Double-digit annual growth rates paired with constant technological innovations - the e-learning market is booming! Regardless of the content type, often eLearning is conveyed by professional voice-actors.
The voice of a speaker has an enormous impact on learning success. Like no other medium, it gives content humanity. In this way, a speaker gives the content authority or empathy as needed. Especially with behavior-based learning goals that require an inner rethinking and an emotional perception of the content, a speaker's voice is decisive for success.
Nevertheless, the importance of e-learning as a carefully crafted art-form is often neglected. In this blog post we would like to show you how you can avoid the most common mistakes when planning, recording and executing an eLearning voice-over.
Mistake #1: Not Keeping it Short-and-Sweet
How text is read in one's head, versus out-loud is totally different. A spoken text is understood via one's short-term memory. If you have forgotten the beginning of a sentence, it is not possible to jump back to the beginning as it is when reading. Therefore, make sure to divide the content into manageable sentences.
PRO TIP: avoid overly complicated sentences
Mistake #2: Not Using Professional Copy-writers
Educational-industry content is often written by professionals such as engineers. Although they know their subject matter very well, they usually have no pedagogical or didactic knowledge. The result is technically correct content that nobody understands. The danger: poor learning success and lack of motivation on the part of the learners. And ultimately a failure of the entire learning experience.
PRO TIP: Use a professional copy-writer with some intermediate knowledge in the subject matter. You can always get your subject-matter experts to review the eLearning content!
Mistake #3: Not Planning Before Writing
Translations are another source of errors. Many translators deal exclusively with print content and have no experience with verbal language. In this way, despite a good initial script, the comprehension problems described above arise. Content-related problems can also arise. Bad translators do not understand the context 100% and cause technical errors. Unfortunately, due to a lack of resources in the company, these are usually only noticed after they have been recorded. Then post-production is necessary, which costs many times what a professional technical translation would have cost.
Another common mistake in translations is that the length of the translated text differs significantly from the original. Partly because sentences are simply longer in certain languages (for example, Portuguese is up to 20% longer than English), but partly because the translators do not understand the problem. There is a risk that moving image content that has already been produced will no longer work or that it will have to be cut at high costs. That doesn't happen with an experienced translation team.
PRO TIP: Keep in mind the different languages your content will be translated into, BEFORE commencing content creation.
Mistake #4: Poor Time Management
The organizational time and effort for voice recordings and dubbing is usually underestimated. The planning of a production starts with the creation of the text. If the project management is poor, mistakes made here only become apparent during production - when it is too late. Comprehensive project management by the dubbing service provider guarantees a successful production. Ideally you get casting, copy editing, translation, production and post-production from a single source. This ensures that no errors occur at these interfaces and unnecessary "who is actually responsible here" chaos arises.
An example: The recording studio must be able to handle the required data formats. It makes a big difference in handling whether content is delivered as text documents or as structured tables. Well-structured tables have the advantage that certain processes can run automatically via interfaces. However, there is often a lack of knowledge of how to work with large tables. Instead of automating the assignment of file names, audio files are named manually. The incorrect file names that often arise in this way can have far-reaching consequences that are only noticed very late in quality assurance and are then very time-consuming and expensive to correct.
Professional scheduling ensures that production dates work and deadlines are kept. This is a complex task in a ten-language production with translation. Here, too, you should always try to get the entire process from a single source. Not only once did we stand in the studio with no text because none was available or the translation was simply not delivered. This does not happen with holistic project management that has all the processes involved in setting the e-learning to music under control.
PRO TIP: however long you think it will take to complete your project, add an additional 20%. However long the agency says they can complete your voice-over, add an additional 10% - it is the basic law of contingency planning.
Mistake #5: Don't Pay Extra!
E-learning content is mostly produced in modules. There are many reasons for that. Be it that you can start training your employees before all the content has been implemented or that you want to save resources. In projects with a tight budget, you save a lot of money if you put modules together intelligently. For example, with speaker's fees. These are made up of various components: A minimum fee per appointment - the so-called "admission fee" - and the price per word or take (sentence). For small modules, the admission fee can make up a large part of the fee. It is particularly worthwhile to bundle modules here.
PRO TIP: Try to find an inclusive agency that can assist with editing, voice-overs and scripting. Such as Sound Soda Studio!
Mistake #6: Using Amateur Voice Actors
Why book a speaker when the intern has a great voice and can speak into the laptop microphone? Because it saves neither money nor effort. The damage caused by poor voice pickup and speaking is greater than expected. The poor performance bores and demotivates the learners. It's like sitting in an unbelievably bad press - then the overall success of e-learning is quickly jeopardized as the motivation to learn decreases. An untrained voice interferes with the absorption of information instead of amplifying it. In addition, almost everyone today is used to fantastic voices in audio books. They set the quality standard that every user knows. Depending on the case, it can even make sense to use a familiar voice. It can offer a special context that greatly increases motivation.
PRO TIP: Reach out to an experienced V/O studio or agency. You can start with us, by saying hi to email@example.com
In Summary on the Mistakes to Avoid When Making eLearning Content
In order to dub an e-learning, you should look for a project partner who masters the complex processes and actively contributes to the success of the production. Or, if you want to do it on your own, as Ru Paul always says - Don't f$%k it up!