May 6, 2022
The issue of diversity and inclusion is as important to the international dubbing and localization community as it is to entertainment and business as a whole. The generally accepted definition of “diversity, equity and inclusion” is vitally important to our profession, ensuring that historically underrepresented and overlooked communities bring their voices – literally – to the work.
There’s also a related, though slightly different, kind of diversity that is of increasing and crucial importance: a plurality of talent, an increase in the sheer number of voice performers who lend their talents to on-screen work.
There is a greater demand for dubbing than ever before. Thousands of new TV shows are imported and exported to audiences around the globe. Post-pandemic, movies are making a comeback and cinemas are increasingly busy – and what were previously considered “foreign” films are becoming international box-office hits. Video games cross borders with ease, often containing stories as complex and resonant as any movie or series. On top of that are hundreds of commercial and corporate dubbing projects every year. Not so long ago, in almost every market in the world, most of the dubbing needs could be handled by a relative handful of performers. It wasn’t unusual for audiences in key countries to see movies or watch TV shows and find that the same performer provided many different voices. In Italy, for instance, one actor was heard as the voice of Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Colin Firth … not to mention Hugh Bonneville in “Downton Abbey”! An approach like that was possible when films were limited to several dozen a year, and TV series were only as numerous as linear television channels. Today’s world is different.
The scale of films, TV shows and games has grown from hundreds of projects to thousands. Which means the dubbing and localization industry has a unique set of challenges that can only be met by increasing the number of performers trained in dubbing.
This means leveraging and growing the global pool of voice performers. It’s a potentially big pool already – Voices, the world’s biggest voice marketplace, has some 2 million users. And a recent Quora answer points to some 300,000 professional actors worldwide – many of whom are also voice performers. But these statistics only hint at the scale, since many voice performers focus on narration and other audio projects, and haven’t considered dubbing as a professional option. Whether they’re actively working in dubbing or have yet to discover the myriad (and growing) opportunities,
voice performers must learn the techniques that make great dubbing possible – including using VoiceQ, which has become one of the most commonly used technology suites in the localization business. That’s one of the primary reasons we made the decision to offer up to one year of VoiceQ Actor free for voiceover professionals – whether they are dubbing pros or new to the work. Understanding how VoiceQ works, getting a feel for it and practicing at home on a laptop makes it infinitely easier to walk into a studio and deliver a great performance. Getting performers familiar with the technology is only part of the process – simply put, we need more great voice performers. Casting directors and project producers need a diversity of talent in every way, starting with the sheer number of qualified professionals who are excellent at what they do.
At VoiceQ, we’re doing everything we can to help grow the pool of talent, including working with our clients at dubbing studios the world over, and with the stellar team at the Entertainment Globalization Association, whose stated mission is to “provide a forum where all professionals involved in globalization of entertainment can work together on shared opportunities to improve and refine the art and science of retelling stories across languages and cultures.”
The future of entertainment globalization is more exciting than ever – and requires a constantly growing, increasingly diverse group of talented performers who can, quite literally, give voice to the stories and ideas that move and affect our world.