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Is "Dubbing" the same as "Voice Over"?


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Hey everyone! I'm trying to learn more about the world of dubbing, and how it differs from Voice Over. 

I'd love to hear from VO Artists and anyone that might have experience with dubbing, ADR, etc... Do professionals in these fields have similar skillsets? Is the process of production super different? Is the way dubbing could be bought and sold on Fiverr different than how VO looks?

Would love to hear any thoughts you guys have on the subject 🎙️

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Dubbing, ADR, and VO are three different things, although dubbing and ADR are more similar to each other than VO is to either of the other two.

Voice Over - your disembodied voice over top of some other visual element. Narration, basically.

Dubbing - your voice replacing the original voice of whomever is speaking onscreen. Generally only done when the language in question has changed (for instance, the person onscreen is speaking German and they need an English dub. I've done a bunch of those.)

ADR [automated dialog replacement] is when someone (usually the same actor, but occasionally someone else) re-records the dialog spoken, after the fact. This is usually done when the original on set audio wasn't usable for some reason. In some cases, a different voice may be chosen to replace the original actors voice, but this is super rare, as it's next to impossible to pull off effectively for anything lengthy.

ADR is also just about the worst name ever for the process, as it's FAR from 'automated', and actually really really tough to do. There are some plugins that can help (VocAlign PRO is a big one) by helping you line up the timing of the new dialog with the original, but in general, it's a lengthy and difficult process that only really works well if you have the original actor there to redo the lines. It also requires that whomever is engineering the session REALLY knows what they're doing.

As a voice actor, I get the occasional message from someone wanting me to seamlessly replace the voice of someone in a video (so ADR, basically). Maybe the original audio sucked, maybe the original actor's voice or accent isn't working, etc.

I then have to explain to the buyer that while I can certainly 'dub' the voice of the original actor, it generally isn't possible to match someone else's speech patterns well enough that it won't be obvious that it's been dubbed. A lot of people don't understand how hard that kind of thing really is. Maybe I can pull it off for a sentence or two, but if you have a 3min video of someone talking straight to the camera, there's no way to fix that without it being obvious.


My guess is that anyone who actually specializes in ADR - who is remotely good at their job - is probably working steady in the film/TV business, and won't have time for Fiverr. They also almost certainly wouldn't be a voice actor either - they'd be an engineer.

I've done a fair bit of ADR for film, but I wouldn't dream of doing it at Fiverr. The time & work involved means I'd have to charge thousands of dollars for it to even be worth the time.

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I have EXTENSIVE experience doing ADR. And yes, it is very far from automated. 

The biggest thing that hampers a re-recording is trying to coach a different performance out of whoever is speaking. A bad performance can't be saved by redoing the audio. In many cases your audience might overlook poor audio if the content is engaging enough. The best way is to record the audio as closely as you can in regards to performance and vocal inflection, even if the timing is off. For example, on screen a man is running from police. He calls out to them, "You'll never catch me!" But the audio is recorded poorly. The wind was blowing right into the mic on set. It sounds like he is yelling into a jet engine.

At the ADR session, the director is coaching the actor to give the same line, and he delivers it again and again but it's not working. And that is frustrating everybody because it sounds like it's pasted on to the action. No amount of saying "say it like you said it when we filmed" fixes the cheesy delivery.

Me? I'd make the actor run a few blocks and jog on the spot while he says his line. And cover up any extra noises he may make with some traffic or street noise or something.

Nailing the delivery as it was originally done is the main part of it. Timing is getting easier and better sounding to manipulate, so I really worry less about that side of things. When I do edit it together, I go slowly on a sentence by sentence basis. I also listen carefully to the rest of the scene and pick a mic that will most closely give me the timbre of the other material so it blends into the scene easier - I often am frustrated because nobody remembers or knows what mic they were using for filming.


BUT at the same time, I am happy to use my talents to do the best I could for a Fiverr job, since I live on an island and it's not exactly Hollywood. I am upfront about what I can do if I am sent files recorded for ADR and just sync them up for timing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll probably reiterate a lot of what's been already said in this thread, but wanted to give my own insight. I've dubbed hundreds of movies and TV shows for most of Spain's distributors, including Netflix, HBO, Warner, Sony... you name it. Long story short: no, Dubbing and VO are not the same. So, let's dive into what's actually


Dubbing is the process of adapting the spoken word from one language to another on any audiovisual project. The localisation process includes (in any professionally streamlined production): 

  1. Translation: done by a professional translator.
  2. Adaptation: editing the translation to make each sentence perfectly fit the actor's mouth/pace. Trying to catch all the plosives to match them with the appropriate phoneme in the translated language.
    Done either by the translator itself, by the dubbing director, or by an independent adapter. Adding annotations to make the actor's work easier ("ON" for when you can see the actor's mouth, "/" to signal a pause, "OFF" for when the actor is off the frame, etc.)
    Here's an example of a properly adapted script:864218564_Screenshot2021-08-20at22_38_52.thumb.png.a96d3e56d1ebeaa7d427855483018875.png
  3. Recording: done in studios with a dubbing director that assumes the creative responsability of the result (guiding actors, requiring specific deliveries from them) and a technician that takes care of the quick punching and recording.
  4. Dialogue editing: deleting breaths, removing clicks, etc. Providing serviceable audio files to the mixer.
  5. Mixing: leveling dialogues, adding reverbs, mixing dialogues with the Music & Effects track if there is any.

This video from DUB explains it very well. It's in Spanish, but the automatically translated captions do a fairly good job:


  1. You need immense acting tools that are not necessarily mandatory for strict VO work. I've never found myself having to believably cry for a corporate or explainer video.
  2. Lipsync is a hard technique to master. It's very mechanical and with practice it becomes easier, but at the level of speed we're required to work very few people actually manage to deliver consistent results. It's key that the script adaptation is spot on for proper lipsync to work, and excellent adaptation is a very, very rare sight.
  3. And then, all other common skills shared with VO artists: intonation, rhythm, proper articulation, etc.


With how Fiverr is set now, dubbing makes sense as part of a Studio offering. However, here are some thoughts I'd like to share regarding dubbing as a freelancer: 

  • Dubbing any corporate video will require me to adapt the script prior to recording, due to translations doing little as to make everything fit.
  • Dubbing without the assistance of any sound technician will hinder my artistic performance since I'll have to focus both on the artistic and technical side of things (quickpucnhing the lines, etc.) 
  • Dubbing is a very, very tedious and extremenly complex work in comparison with all other VO work, and even though I believe there is room to fit small projects in (corporate videos, TV ads, etc.) I doubt proper TV shows and movies will ever land in online platforms. And if they do (there are always people willing to take risks) I'm very confident the result will be extremely poor compared with something done in-house by a specialised dubbing studio (Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, SDI Media Group, etc.)
  • It's important to also take collective agreements into consideration as well. I am not allowed (nor willing, really) to remote dub or dub movies & TV shows (fiction, pretty much) outside of the whitelisted studios approved by all the association members I'm a part of. 

Thanks for the read, and sorry for the lengthy post! 

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  • 1 month later...
Guest lloydsolutions
On 7/27/2021 at 10:53 AM, fvrrmusic said:

Would love to hear any thoughts you guys have on the subject


On 9/3/2021 at 5:51 AM, mynulnoc said:

Thanks for your helpful information's, 


On 10/1/2021 at 5:08 AM, yeamin309529 said:


Please stop spamming the forum with irrelevant replies.

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  • 6 months later...
12 minutes ago, vickiespencer said:

I was wondering why you responded with a confused emoji. It prompted me to look at your profile and then your gigs. I like your voice almost as much as @newsmike's.

Oh wow, thank you Vickie! That's so kind of you to say! I've gone and had a look at both you and Mike and - 1) yeah - Mike looks like he's the literal business! Amazing profile and amazing voice! And you are the queen of beautifully organised gigs! And I'll keep you in mind for any proof reading stuff I need doing - happens occasionally when I do content writing (my FT profession before VO!) 

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1 minute ago, vickiespencer said:

So you're a full-time profession when you are not working on Fiverr?


No no, now I'm pretty much 80% VO and 20% copywriting for the web. But every month less of the latter tbh. But occasionally I dabble in work from contacts back in my digital marketing/content/copywriting world to keep my foot in the door and get out of the tiny booth - which, can be pretty isolating! You can't work from a coffee shop doing VO hahaha 🤪

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