Voice over for Videos: The
Ultimate Guide

Hei Editor
March 15th 2022


Human beings are able to reach audiences all over the world. But reaching isn’t the same as connecting. Being able to communicate in a language audience members understand is key to making connections happen. 

That’s why videos are so important. Videos have the ability to grab audiences’ attention while delivering easy-to-understand messages or telling compelling stories. Entire industries owe their existence to the power of video engagement. That’s why 92% of marketers believe videos to be crucial for marketing strategy. Marketers using video — 87% of them — say videos are a good return on investment. 

But if an audience doesn't understand the language in a video, they may move on to other things. That means videos using only one language are limited to only the people who know that language. By offering translations with a video, the possibility of expanding audience size improves. 

Audiences rely on captions and voice over for translations in video. To compete for audience attention, video editors rely heavily on evolving technology to meet audience demands. One tool editors wield is AI voice over, which produces natural-sounding speech. We’re going to explore the most common voice over use cases for AI voice over today.

What is voice over for videos and what is AI voice over

The definition of voice over:

Before we can dive into technology that is transforming media as we know it, we must first describe one of the most commonly used translation methods for video — voice over. Voice over is speech not used in the main narrative that replaces or talks over other voices in audiovisual productions. It’s sometimes referred to as off-camera or off-stage commentary

Traditionally, voice over was commonly employed in radio, television, film, news, and theater. With the increase in the availability of digital video editing software tools, voice over has become common in other media too. You may have heard voice over used in video games, YouTube,  promotional videos, online tutorials, and social videos. 

But not all voice over is alike. Voice over can be classified as two main types: narration and non-narration. Narration voice over speaks over the action going on-screen, often telling a story related to the action. Studios often employ this technique to provide exposition. Non-narration voice over speaks for the characters in a way that provides information or instruction. Sometimes, non-narration voice over is a translation of the original words used by a character.

Voice over vs. voice dubbing

Voice over is often used interchangeably with voice dubbing, but these are not the same. Dubbing, a.k.a. Language Replacement, substitutes onscreen character’s language for a translation that mimics expressions and tone while matching words with mouth movements. It’s as if another actor is lip syncing a script, but in a different language. Nowadays, when adapting videos into other languages, either non-narration voice-over or voice dubbing is used.

Basic terms to know about voice over

Regardless of the voice over type, the key to good voice over includes the following things in order to create the best quality voice over:

  • Pacing: This is the speed a voice actor should read per minute in order to complete the line in a given time. A normal pace is usually the best one to use in order for the voice to sound natural and provide the clearest information.
  • Tempo: Tempo is related to speed, but it is different from pacing. Tempo refers to the changes in pace of line delivery. It is an underlying beat caused by slight pauses and breaks in speaking. Speech that contains no or very long pauses or is too long can be distracting and drive audiences away.
  • Vocal Clarity: Speech must be uttered in a way that audiences understand the words and are unlikely to confuse those words with other words.
  • Tone: This is the way in which a voice actor speaks. It relays much information, like emotion, attitudes, and calmness level of the character. 
  • Emphasis: Emphasis is used to draw audience attention to a particular message. It is created using dynamic delivery of lines. Often important information is stressed by speaking louder and slower, making the words stand out.

What is AI voice over?

Many digital processes are getting a little help from artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Audiovisual editing for videos is no different. But to describe what AI voice over is, it’s helpful to know how the manual process of creating voice over works. 

AI Voice Over

AI voice over

AI voices are a type of synthetic voice. But synthetic voices like Siri and Alexa sound very robotic and unnatural. For AI voices, deep learning is used to convert text into audible human-sounding speech and also convert speech into text. By using deep learning, voice developers are able to feed a part of audio into an algorithm. The algorithm learns the patterns on its own and then generates a similar voice, sometimes called voice cloning. This means AI voices are sounding more natural thanks to advanced technology.

AI has the potential for eliminating a lot of the time, effort, and cost of traditional voice over work. It has become the juggernaut of the industry. The demands by online audiences for copious amounts of quality video have driven the development for faster, less expensive editing tools that create speech that sounds like traditional voice over.

The technology of Text-to-speech and Speech recognition

Another technology that has the potential for reducing voice over work is text-to-speech (TTS). This software reads text on-screen aloud and is common on computers, tablets and smartphones. This tool is quite useful for individuals, like those with limited vision or dyslexia, who have trouble reading screens. 

Speech recognition software is also widely used, especially in hands-free devices like virtual assistants and cellphones. It’s also used in closed captioning to instantly provide viewers with text of a speaker’s words. This technology is able to process and provide text of someone’s speech, which can be used to interact with a virtual assistant or convert the speech to text. This technology is vital to translating utterances from one language to another.

How to voice over a video 

Voice over Actors

Traditionally, voice over work takes place in a recording studio. A lot of time is dedicated to writing scripts or translating an original script into another language. Voice over talent must also be scouted and vetted. Once a script and talent are ready, voice actors practice reading the script in preparation for studio recording.

When it feels like the actors and the scripts are ready to be recorded, the recording team enters the studio. Each section could take several tries. It’s not unusual for a few minutes of the final product to take hours to record.

Voice dubbing can take even longer. Scripts have to not only be translated so the meaning is the same, but the words have to match the lip movements of the original actors. Then voice dubbing actors read those scripts and must match pace, tone, tempo, and emphasis used by the original actors. Once the voice actors’ work is recorded, the difficult task of editing takes place. Recorded speech must be added to the video in just the right place and at just the right volume. Music might also be added during editing.

Thanks to technology, today, AI voice over and translated AI voice over helps video producer speed up the process a lot. For some software, you can generate AI voice over for videos by uploading the text and the software will automatically generate AI voice overs. For translating and dubbing videos into other languages, for software like Hei.io, you simply upload the videos, choose the language setting and the software will automatically generate translated subtitles and AI voice over (or video dubber) of the language you want to.

Why should you use AI voice over for videos?

The demand for AI in digital video editing, especially for the voice-over industry, looks good. Some experts believe that AI could be a boon for the industry because it will make creating quality content more affordable for creators on low budgets. Being an affordable tool provides many opportunities, especially for startups and small businesses. Using AI voice over instead of actors allows brands to create videos much faster and cheaper. For adapting videos to various languages, translate AI voice over save the time and cost even more. 

Translate video with AI voice over/ video dubber

The demand for AI in digital video editing, especially for the voice-over industry, looks good. Some experts believe that AI could be a boon for the industry because it will make creating quality content more affordable for creators on low budgets. Being an affordable tool provides many opportunities, especially for startups and small businesses. Using AI voice over instead of actors allows brands to create videos much faster and cheaper. For adapting videos to various languages, translate AI voice over save the time and cost even more. 

Translate video with AI voice over/ video dubber

Having the ability to play the same video in a variety of languages means more people can engage with the video. More people can watch and share. This wider reach means local business brands can become global brands. It also offers opportunities for educational videos to be offered to more people because viewers don’t have to be limited to learning from a teacher who only speaks a language they know.

However, AI voice over comes with its own challenges. In the early stages of AI voice over development, digitally produced voices sounded robotic. They lacked the subtle changes in emphasis, tone and pitch that makes humans sound human. That’s bad for digitally editing because 71% of consumers prefer human voices over the cold, impersonal robotic voices.

As technology evolves, so have digitally produced voices. The world may have been introduced to digital speech through Stephen Hawking’s speech-generating device, but the robotic voice that he identified as his own is far from the only choice available now to consumers. AI voices sound more natural and more human. These voices are less distracting to audiences who anticipate the proper tones and pitches that normally occur in sentences.

Creators can also tailor voices to sound like themselves or team members. For example, Hei.io is releasing a feature that allows you to customize an AI voice to make it sound like your own, allowing for context enhancement in videos. Ultimately, this new technology will make AI voice over less off-putting and more engaging for audiences.

Save cost of creating voice over audio with voice over actors

Today there are inexpensive options for voice-over audio, like using freelancers from Fiverr and Upwork. However, the average voice actor charges $50 to $100 for every 50 words spoken. Not to mention, some language costs are high — some voice actors charge thousands of dollars for certain assignments. Plus, it could take two or more trials for you to find a suitable voice-over freelancer, after already spending at least $200 in your search.

For small projects (one or two short videos with few actors and few translations), translating scripts and recording voices can be fairly inexpensive. However, for medium-sized and large projects, especially for multiple videos translated into various languages, the cost increases greatly for every voice actor, writer, and editor needed. Also as more people are added to the team, project managers may also be added to ensure things don’t fail due to communication errors and potential risks.

Using AI voices also means creators don’t have to worry about spending lots of money finding suitable talent to translate scripts or record different languages. Creators also don’t have to worry about spending money for studios. Since AI voices are not produced in a studio, creators don’t have to budget for the multiple attempts at getting talent into a studio or having to re-record when the background noise doesn’t match the original video.

Generally, it doesn’t cost to test how these AI voices could sound in your videos. You can pick from a menu of various voices to speak different lines in your videos with the help of Hei.io and other AI voice software.

Fast turnaround time

For traditional voice over, finding the right talent doesn’t mean you’ll finish quickly. Voice actors may not be available when you need them. Once they are available, it normally takes one day or more (usually more) to record audio. Any need for rescreening could take a week or more. Assume you’ll need at least a week in the studio for several tries to capture recordings that measure up to creator expectation. Meanwhile, any back-and-forth communication between the team will slow down the process.

If voice over requires translation, be ready to carve out even more time for each project. Not only will you need to hire a freelance translator, but you should also find a proofreader to confirm that the script's translation is correct and inoffensive. The longer the original script is, the longer it will take to reproduce that script in another language.

Using AI voice over allows for faster turnaround time. AI can process the original video in a matter of minutes and then generate the translated audio almost instantly. It’s also fast and easy to edit the translation and audio — just edit the text and generate the audio again. Instead of spending a day or more in a studio with voice actors, AI voice over can be applied in a fraction of time. 

Easy to scale

Managing a project, even a small one, like editing one version of a three-minute video with added voice over can be complex. Project managers should be aware that the final product’s quality plus the number of versions in a given language is limited to time, scope and budget. Each of these parts directly influences the other.

Take for instance how scope affects a project. Scope is the process of determining what the final version should look like and the resources (technology, studio, actors, experts, writers/editors, translators, etc.) needed to use to complete a video. If traditional voice over is implemented, the cost and time to complete the project increases greatly for every version of the video produced. Generally, only large businesses with large budgets can scale up with traditional voice over because their budgets are big enough.  

However, if AI voice over is used, cost and time increase only slightly. That’s because AI technology can reduce the need to outsource actors and translators. This is great news for small and medium companies looking to scale up their projects. Project managers don’t have to limit the number of versions produced because time and cost do not increase significantly with each language added. Now companies that were having trouble breaking into international markets because of language barriers can suddenly find themselves able to reach global audiences and begin to compete for new customers.

Use cases for AI voice dubbing / voice over

Voice over work is already a popular part of media. Advances in technology will probably increase the use of AI voice over and AI voice dubbing in the near future. Let’s take a look at some of the potential voice over use cases that could integrate AI voice over into video.

Promotional business videos: The more languages a business can communicate with, the wider the customer base can be. Businesses promoting in multilingual regions or globally can promote their products to more potential customers by using an AI voice dubber to spread the word about products, trials, offers and sales. 

HR learning and development: Organizations that operate globally or have a multilingual workforce may find communicating via video messaging to be the most effective way to make announcements, provide training and explain policies. AI voice over allows quick translations placed into any video message so all staff can have the opportunity to receive and understand company information.

Sonic branding: A surge in voice assistants and smart speakers is encouraging more companies to pursue sonic branding. But what is it? Sonic branding (sometimes called audio branding or sound branding), is the practice of strongly associating a brand with a brief sound or a very short song (a.k.a. a sound logo.) It’s common for sound logos not to have any words uttered in them. Brands, like Intel and Netflix, use unique sounds many people recognize instantly and quickly associate with a particular company. Other brands use short tunes, like Old Spice’s jaunty little whistle that makes you feel like you’re out at sea on a calm, sunny day.

Sound logos may also contain words. Some of these words are just spoken in a unique way, like how Playstation uses a robotic voice to say utter “Playstation.” Other logos are sung, like the one from Liberty Mutual Insurance. If a brand uses words for a sound logo, it’s possible for AI voice over to translate these words and replace those words with speaking or singing in another language. Using AI voice over can make different versions of sound logos sound more branded, as well as increase a potential customer base globally. 

Educational videos: Educational institutions aren’t the only ones using teaching videos. Companies that wish to provide instructions for their products or agencies that want to provide the public with information can employ tutorial videos as part of their messaging. Being able to translate those videos quickly in multiple languages allows for better communication options for target audiences.

Game making: Gaming, especially online gaming, is a booming industry that grows every year. People from all corners of the world, speaking very different languages, have the ability to play in the same arenas. Having translations available for characters to be able to communicate with a multilingual player base is great for getting players to keep returning. And as computer animation continues to become more lifelike, the need to match voices with lip movements increases. AI voice dubbing may become an integral part of game making.

Advertising: voices for a commercial or digital ads: Commercials have great potential to reach an international audience, especially online. Imagine using one set of actors for the original commercial and changing the language using an AI dubber to match their lip movements with the actors’ own voices for the translated speech.

Podcasts: These popular audio recordings are perfect for AI voice over. Companies often use podcasts to promote their businesses. If they desire to expand their markets globally, those podcasts should be available in languages spoken in target markets.

Social videos: Creators and influencers posting on social platforms like Instagram and TikTok can broaden their following by posting videos in multiple languages. 

Casual filmmaking and Youtube content videos: Creators and companies love platforms that can host their videos, especially ones that have a global reach. AI voice over and dubbing could be used in a variety of ways to increase audience engagement.

Customer Support (auto-replies, customer support videos): Customers often make direct inquiries about services and products. To answer those questions, customer support can tailor those responses to fit the language that best suits each inquiry. Not only can this increase the customer base, but it also provides better customer satisfaction.

Best practices in adding localized AI voice-over for your videos

Before diving into adding AI voice-over to your videos, make sure you’re getting the most out of the resources you have available. Picking the right tools and knowing some best practices will go a long way to making your videos look and sound as polished as possible.


  • Pick the right software. Take the time to acquaint yourself with the available editing software. Read reviews and get feedback from others who’ve used those products. Most software companies provide a demonstration of how their products work. Also, many will let you test their product by allowing limited editing on their website or provide a short product trial.  
  • Be selective about the auto-generated subtitles. Just because auto-generated subtitle software is available, doesn’t mean it works well. For instance, YouTube has a free automatic captioning available. However, many users complain that the captions it generates are nowhere close to accurate and, many times, parts of the captions are illegible nonsense. Other auto captioning software, including YouTube’s, create captions that lack correct capitalization, spelling and punctuation.
  • Check your translations. AI can save you so much time from doing manual transcription and translation. Even though AI is becoming more and more accurate with its translations, you still need to review this to ensure the translation is the best for the context and the jargon of your industry. 
  • Be selective of the voice over you use. The voice you use in your videos will set the tone for your audience. Therefore, take care when selecting the voice to use. If the application you are using does not have a similar voice to what you desire and you cannot add a voice or edit the voices provided, you may want to see if other applications might be able to produce the voice that fits your needs. 


  • Don’t pick whatever software is available.  Not researching a product before using it can lead to bad results. In this case, you run the risk of creating bad voice overs and poor translation. The quality of your localized videos may turn out to be bad, or at the very least, boring.
  • Don’t use robotic voice-overs.  Robotic voice-overs often leave bad impressions with viewers. A voice that lacks subtle changes in emphasis, tone and pitch can be off putting and possibly hard to understand. Most viewers enjoy speech that sounds natural, so pick software that provides human-sounding voices.

The best AI voice over generators (AI voice dubbers)

  1. Hei.io

Hei.io is a newcomer leading in the field of digital video translation. Using cutting edge AI technology, Hei.io can automatically detect audio, then generate translated subtitles and voice overs in various languages of your choice. This software helps you dub the original speech into other languages within minutes. You don’t have to do any extra steps with translation and such. 

With access to 70+ languages and 250+ AI voice-overs, you can easily have your videos translated to several languages without doing any manual tasks. 

You can try Hei.io for free for the first 25 minutes of video processing. Premium plans start at $39 per month with unlimited cloud storage. 

2. Play.ht 

Another powerful AI text-to-speech generator, Play.ht, relies on AI to generate audio and voices from IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. The tool is especially useful for converting text into natural voices. It also allows you to download the voice over as MP3 and WAV files. If you want to translate your videos to other languages, you need to do a few more steps before using the software though. 

3. Resemble.ai 

Resemble.ai is another option for you to generate and customize AI voice-over. Resemble.ai supercharges your AI voice with a text-to-speech AI voice generator and real-time APIs to build immersive experiences.”

You can dub your voice into other languages with the software. 

One of the software’s shortcomings is that you need to do the translation manually by yourself.

4. Murf AI

Murf is also a text-to-speech AI voice-over generator. The software is ideal for videos without original voices.  You don’t have to do recording for the videos. You can use Murf to create voice over for your videos. 

The shortcoming is that they only have AI voice overs of 20 languages, which can be quite limited. And for videos that already have audio and you want to translate the audio to other languages, murf.ai might not be ideal. 

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