In a voice over translation (which doesn't need to be lip-synced), like the ones in the news when they interview someone that doesn't speak English, is it ok to keep some interjections if they conveys meaning to the whole sentence?

For instance the following sentence:

I don't know what it has to do with me or anything ha ha ha

The laughs are saying that on the contrary, the person saying those words does know that it has to do something with her.

Is it ok to add those laughs in the voice over, or should I rewrite the sentence to convey the same meaning without using interjections?

It would help if you add a video with a voice over that uses interjections, so I can hear how the speaker handles those.


The difference between a Dub and a Voice-over is that a Dub attempts to match a foreign language with lip movement and fully replace the audio using new words that don't change the meaning (much) whereas a Voice-over attempts to keep the original audio at a low level to preserve the feeling of the original and can be a bit freer with the translation.

Even though a Voice-over keeps the background audio any music may be replaced with something better accepted (as that type of song) by the audience.

Similarly a Dub while attempting to fully replace the audio may include some original audio.

In the specific case of your question and example: >"I don't know what it has to do with me or anything ha ha ha".

"The laughs are saying that on the contrary, the person saying those words does know that it has to do something with her."

In the case of "News" (for English speakers) you would want to translate accurately and add additional words that it is the Reporter's opinion that the interviewee said the comment in a sarcastic manner or to clearly overdo the sarcasm to avoid a misleading translation. Culture plays a complex role in the result.

A Dub would have the Translator do the laugh and a Voice-over would likely have the original laugh but could have the Translator do the laugh with the additional original laugh synced.

There's a knack to it and getting the right feel for both languages and cultures is difficult.

In 'English speaking culture' a bad dub or voiceover can be part of the feeling/amusement of the work in those that know nothing of the other culture/language; that IS appreciated by the listener but may well be seen as butchering the work of Art from the opposite point of view.

Examples from "The Matrix", in Russian:

These seem to work OK but the background could be a bit louder and the Voice-over a bit less dominating. It's more or a mixing issue (or an ardent desire to make the audio more clearly distinguished) and is slightly overdone.

It's a fine Art, to change and not ruin someone else's work. As difficult to explain in general terms as it is to do and undoubtedly done differently in different parts of the world.

One example is untranslated East Indian movie clips and trailers often trend on YouTube in mostly English speaking countries together with many English comments in the Comment Section - no reason to think enough people understand it in North America for it to trend, more of a curiously I would imagine. I only watch sometimes to see why it Trends so well. Others seem to find a lot of humor, even in serious movies.

  • In this video in particular with English subtitles activated there are a couple of interjections at 0:13 and 0:25. It's clear by the body language that she is trying to be funny making the point across that the book she wrote is autobiographical. – rraallvv Jun 2 '17 at 14:50
  • Would it be better to have the voice-over to do the interjections in order to keep the lighthearted feeling in the interview? The problem is that I can't find any examples from where to draw upon, and unfortunately the videos you posted don't have any interjections so I can get a feeling on how those are done. – rraallvv Jun 2 '17 at 14:50
  • I accepted this answer although it's worth noticing that the videos don't have any interjections. – rraallvv Jun 5 '17 at 15:47
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    @rraallvv - Thanks. I'll remember this question and improve the answer when I spot another example. – Rob Jun 6 '17 at 6:36
  • @rraallvv - The first (undeniable) Interjection occurs in the first Video at time 0:34. I say "undeniable" because there's an Asian Voiceover (a "hi-yeah") that is used to denote 'Kung-Fu occurring'). Prior to that there is a slapping sound to denote hitting (even when no striking is occurring), all while a Russian themed song plays (to make it more attractive to the listening audience). I believe it's a "fair example", just that it is not well done. That's standard practice as Voiceovers are usually done in Russia and Poland because they (continued next comment) ... – Rob Jun 6 '17 at 18:42

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