TV SERIES: DOG’S BEST FRIEND

Producing a a TV series is hard enough. But when you have to deliver in two languages at the same time, it gets a lot tougher. Summerhill Entertainment pre-sold its amazing-animals series Dog’s Best Friend in English Canada and in Quebec. That meant having to dub the show into French as it was being finished in English.

So they turned to Power of Babel for help. For us, it was both an opportunity to do something new – in Canada, most French TV shows are dubbed in Quebec – and just another day at the office. Director of Operations Eric Geringas has 15 years of directing factual TV shows under his belt, and knows the production process inside out; Technical Director Dave Boire has been doing audio post for more than two decades, and has (literally) heard it all.

More on the challenges of this project in our blog post.

Fairmont Hotel Group

Brand videos versioned into German, Arabic, French, Russian, Mandarin, Spanish and Azeri
For a global luxury brand, every detail is important, from the precise name of each company service and program, to the quality of the narrator’s voice. So when Toronto video production company Coolfire Inc. brought us work from one of its most prestigious clients, Fairmont Hotels, we knew we had to be on our toes.

We worked with Fairmont on script adaptation and localization, and on the casting and recording of brand videos in seven languages: French, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, German, Arabic, and Azeri. (Yes, there is a Fairmont Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan!)

You learn something new on every project. On this one, we had to figure out how to say “slash” (as in “fairmont.com-slash-environment”) in seven languages.

PUBLIC HEALTH: FIGHT THE BITE

When it comes to public health, speaking to new Canadians in their own language is essential. York Region, on Toronto’s northern edge, is home to immigrants from all over the world. Of its 1 million residents, 29 percent speak a language other than English at home. So when York Region Community Health needs to get its message out, it has to do it in at least a half-dozen languages. For this video on the West Nile Virus, produced by our colleagues at Key West Video, we provided dialogue-replacement dubbing in Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil, Farsi, Russian and Italian. Our extensive network of broadcast professionals in these communites made it easy.

Kobo eReader Promo

You are a software company ready to take your product global. You've localized your new mobile app for some major international markets -- Latin America, Korea, Germany... wherever you think your app will do well. Your agency has come up with a great ad campaign, including some killer videos. Now, how do you reach non-English-speaking consumers?

That's where Power of Babel comes in. We'll translate, localize, cast and record your promo videos in any language.

When Kobo Inc., the eBook, tablet and eReader company, produced a new campaign video for its Android™ app, audio producer Bryan Goman came to Power of Babel for help with the international versions. We provided voice talent, and recorded and mixed the script in UK English, Italian, Dutch, European French and Brazilian Portuguese. Our language experts also revised the translations Kobo provided to make sure they were easy to speak and easy to hear in every language.

The result: a campaign that sounds equally good in five languages. Listen for yourself…

Fascinating Diversity

Tourism promotion videos for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, versioned into French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Mandarin and Portuguese.

In January 2011, Eric walked into dB Audio for the first time, with a major versioning project: a series of five tourism documentaries for the Japanese government, versioned from a mix of English and Japanese into six languages: French, Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. The videos were all in different stages of post-production in Japan, with Dentsu PR and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the clients.

Drawing on his extensive network of professional translators, broadcasters and filmmakers, as well as a Toronto-based voiceover talent agency and a dubbing team in Rio de Janeiro, Eric methodically pushed each video through translation, script approval, casting and recording. dB Audio owner Dave Boire and engineer Neil McDonald worked evenings and came in on weekends to accommodate the schedules of the multilingual performers.

And then the client moved up the deadline. All hands on deck! The last two videos were translated and script-approved in three days, and recorded at dB Audio on a long weekend.

Having survived the battle, Eric and Dave decided to go into business together. And Power of Babel was born.

March to Recovery

On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan. More than 20,000 people were killed; tens of thousands more were forced from their homes. Since then, NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, has been making a series of documentaries about the survivors, called March to Recovery.

The films feature everyone from children who lost their families to the dentists who worked on identifying the bodies. They air in English on NHK’s international channel, NHK World. And they are versioned here, by Power of Babel, in partnership with our Japanese client, Mediatelier Inc. We’ve built up an ensemble of excellent voice actors, aged 11 to 70, who can handle any character voice that’s thrown at them.

Power of Babel provides not just announcer voices, but a range of voice performers ranging from top union and non-union talent to gifted non-professionals.

The Syrian Crisis

Narration recorded in English, French and Arabic, for Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

We like working with government clients. They're professional, and their projects are always interesting. The Syrian Crisis is a video podcast produced by Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, primarily for a Syrian audience. Our federal government communicates in English and French as a matter of course, but Arabic is a different matter. There are at least a dozen significantly different accents across the Arab world, and frequent disagreements about the finer points of grammar. But Power of Babel has the experience to deal with this. With the help of our Arabic consultant, we have recruited voice talent with a wide range of accents. For The Syrian Crisis, we provided a professional broadcaster originally from Lebanon, whose neutral accent is familiar to Syrians.

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