overlooked. Proofreading is a challenging task and it can be tempting to make changes relating to personal preference, but at that stage the translator should focus on just fixing mistakes and syntax issues.


The Unique Traits of The Brazilian Market

Brazil is a beautiful and vibrant country with a rich history and culture. If you have your sights set on expanding in the Brazilian market, then you first need to understand the unique traits of Brazilian culture and what makes their people tick. To prepare, you must have an idea of the way people are, what is important to them, what they like, and how they live. 

The Brazilian market has a lot of potential for businesses looking to expand their reach. To start doing successful business within this market, companies need to ensure they adopt the right approach when entering Brazil. Some adaptations may be necessary to appeal to the Brazilian people, but those changes are very doable if you know how to identify them. Let’s examine a few important facets of Brazilian culture that businesses should be aware of. 

Who They Are

When Americans were asked to describe the Brazilians they know, their adjective choices really painted a clear picture. The most commonly used adjectives Americans felt described Brazilians were: warm, open, friendly, happy, conversational, vibrant, loving, family-oriented, accepting, giving, kind, welcoming, honest, bold, open-hearted, caring, touchy-feely, loud, energetic, and sharing. They were also described as having a love for life. 

When preparing marketing materials, entertainment content, and products to launch in Brazil, keep these adjectives and traits in mind. They can tell you a lot about what the priorities are for the Brazilian people. 

Informal Style

Don’t forget to keep things casual. Brazilian people don’t like formal styles, they usually take a more humane approach to their interactions. This tendency to be more casual translates into their approach to business as well. In Brazilian society, family and personal relationships are extremely important and these values find their way into the business world. Think carefully about how you can build strong personal connections with your Brazilian business partners and customers, as too formal of an approach may push them away. 

Mobile Focused

Brazilians are on the go often and you should keep that in mind when creating content. Because Brazilians in big cities spend a lot of time traveling by subway, train, or bus, such as on their commutes to work, they heavily rely on their mobile phones for entertainment and communication. They are especially fond of social media, with more than 120 million people out of the 210 million population using both WhatsApp and Facebook. On average, Brazilians spend nine hours connected each day. This high level of connection means that if you want to succeed in the Brazilian market, you need to be ready to adapt your content to mobile devices. Whether you produce video entertainment, e-learning courses, or video games, if you want to thrive in the Brazilian marketplace, you need to keep their high mobile device usage in mind. While this is just a brief overview of what Brazilian culture is like, it helps illustrate the differences you should be aware of and prioritize when you prepare to pursue localization of your content or products. You can thrive in the Brazilian market, as long as you keep this market’s unique traits top of mind.