31 March 2021

The differences between dubbing and voiceover

Categoria: Linguistic Services

Dubbing and voiceover are multimedia language services that use translation to make audiovisual content easier for the audience to understand.

However, dubbing and voiceover are very different solutions. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of these two services.




While in other countries the norm is to watch films in their original language, in Italy we tend to prefer to watch a translated version in Italian.

Dubbing is an Italian tradition that has allowed foreign films and television shows to be enjoyed by an audience that might not speak the source language, with Italian professional dubbing artists gaining a reputation as the world’s best in the process.

But what actually is dubbing?

Dubbing is a process that allows us to replace the original voice of the actor with the voice of a dubbing artist, who recites a translated version of the script in a different language.

The technique is used for a wide range of audiovisual products, such as films, television series, television programs and advertisements.

The dubbing process is a very delicate one in that it requires a translation that reflects both the meaning and nuance of the original content. At the same time, though, the choice of terminology is essential to ensuring perfect synchronization with the lip movement of the actors on screen.

The original voice disappears and is entirely replaced by a dubbed version, to the extent that viewers are often unaware that the content was originally filmed in a different language.

Good dubbing isn’t just about translating speech, though – it’s much more than that. Its real purpose is to trigger the same emotions in the viewer as the original product.

Voiceover, meanwhile, is a different service.




While dubbing is typically used for entertainment products, voiceover is mainly found in informative and explanatory products such as documentaries, interviews, technical/scientific recordings and so on.

Voiceover is when a voice is recorded over the original audio track. The original doesn’t completely disappear, like with dubbing, but can be heard faintly in the background.

The main objective of dubbing is to evoke emotion in the viewer, whereas voiceover is all about conveying information.

Voiceover can be seen as a type of verbal caption that helps the viewer better understand the video they are watching.

This technique is often used in documentaries. A classic example is nature documentaries, where voiceover is used to accompany footage of animals in their natural habitat, helping to explain their physical characteristics or habits.

Another of the most common uses of voiceover is in documentaries containing interviews. Voiceover is favored over dubbing here too, with the original voice of the interviewee being turned down with a louder voice translating the speech into the target language.


Whether it’s dubbing or voiceover you’re after, there’s one golden rule to follow if you want to achieve excellent results: it’s always best to work with industry experts.

At Way2Global, we have teams of linguists who specialize in both dubbing and voiceover across a vast range of language combinations. And we’re ready and waiting to help bring your audiovisual content to the larger audience it deserves.


Need our dubbing or voiceover services? Contact us!


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