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Do Exports and Voice Overs Mix?

It’s a hot market that is growing, says Jack Wilkins, and voice over has become the standard element that brings all aspects of the promotional videos together.
Learn more in this interview with Jack Wilkins of Market World, a client of Voices.com.

VOX: Hi Jack, thanks for joining me.  I have some questions for you about Market World.  You produce movies and corporate videos. Can you tell us a little bit about the kind of work people hire you to do?
JACK WILKINS:  Currently, the target interest is an introduction to the products and services as a solution to a business problem.   The resources that a company provides may be very broad or very specific as to the solution they have available for a need for other businesses or for the end consumer.   While there is a growing need for in house corporate training for administration as well as job duties and performance by employees, most video is directed for a specific topic and the resources for providing a solution.

  The characteristics of the usual video is less than five minutes.   This is usually more than adequate to illustrate a solution or process.   There will be more movement towards instructions video for employee training as the rapid change in technology and need to keep the product of the company current and fresh.

VOX: Working with companies who export their products from the US is an interesting angle.   How common is it for manufacturers to commission videos specifically for products they are exporting?
JACK: At this time, this is an expanding market.   This will become more common as resources are enhanced through the diverse voice actors supporting foreign languages.   As I understand it at this time, Voices.com has over 100 language represented.   This is an excellent base to grow this communication product.   It also allows for more specific targeting of products within countries that support those languages.

   It is also a great connector to indicate the respect for those people that speak languages other than the major seven languages, thus increasing the appeal for the product or service.   Businesses will have to become very focused in informing specific cultures about their products.   The web video is an ideal way to communicate solutions.

VOX: What kind of challenges do you run into when a client needs videos produced for products to be exported to countries whose official languages are other than English?
JACK: While English is the official international business language by common usage, the main challenge is to qualify the product for export from the USA and making sure the product has had due research that there is a demand for satisfying a need.   For example, some foods may not be acceptable culturally in one country or culture, while highly desired in another.

   The voice actor needs to have an understanding of the culture from which the video is created and the receiving culture in which the product is to be used and make sure the understandings are communicated correctly.   When a company such as Voices.com is presenting a voice actor for diverse language, a reference to the understandings and experience between cultures should be expressed for the client to make a decision about the appropriate person for the voiceover script.

VOX: Is the target audience for these videos the wholesaler or the consumer?
JACK: Because of the complexity of intellectual property rights,  Market World produces for the business consumer.   Also, because of the nature of the product, being specific to a product of a company, would not lend itself to a wholesaler.   However, where the product is more general in nature, such as three or four varieties of sweet potatoes of the Sweet Potato Growers Association, a general film may be produced in bulk for use on their websites.

   For simplicity, Market World hosts the video allowing the business to link to it in many different was.   Market World also has an Internet product designed for use in newspapers, such as classified advertisements, to easily link to their specific video that expands on the information provided in the advertisement.

VOX:  Are these videos meant to be promotional pieces or are they more educational with the goal of a soft sell?
JACK: Usually in the process of informing, this generates the exposure of the end-user to the potential of solving a problem.    Soft sell is appropriate when the consumer knows that they are on a marketing website.   The video becomes an extension to the online sales catalog and carries with it the necessary links to order the product.

VOX: When you are making the video for products being exported, is there anything special that you do regarding exports that you wouldn’t do for say a video produced for people in the US?
JACK:  The needs of expression are nearly the same.  The area of concern is still related to cultural differences.

VOX: We live in a global village, and by virtue of that fact, do business in a global marketplace.  How localized can these videos become to serve their intended audiences?  Do you need to do a lot of research or is it up to your client to prepare the proper scripts and information necessary to produce a video customized to a particular country or region?
JACK: They may become very localized, to a particular town, for example, for presenting homes for purchase.   Printed materials, distributed locally with a link, or with the use of other media, such as radio or TV, allow for this distribution.   Specialty websites, such as a community bulletin board, may carry the resource to connect to the information.

   Also, publishing on multimedia CD where a vast amounts of information may be listed, including the video, is another way to control geographical limits.   This is important where demographics is important to target specific areas that most likely would need the products.   This is especially true when it is a consumer product for a family.

VOX: Do the videos have on-camera actors in them or do you primarily use voice over narration?
JACK: The easiest format is voice over narration (as well as lower cost).   This allows pictures and graphics to be presented with the supporting voice.   However, video submitted in a file format (ideal when used with digital cameras as they come with conversion software) to move the video from the camera to a file that can be used in the editor.  Market World uses a built-in hard disk in the camera for rapid transfer.

VOX: As part of your service you include voice overs.  What do you look for in a voice talent?
JACK:  Individuals that have an adaptability of expression, is most ideal.  Personality is secondary to the extent of generating a feeling of excitement to engage the viewer.   Reading of eBooks œis another story, except for reflection on characters.Â

VOX: How involved are your clients in the selection process?
JACK: Market World gives some suggestions, but the client is the chooser of the voice actor.   It is presumed that they will have had feedback from others in their business to determine which voice is best for their product or service.   Business administration tend to be male voices, consumer products and services tend to be female, but again, a beauty ” cosmetic product from an administrative business-to-business may best fit a female voice.

An area for exploration for business is the development of online video for improving the workforce within a business by attracting the best qualified to optimize research and development for the new innovative products and services for the future.   Engineers to engage a solution of energy development and applications is a specific example of a communication focus that specific topic video is able to address.    Thank you for this opportunity to offer some possible solutions with the enhancement of voice actors.

Have you narrated projects like this? Any Comments?

Best wishes,

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. Very timely, Stephanie.
    Speaking of the “global village” … I’ve done a number of business courses recently for an e-learning company based in Ireland and, just yesterday recorded 6 short (i.e. 3-5 minutes) video profiles on addictions for a company located in central Europe.
    Enjoy your weekend!

  2. I spent my formative years as a producer/writer and on and off camera spokesperson and much of that time was for large companies with international clients and partners. We did marketing and training videos in multiple languages – and at the time it was difficult finding people with the skills to do the localization.
    More recently – now that I do VO full time, I am seeing how my writing skills are being used to help improve scripts written by non-native English speakers who are trying to communicate with native English speakers.
    This has to be done tactfully of course – and sometimes it takes a little while for both parties to agree on the “right” intent. But the bottom line is that today’s voiceover talent is so much more than an actor reading a script.

  3. The key skill of working outside your first language is the ability to communicate the intent accurately because of the different meanings derived from culture.
    As international business increases at a cottage level (small individual producers selling directly to the end user in other countries)the marketing demands will increase for individuals skilled in multiple languages that are equally skilled in culture relationships.
    During the proof stage, the seller and the targeted buyer must both have a sense of humor.


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