3 examples of how cultural nuances affect voiceover

Cultural nuances. These are the cherry on top of a translation, localization, or voiceover project: they bring a simple adaptation to a whole new level. Attention to these details means the player is pulled even deeper into the atmosphere of a game. Using slang can really add color to a localization, for example, and voiceover has its own distinctive aspects. Today we’ll take a look at three of the most striking examples.

1. Perception of age

Listen to these two voice samples. The first clip is a 16-year-old American girl, and the second is a Chinese girl of the same age.

Asians and Europeans have very different ideas of how sweet and young-sounding a girl’s voice should be. To the unprepared listener, voices in anime sound squeaky and way too high.

2. Perception of intonation

Here’s an example of a game where the same intonation was used for the Chinese version and the Russian version. Hear for yourself how strange it sounds.

Intonation shouldn’t just be copied over from the original game; instead, it should be adapted to the specific situation and the conventions of the target language to ensure it sounds natural.

3. Perception of accent

If your characters are designed with a slight accent to emphasize their origin, there are two ways to make this happen: use an American actor who can fake the accent, or use a native speaker who really has the accent you’re looking for. Here are some examples of native speakers:

These are just a few of the details that can affect a voiceover project. And there are so many more! Stay in touch with us and follow us on social media so you don’t miss any helpful content. And, of course, let Inlingo handle your voiceover projects—write to us at 😉