Q：What do you mean by direction?
A：Generally speaking, supervision for a given project. Projects that involve translation are supervised by our translation director, Zal Heiwa Sethna, while any talent-related projects are supervised by our president, Cyrus Nozomu Sethna. We also accept dubbing direction jobs for scripts we have not translated as well. In such cases, Zal will read through the script first to ensure that it reads well before Cyrus begins the recording process.
Q：What does translation direction entail?
A：A good translation company will always give some instructions to the translator when handing out materials that need to be translated. Generally, these are limited to pointers that speed up the process, such as explanations of the materials and the format in which the translations should be submitted. At Soli Consultants, however, we take the extra step of indicating what feel we are looking for in the writing itself. For example, if we are localizing a video game, we create a list of profiles for the major characters and indicate the tone in which we would like their dialogue to be written in. If we are translating a narration script for a promotional video, we instruct the translator to keep the translations concise and craft each line so they smoothly roll off the tongue when read out loud. Zal, our translation director, studied playwriting in the highly regarded Knox College Writing Program in America and worked as journalist for a major newspaper for three years, and this background allows us to confidently guarantee that the quality of the final product will be on par with that created in America and Europe.
Q：What does talent direction entail?
A：This mostly relates to direction for voice-related work, such as dubbing and narrations.
Q：Could you describe this service in more detail?
A：When recording a dub or narration, we first select candidates from our database of voice actors. If dubbing voices for a game, we select actors that fit the personalities of the characters; if recording a narration, we select candidates whose voice fits the tone of the script. All voices are cast by Cyrus, who studied Theater and Communication at Macalester College in America and has directed on stage as well.
Next, a voice sample for each actor is sent to the client. If the client is happy with the samples, we immediately arrange a recording at a studio. If the client requests for slight variations in the actor’s style, we arrange a recording after explaining the client’s wishes to the actors. If, however, the client is looking for something completely different, we then submit the sample of another actor for the client’s consideration.
Finally, on the day before the recording, we arrange a quick rehearsal for our actors at our offices. Since recordings technically begin the moment the actors enter the studio, any time not spent recording ends up racking up the costs. By holding a rehearsal, we can smooth over many of the bumps that can slow down recording sessions and cut the amount of time we need to spend in the studio.
Q：What criteria do you use when selecting a studio?
A：Studios can be roughly divided into multiple actor studios that allow for several voice actors to record at once, and solo actor studios that allow only one actor to record at a time. Using a multiple actor studio usually means keeping all the actors in the studio for the same amount of time, which makes it a far more expensive option than a solo actor studio. However, when recording content that includes overlapping voices, such as video game cut scenes and animations, the interplay of the actors can be more naturally captured in a multiple actor studio.
Some studios do not feature any monitors. These studios tend to be cheaper than those where monitors are installed and can be used for general narrations, but content that requires voices to be synched with character movements, especially the mouth, cannot be properly recorded without monitors.
Before securing a studio, we carefully take all of these conditions into consideration. Cyrus himself has recorded at over 100 studios across Tokyo, and has substantial knowledge of which services are offered by which studios. This background makes it possible to offer our clients a localization package that is meticulously tailored to their needs.